Belgian rider Julien Despotin rode a stylish test on Hanoverian gelding Waldano to lead in the CCI4* at the Luhmühlen International Horse Trials in Germany.
Despotin earned a score of 31.90, finishing ahead of German’s leading light Michael Jung on La Biosthetique Sam with 34.20, and New Zealand’s Jesse Campbell third on Kaapachino with 36.80.
Campbell’s compatriot Lizzie Brown is close behind in fourth with Henton Attorney General, with 38.20.
It is the first four-star event for both Campbell and Brown, and afterwards Campbell was full of praise for Kaapachino, a New Zealand-bred thoroughbred by Kaapstad.
“He is such a special horse. His changes were quite good. He just gave me everything. He’s not a big moving horse, but he just does his best and just tries for me.”
Brown was also pleased with her effort in her four-star debut, and was thrilled to be awarded a 9 from one of the judges for her riding.
“My coaches have been telling me that I need to try to be more balanced, I’ve always tried to use more power than I needed. It felt like it was taking way more time than normal. I loved it out there, it was fun!”
Their compatriot, Annabel Wigley, was the first Kiwi into the arena, starting out well with plenty of 7s and 8s, but then Frog Rock did several changes behind in his first canter work. “I was really disappointed, he has been going so well lately,” Wigley said.
“He has been working well at home, but we couldn’t put it all together in the ring today. He must have changed legs behind 3 or 4 times in that one movement so I’m not surprised the judges marked me hard for that. If we hadn’t of done that, we would have got in the 40’s. His trot work was really good.” The pair scored 52.9, and are in 12th place.
Fraser King (NZL) did not have the best time of it, with Nadal somewhat uncooperative during his test. But to his credit, King got him back on track as best he could and finished on a score of 66.3. “Bugger” was all King would say after his test.
The second day of dressage has New Zealand’s Jonelle Price first into the arena on Faerie Dianimo on Friday, with team mates Blyth Tait (Xanthus III), Andrew Nicholson (Qwanza), Mark Todd (NZB Campino), and Tim Price (Bango) following. Germany’s Michael Jung is last out at around 5pm with fishcerRocana.
Images below © Jane Thompson