Best birthday ever: Luhmühlen Horse Trials winner Felix Vogg celebrates in style

Felix Vogg and Colero finished on their dressage score to take out the CCI5*-L at Luhmühlen at the weekend.
Felix Vogg and Colero finished on their dressage score to take out the CCI5*-L at Luhmühlen at the weekend. © Luhmühlen Horse Trials

Swiss eventer Felix Vogg celebrated his 32nd birthday in style at Germany’s Luhmühlen Horse Trials at the weekend, winning his very first five-star event, riding Colero.

The final showjumping phase of the CCI5*-L proved to be as influential as the cross-country; only the top two riders stayed clear and within the time allowed. Vogg and Colero held onto their dressage score of 29.0 points, with British combination Kirsty Chabert and her CCI4*-S Millstreet winner Classic VI placing second. Third was New Zealand’s Jonelle Price on Faerie Dianimo, who won the event in 2018 and was second in 2015.

Vogg and Colero laid the foundation for success on Friday with an impressive dressage test, then mastered the demanding cross-country and show-jumping courses clear within the time.

“When I rode into the arena, I just focused on keeping calm and tried to blank out everything else. That took the pressure off me and also off the horse, which was important. Even with a pole, the result would have been a personal highlight. He can jump fantastically and he showed that today,” Vogg said.

It was Colero’s third win in his last three starts, with Vogg and the 14-year-old Westfalian taking out the Baborowko CCI4*-S in late May, and the Radolfzell CCI3*-S in April.

Other than the winners, Kirsty Chabert and Classic IV were the only other combination to finish on their dressage score, of 31.1.  “Classic has been fantastic this whole week. She gave me a phenomenal round cross country and she’s a very, very good jumper. It’s a team effort and we go out of our way to keep her in her happy place and then she rewards us by going above and beyond,” Chabert said.

Jonelle Price’s week was off to a rocky start when Faerie Dianimo was spooked by signage during the dressage and finished on 31.6 penalty points and in 16th place.

“I was a little frustrated with our dressage result. Faerie is brilliant but also a right little madam. It’s her fourth time in Luhmühlen and she’s already 17, so you’d think she knows her job but the dressage was hard work, we had a few mistakes and during today’s prize giving I couldn’t help but think ‘what if …’.

“On the other hand, she gave me lovely rides in the cross-country and show-jumping phases and she’s always trying to do the right thing. She’s an incredibly nice little mare and deserved a podium finish. She’s also quite pretentious, so I’m sure she enjoyed the prize giving today and thinks she has won.”

There were 20 finishers in the 5*, with 11 horses eliminated or retired on the cross-country.

Michael Jung and Highlighter won the CCI4*-S for the German Championship title at Luhmühlen at the weekend.
Michael Jung and Highlighter won the CCI4*-S for the German Championship title at Luhmühlen at the weekend. © Luhmühlen Horse Trials
CCI4*-S – German Championship

Michael Jung and Highlighter were the only combination to finish on their dressage score of 25.6 points to take out the Meßmer Trophy for the German Championship.

Silver went to Dirk Schrade on Casino 80 (29.6), and bronze to Sandra Auffarth riding Rosveel (29.8).

Jung could have dropped a rail in the show-jumping phase without jeopardising his lead but kept his cool and finished the competition with an excellent clear round.

“I am overjoyed. Highlighter has come a long way. To win the German Championship title with him now means a lot to me. He has been going strong all season and I am so proud of him. He has done so well all week and wasn’t fazed by the enormous crowd at all. He’s so cool.”

Going into the final phase Schrade and Casino could not afford a single time fault, a fact he managed to ignore before he went into the ring, though he was worried the horse might be affected by the atmosphere. “But he jumped really well, and was absolutely focused on his job.”

Auffarth was also very pleased with her nine-year-old Rosveel, who was only competing in his second four-star -season. “His dressage has improved significantly and I had the feeling that he wanted to show what he is made of this week. In the cross country, I can absolutely rely on him. In the show jumping he was very attentive and wanted to do everything right. I think he was actually quite proud of himself.”

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