Mixed day for Kiwis at Luhmühlen cross-country

Samantha Lissington is the last Kiwi standing in the five-star class after a tumultuous and challenging cross-country day at Luhmühlen. Riding her own Ricker Ridge Rui, Sam was clear over the tough, twisty-turning track, collecting 5.6 time faults, and is now sitting in seventh place. She and Rui were one of just 15 pairs to […]

Mixed day for Kiwis at Luhmühlen cross-country

Mixed day for Kiwis at Luhmühlen cross-country

In a rough day for the Prices, fellow Kiwi Samantha Lissington put in a brilliant effort to jump clear on the cross-country at Luhmühlen IMAGES: LIBBY LAW

By
Rowan Dixon
-

Samantha Lissington is the last Kiwi standing in the five-star class after a tumultuous and challenging cross-country day at Luhmühlen.

Riding her own Ricker Ridge Rui, Sam was clear over the tough, twisty-turning track, collecting 5.6 time faults, and is now sitting in seventh place. She and Rui were one of just 15 pairs to get around Mike Etherington-Smith’s course, which was considerably beefed up from previous years and made full use of the wooded terrain.

Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Rui
Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Rui

It was a terrible day at the office for the Prices. First Tim and his experienced partner Ringwood Sky Boy, who was sitting in third place at the time, came to grief at the influential second water complex.

He had chosen the direct route, which which meant riding a corner around a tree, cantering into the water and then over a brush arrowhead before continuing onto an island with a big log drop back into the pond and, finally, an angled brush back on dry land.

But to the shock of everyone watching – and probably to Tim himself – when he presented to the first brush arrowhead the usually reliable Ringwood Sky Boy popped his shoulder to the right and sailed right by. Tim regrouped, went back for a second attempt, and the same thing happened, Tim then electing to retire.

Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy

He didn’t fare much better on defending champion, Ascona M. The opinionated mare looked as though she was fighting for her head most of the way around, and at the last combination had a very hairy jump over the first element, a big brush oxer. Tim was very nearly unseated, managed to stay on but lost his reins and any sort of steering, being unable to get to the B and C elements, two angled skinnies, elected to retire.

Tim Price and Ascona M

Poor Jonelle had an even worse time of it. Her Faerie Dianimo, a previous winner at Luhmühlen, was briskly popping around in her usual efficient style over the first half of the track when the pair hit the dirt at fence 20, a big but otherwise straightforward tabletop. Luckily neither were hurt, though it was a heavy face-plant for Jonelle, and a very rare E after her name. Jonelle then elected to withdraw McClaren from the four-star.

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo

The Prices weren’t the only experienced riders to be caught out: France’s Clara Loiseau fell at the second-last fence, while the USA’s Jennie Brannigan and her horse Stella Artois fell at the corners in the main arena.

Even Michael Jung picked up 11 penalties for activating a frangible pin at the coffin complex, with fischerWildWave.

But while most of this was going on, the dressage leader, the relatively inexperienced Brit Mollie Summerland, was getting her horse Charly van der Heiden ready. Being without a groom, she was putting in her studs and tacking up, and so didn’t have time to watch any of the riders ahead of her on the live stream, though she’d heard of the difficulties at the water, and decided she just had to make it happen.

And make it happen she did, not only coming home clear and under the time – one of just five pairs to do so – but posting the fastest round of the day, 14 seconds under the optimum time.

Mollie Summerland and Charly van der Heiden

“I was so messy, especially through a couple of combinations, but that horse is so genuine,” says a delighted Mollie. “He just keeps going, and keeps trying, and if I get things wrong he always tries to understand the question and what’s wanted of him.

“Charly’s such an exceptional horse. I’m still so inexperienced and he goes above and beyond for me. I don’t know what I’ve ever done to deserve a horse like this. I’m so happy.”

“When I was coming to the last few fences, I thought, ‘Surely I must have got it wrong; surely I’m not that quick!’ So I just kept riding right to the finish line, because I thought I’d kick myself if I backed off him and it turned out I’d made a mistake with my watch or something.”

Germany’s Christoph Walker was also quick and clear on Carjatan S, to move up from seventh to overnight second, while Brit Emilie Chandler and Gortfadda Diamond are now third, having come home clear with 3.6 time faults.

Christoph Walker and Carjatan S

Michael Jung remains atop the leaderboard in the CCI4*-S section, incorporating the German National Championships and the final Tokyo selection trial for a number of European nations, after producing a typically fast and perfectly-executed round with fischerChipmunk FRH.

“Chipmunk was unbelievably good today,” he says. “He gave me a very good feeling right from the very start to the finish — every fence. It was just fun and a joy to ride.”

Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk

Julia Krajewski, who produced the exceptional Chipmunk, has moved into second with Amande de B’Neville.

Julia Krawjewski and Amande de B’Neville

Tim Price redeemed a little of his rough day, jumping clear with 1.6 time faults on Vitali, to sit in overnight sixth.

Tim Price and Vitali

His other four-star mount, Senza Fine, had a run-out at the first water complex.

Sam and Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ had a run-off at the B element of fence 19 ABC, and is now sitting in 52nd place.

Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ