A strong German team, made up of Andreas Ostholt, Nicholas Bschorer, Dirk Schrade and Sandra Auffarth, won the British leg of the FEI Nations Cup competition. A smiling Hans Meltzer, one of the two German team trainers, admitted: “We are very happy to win here in England!”
With German team members taking second, fourth and fifth places individually, they finished almost 15 points clear of the British team who were, nevertheless, delighted given they had fielded a relatively inexperienced team of horses.
The French team, who had been in second place after the dressage phase, dropped behind the British four; Pippa Funnell, Georgie Strang, Francis Whittington and Sarah Bullimore, when Alexis Gomez had a refusal on the cross country course.
French honour was restored by Luc Chateau who claimed the individual 3* honours riding his homebred Propriano de l’Ebat. The Frenchman had brought the horse to Houghton two years ago, finishing down the order: “He’s a different horse now. I came hoping to be on the podium but to win is a dream.”
With Andreas Ostholt taking the runner up spot, Pippa Funnell finished third and best of the Brits in what was Billy The Biz’s first serious CIC3*.
The CCI1* also concluded today and was a German whitewash. Dirk Schrade took first and third places, Call Me Honey and Navarino separated by Joern Warner on Vicco Pop. Dirk previously rode Call Me Honey’s dam at three star level and believes that as the seven-year-old Holsteiner learns how to handle his power, he will be really special.
Joern returns to his job as a dressage rider in Germany tomorrow, where he competes up to Prix St Georges. Torn between the two sports, after two months in the UK he has achieved his mission of learning how to event English style; “mainly learning to take cross country fences out of a gallop.”
Sophie How remains at the top of the Askham Bryan National Under 21 CCI2*, although she is down to one ride, Bojangles HRS. Defending Champion Will Furlong has moved up to second place, ahead of Sam Ecroyd. Less than five penalties separate the top four so the pressure is on.
The top three remain unchanged in the CCI2*, leaving Bettina Hoy on Seigneur Medicott in the lead, with Christopher Burton second on Nobilis 18 and Dirk Schrade featuring again, third with Mr TomTom. These three, along with Jesse Campbell who has climbed four places in to fourth, completed the cross country phase with a clean sheet.
Going in to Sunday’s show jumping phase Bettina has no room for error with less than one pole (four penalties) separating the top two. Whilst a single rail down would keep her in second place there are less than five penalties between second and fifth so it should be a nail biting finish to this year’s EQ Life Houghton International.