Sarah Carless reports …
Triple European champion Michael Jung has won the second leg of the 2018 Event Rider Masters at Wiesbaden
A small field of just 15 combinations started the competition at Internationales Longines PfingstTurnier Wiesbaden in theparklands of the magnificent Biebrich Palace, on the bank of the Rhine River. And it was Jung who came out on top after three phases of top-class eventing action.
Current European champions Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob led a German domination of the dressage as the pair sought to reclaim the crown they won here in 2018. Delivering a flawless dressage test as the final rider to go, Klimke smashed her personal best to set a new ERM record on a jaw-dropping score of 16.4 beating the previous record of 20.5 – set by Tom Carlile and Upsilon at Barbury Castle in 2017 – by 4.1 penalties.
“He was coming in there like, ‘Here I am. I know my test in and out, so just enjoy it.’ I have known him for 10 years so we are so close, so I know him in and out,” Klimke said. “Yesterday he was a little bit spooky and wild and pretending that maybe he could explode (in his test). But then today he came out like, ‘I know it’s dressage day. I will be calm and do everything you ask me to do.’ He’s so sweet.”
Julia Krajewski took second with Samourai du Thot (21.0) with Jung and Star Connection in third (22.2).
Clear rounds were hard to come by – six of the 15 combinations jumped clear inside the time –
and having experienced the highs in the dressage, Klimke went on to experience the lows of the sport with three rails down dropping her to sixth. This handed the lead to Krajewski. Jung also kept a clean sheet with Bill Levett taking up third with Shannondale Titan, moving up from 6thafter the dressage.
“Now I can enter the ring and even though he was a little bit nervous outside, he comes in and it feels like a safe place now, so then I can really ride. I’m very proud that he’s so consistent now. It’s quite cool to know that even if he might be a little bit nervous or something happens, he’s always with me,” Krajewski commented.
“We’ve known each other for eight years now, so it’s a very long relationship. We know a little bit what the other likes and doesn’t like. He hates when I wash his head. Even though he’s small, he just takes it high enough that I can’t reach him, and he knows I can’t reach him because when someone bigger wants to do it, it’s no problem.”
Jung’s Star Connection has been making a comeback following injury and last competed at the level at Jardy in 2017 when he won the ERM leg.
He commented: “He’s a bit spooky. He’s also a bit sensitive with other horses; he’s a bit shy. This was a difficult test for him. It’s quite a big atmosphere for him. I’m very happy to have him back. He’s such a beautiful horse. He’s so comfortable to sit and ride, and he always concentrates and has nice movements. It’s really nice to ride him.”
Levett commented: “It’s all about the show jumping at Wiesbaden. You have to jump clear there to stay in contention. On cross country, my guy isn’t the fastest, but he’s genuine, and this track will suit him. Out of all the legs, this is the one that suits him the best.”
This left the door open for her compatriot Jung to take victory. And the German took advantage of the 6.1 peanlty advantage – 11 seconds – he had over Australian Christopher Burton and Lawtown Chloe who finished on their dressage score of 28.3. Having not competed in nearly two year’s Jung’s mount didn’t skip a beat and skipped around the course. Adding just 1.2 time penalties the pair finished on a score of 23.4 to take victory.
“He’s a really, really nice horse,” Jung said. “He has a lot of quality in all three disciplines and he has a super brain. He’s very easy to ride, and I’m very happy to have him back.”
It was a day for redemption for Burton, and Chloe, who picked up 20 jumping penalties in the ERM leg at Chatsworth. As to whether the mare will be his go-to ERM horse for the remainder of the season: “If she keeps going like this, I’ll certainly ask her to. We’re delighted that she went so well, and what a great show we’ve had in Wiesbaden.”
Dressage leaders Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD finished in third being one of three combinations to make the optimum time – fourth placed Sarah Cohen and Treason being the third to do so.
Klimke commented: “It was really so much fun, and he really loves it. From fence to fence, he went faster — ears in front looking. It really was pure fun to ride him around here. Thank you to the big crowd for cheering us on.”
Germany’s Andreas Ostholt and Pennsylvania 28 were the only pair to pick up jumping penalties, with an unfortunate runout at 7B dropping them from fourth overnight to finish in 11th place.
Following the second leg of the series, Jung shares the top of the leader board with Britain’s Laura Collett on 30 points with Christopher Burton and Tom McEwen in joint in third on 28 points. The Event Rider Masters now heads to Arville in Belgium (23-24 June).
Weisbaden also hosted a CCI4*-S with the field of 16 competitors being mostly made up of German riders. Josefa Sommer and Hamilton 24 came out on top with Jerome Robine and Guccimo R OLD in second – taking victory in the Under 25 competition – and Peter Thomson and Charisma Th in third.