Leslie Wylie
Articles Written 424
Article Views 872,548

Leslie Wylie

Achievements

ENBadge Become an Eventing Nation Blogger

About Leslie Wylie

Latest Articles Written

#EventerProblems, Vol. 19

Baby now we got #EventerProblems, and I don’t think we can solve ‘em…

Here are 30 more of your deepest, darkest struggles.

If you missed them: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.

That time you fence judged at River Glen and forgot your sunscreen. #eventerproblems #firsttimemylegshaveseensun #ever

A photo posted by Redbud Farm Equestrian (@redbudequestrian) on

Moving jumps when the clinic starts tomorrow and you only have a car #eventerproblems #donsachey

A photo posted by Jade Vohland (@3daysin3ways) on

#eventerproblems @llcrowl

A photo posted by Molly Danger (@the_real_mollydanger) on

Cosmo almost went for a road trip to the vet school! #horsegirlproblems #eventerproblems #countrygirlintheswamp

A video posted by Emily (@emily.beasley1221) on

#eventerproblems. Beer for my horse who does not sweat well.

A photo posted by Lynne Wood (@wood.lynne) on

When you’re only taking the essentials for a show. #subaru #subarubarncar #horseshowlife #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Stephanie (@okequestrian) on

ugh I feel so bad for Pi! the bugs are awful this week!!! I’ve been soaking the guy in bug spray too!!!

A photo posted by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

“Miss Disrespectful” (aka Sallie) and her opinion of my braiding job! #eventerproblems #EN #missdisrespectful

A photo posted by Judy Hart Lancaster (@legend7g) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems, Vol. 18

Seriously, someone needs to make a reality show about you guys. Thirty more #EventerProblems, coming right up!

If you missed them: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Trying to imagine how this is going to go down if I get pulled over… #eventerproblems #iswearitisntmine

A photo posted by Rebecca (@wine_y_ponie) on

He will do anything to get out of Dressage schooling. #eventerproblems A photo posted by Kelly Rieser Photographic (@kellyrieserphotographic) on

When you have to ride and you suddenly have two “right” gloves!!! #eventerproblems A photo posted by Julia (@ridenski1) on

This may be more than just #eventerproblems…

A photo posted by @eventer79 on

The correct way to bring in jumps.. Safety first?¿ #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Hannah Simpson (@hs.eventing) on

Got new tall boots! #atleasttheyrepretty #worthit #eventerproblems #equestrianproblems A photo posted by Becca (@beccarides) on

Cleaning grey pony’s tail may be harder then I thought…. #greyferal #gk #eventinginwinter #eventerproblems #showprep

A photo posted by Courtenae Truswell (@courtenae.t) on

Pi at least has the decency to look a little bit guilty about his romp in the mud… #theswampmonsterisdead A photo posted by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

Eventer Problems

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems, Vol. 17

How do you say “#EventerProblems” in Dutch? Still “#EventerProblems,” apparently, according to this Instagram pic taken in the Netherlands.

LORTEVEJR på vej til stævne… Just NOT funky! #crappyweather #deutchland #summer #eventerproblems

A video posted by Simone Bøgelund (@simone_boegelund) on

Likewise, their struggle is a universal one. When I ran “LORTEVEJR på vej til stævne” through Google Translate, it came up as “$H!T WEATHER on their way to events.” Been there, done that!

Why do we do this thing again? Here are 29 more #EventerProblems to which eventers around the globe will be able to relate: 

If you missed them: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.

When you get up at 5:30 to ride before work and your horse is missing a shoe #horsesofinstagram #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Alexandra Dupont (@rittenhaus) on

Canter sets are hard work #eventerproblems #pony #bootcamp

A photo posted by kn (@kneventer) on

Car required off gassing after being left in sun with three filthy horse blankets. #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Laura Anders (@crazypopoki) on

Organizing the tack trunk…. where did it all come from?! #horseaddict #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Jaci Dryer (@jaci34) on

Abscess. Why you no pop already?!? #horses #EventerProblems #abscessgoaway

A photo posted by Kristen Janicki (@kjanicki215) on

Time to fix myself.. too much jump saddle made me a hunch back #eventerproblems

A photo posted by ℠✝ierney (@lil_teenz) on

#eventerproblems holding onto your stirrup for dear life #nice#laineyashkerclinic#LAE#eventer#3de#crosscountry#xc

A photo posted by Makenna Gilhuber (@makenna.mg) on

When the showjumping course goes up and Down Like a freaking rollercoaster #eventerproblems #equestrianlife

A photo posted by Simone Bøgelund (@simone_boegelund) on

When you get kind of beach waves from showering in a stall with buckets #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Kate (@kmeventer) on

The real bucket challenge! #monty #luvmyboy #eventerproblems

A photo posted by monty976 (@monty976) on

A few course walks later…#rebeccafarms #eventerproblems @goeventing

A photo posted by JB Sport Horses (@jbsporthorses) on

Nothing quite like having a nosebleed right before dressage… #eventerproblems

A photo posted by smartequine (@smartequine) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems: XVI

The wheels on the strugglebus go round and round, round and round …

Presenting 25 more #EventerProblems, because you guys just can’t get enough (and also because the struggles just keep coming).

If you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIV, Part XV

When you bath your gray…. #eventerproblems #horsenation #eventingnation #grayhorseprobs #grayhorseproblems A photo posted by Maybelle And Titan (@masoneventing) on

When you wear a hole in the calf of your tall boots before the foot has any sign of wearing out… #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Megan Moore (@teamceoeventing) on

when you go from 350mpm to 1mpm. bonus, it’s in slo mo #eventerproblems #HorseNation #ottb #eventing A video posted by Diane (@dmzrimsek) on

Sick joke Iron League #eventerproblems #meetironleague #mostfamoushorseinmaryland #blending #slightlyimpressed A photo posted by Courtney Sendak (@dgeventing) on

well at least I know Mac put his brushing boots to good use today… #eventerproblems A photo posted by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

Gah! Abscess … #eventerproblems #butitcouldbeworse A photo posted by Stephanie Church (@stephlchurch) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems: XV

Two months and well over 300 #EventerProblems later, your struggles are threatening to take over the horsey Internet. Here are 30 more problems only eventers will understand.

If you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIV.

I want to ride. I really do, but an ice cold beverage is sooooo tempting. … #horsegirlproblems #eventerproblems A photo posted by Emily (@emily.beasley1221) on

When the Liniment you purchased for your horse is on point and now have no feeling in your hand. #eventerproblems A photo posted by Katie Richardson (@krichar321) on

Via Tom Kimmel: When we XC school, Flyzilla, the infamous “B-52 Fly” is our nemesis in the fields, it’s loud buzzing clearly audible when inbound for horseflesh. #eventerproblems

IMG_0922

I hate white breeches #fml #dressage #eventerproblems #equestrianproblems #HorseNation A photo posted by Diane (@dmzrimsek) on

When in doubt, just jump it! #toomanylegs #hardtocontrol #eventerproblems

A video posted by Oscar (@oscareventing) on

 

When your mother is your videographer for your Eric Smiley clinic. #eventerproblems Posted by Sarah Evelyn Murawski on Sunday, July 12, 2015

 

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

Happy Birthd’eh, Jenni!

Earlier this week EN commander-in-chief Jenni Autry sent out a company memo in a fit of pre-Pan Ams agitation.

There was a long, irate rant about parking passes, etc. and then this reminder of the sacrifices she was making for both EN and her country: “It’s my [bleep] birthday on Friday and I’m doing whatever the [bleep] I want. I’m rolling into this PRESS CENTRE with a [bleep] suitcase full of booze and a [bleep] chinchilla.”

Accompanied by this:

Untitled

John was not very sympathetic. “No one wants to hear about your birthday weekend vacation. You are in Canada. People there are like Americans, except nicer, and there are no police,” he wrote, and then went on a tangent about his experience covering the last Pan Ams in Guadalajara.

“The very fact that you are writing us an email means that your life is 500% better than Guadalajara. In 2011, I got posts published using a combination of drug mules and smoke signals. Parking wasn’t a problem at the venue because we had to have a military escort. To make matters worse, I got so drunk Saturday night that I wrote the jog and show jumping reports literally laying down in the press center. But, go back to your VIP parking pass hand delivered by the USEF, and your little friendly host family, and think you are hard core.”

Accompanied by this:

626CtMM21jf5ZXDLfVWrQUjtxDo_5x__8RPGMfUg7LSVc7RUccH7GcWRcFJJcwK3pSIpY8Y53qysdN5g9hHH6ZTUb39j9LW8Y_CWP7hpCZuDyabw6foCxBChfU-I2DkUE7spQZCmp2tb5CxUbH6psZNOT3d7EE1BATg=s0-d-e1-ft

I tend to be a sort of Switzerland between Jenni and John, the marriage counselor of EN’s quarreling parents. In this case: yes, John, a third-world country does trump The Country Above the United States, but it still sort of sucks to be away from your friends, husband and extensive personal wine collection on your birthday.

For Jenni so loved her country that she gave up her only day off of the year to cover the Pan Am Games, and I think that deserves a little compassion — and a reminder that Canada has a lot to offer lonely female journalists. Like these Canadian national treasures, who have gathered here today to celebrate our fearless leader’s birth.

drake-meme-generator-happy-birthd-eh-jenni-you-sweet-like-maple-syrup-02bb61

]

ryan-reynolds-meme-generator-happy-birthd-eh-jenni-that-poutine-so-fine-334784

keanu

taylor-meme-generator-happy-birthd-eh-jenni-even-the-royal-canadian-mounted-police-couldn-t-keep-me-away-from-you-293cb4

justin-meme-generator-happy-birthd-eh-jenni-i-d-run-away-with-you-but-my-snowmobile-in-the-shop-566e4f

OK, maybe the Biebs is a stretch but I don’t really know what Jenni is into (except for, of course, her own husband — hi Josh!)

Enjoy that [bleep] suitcase full of booze, Jenni, and if your dressage reports begin deteriorating mid-afternoon we promise not to judge.

Jenni having a great time watching Pan Ams dressage in the cold Canadian rain.

Jenni having a great time watching Pan Ams dressage in the cold Canadian rain. #northofthewall #truepatriot #goforgold

Happy birthd’eh, and Go Eventing!

Go Eventing … Bareback!

Carrie's student Julia Muir and her horse, Sophie. Photo courtesy of Mulks Eventing. Carrie's student Julia Muir and her horse, Sophie. Photo courtesy of Mulks Eventing.

Many of us associate bareback riding with childhood barn adventures — bombing around on ponies beyond the four-board fence of adult supervision, testing the boundaries of our bravery and balance.

Area VIII eventer Carrie Mulks, who operates her training program Mulks Eventing out of Williamston, Michigan, remembers those days fondly. As an active Pony Club kid who would later graduate with her “B” rating, Carrie was a master of spit-and-polish horsemanship but also knew how to have a little fun.

“I jumped bareback all the time when I was little and I feel it made huge improvements in my riding and balance,” Carrie recalls.

Riding sans saddle is an experience she now brings to her own lesson program. “I have been really pushing my students to do more no-stirrup work and no-saddle work both on the flat and over fences to help improve their balance and quickly overcome some bad habits they have, like leaning one way or another or taking your knees off the tack while jumping.”

Carrie's student Elizabeth Walter and her horse, Cappie. Photo courtesy of Mulks Eventing.

Carrie’s student Elizabeth Walter and her horse, Cappie. Photo courtesy of Mulks Eventing.

Carrie makes a great point: Riding bareback (if your horse’s wither conformation allows!) can be a useful tool whether you’re 14 or 40. There’s no better way to identify imbalances, whether it’s unequally weighted seatbones or a one-sidedness in your horse, feel connected to what’s going on beneath you, and develop rider core strength.

While some events offer novelty bareback exhibitions, like the PRO Bareback Puissance at Plantation Field and the Bareback Gambler’s Choice at Fair Hill, opportunities to put the average eventer’s sticky britches to the test are few and far between. This weekend, however, Mulks Eventing is offering a unique competition with bareback challenges for all experience levels.

“I have never run a show before but I have a cute course and lots of space so why not open it up for friends!,” Carrie says.

carrie

“We are right in the middle of show season and I thought I nice, fun, kind of silly show would be the perfect way to ease the tension before the big end-of-the-year shows,” she explains. “Plus, it not only gives everyone show jumping practice but also pushes them to fix their flaws. Hopefully no one is expecting some big formal show, but learning, fun and a lot of laughs — at least for me, for sure!”

For more information on the show, visit CarrieMulksEventing.com.

Go Eventing … Bareback!

#EventerProblems: XIV

I would love to say that I am surprised that this series is still going strong. But I am not.

Here are 25 more struggles that only eventers will understand.

If you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII.

When you decide very last minute to enter an event. Get it in the truck and sort it out later! #eventerproblems A photo posted by Brandi Williams (@chilltopper) on

Just finished cleaning dirty studs in a hotel room. #eventerproblems A photo posted by Brandi Williams (@chilltopper) on

When I decide to wear shorts… #equestrianproblems #eventerproblems #ionlywearpants #handmetheselftanner

A photo posted by Allison Stitzinger (@a_stitzinger) on

When packing for Rebecca Farm… #helpus #eventerproblems #struggling

A photo posted by Lexi & Vinny (@vinny.lexi) on

Where’s Waldo, eventing style… #WheresErin #eventerproblems A photo posted by Amanda Conti (@mbhorsejumper) on

Got a helmet visor because #Texas. #SoChic #eventerproblems #fashion #equestrian #mindyourmelon

A photo posted by Becca (@beccarides) on

When your boots dye your feet black #eventerproblems A photo posted by Ondine Eardley (@eardleyeventing) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems: XIII

Because you guys just can’t get enough, here are 20 more problems that only eventers will understand.

If you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII.

This is getting ridiculous. #halfchaptrouble #eventerproblems A photo posted by Redbud Farm Equestrian (@redbudequestrian) on

7 o’clock a.m. lesson crew #mood #eventerproblems #whatissleep A photo posted by @m.w.eventing on

Just one weekend off in July… No biggy or anything #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Hannah Sim (@daytodayeventing) on

When you have a lesson but the weather thinks not. #eventerproblems #louisianaweather

A video posted by Alice Shepard (@_gossipgirl13_) on

And the awful tan lines begin… #summer #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Alex DeMelo (@al_demelo) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems: XII

The struggle is real, y’all. Here’s an extra-deluxe edition of #EventerProblems to help you feel less alone in your pain.

If you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI.

Totally ready for competition tomorrow #eventerproblems #horseproblems #ilovemygrey

A photo posted by Lea Ditte Marsk Lauridsen (@lea_lauridsen) on

When organic carrots are on sale. #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Maggie Forcier (@me.forcier) on

All I see is galloping lanes. #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Hannah Simpson (@hs__eventing) on

When you gotta teach a lesson but you also gotta mow… #eventerproblems #johnproblems

A photo posted by @windermerestables on

When your dog is also covered in hay and poopy water #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Elizabeth (@elizabethjthiel) on

Soooo hot!!!! #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Jackie Ericksen (@crazyhorselady) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems: Part XI

Unlike week-old leftover Chinese takeout and the Jurassic Park franchise, some things get better the second time around. And the third time. And the fourth time. And especially — as illustrated here — the 11th time.

Here are 20 more #EventerProblems only people as demented as you guys will understand.

If you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X.

Dressage, gallop and acupuncture day for #TheJ (#spoiled)

A photo posted by Victoria Law (@dvmeventer) on

When youre 5’4 and you’re tacking up an 18h horse… #eventerproblems #teamtackshoppe

A photo posted by Skye (@skylardana) on

Sick joke Iron League #eventerproblems #meetironleague #mostfamoushorseinmaryland #blending #slightlyimpressed

A photo posted by Courtney Sendak (@dgeventing) on

Finding the shade #summergoals #eventerproblems

A photo posted by Sarah Vogler (@sevogler) on

Working hard or hardly working? #eventerproblems #eventinglive #chatthills #coaching #hammock #camping

A photo posted by Redbud Farm Equestrian (@redbudequestrian) on

Because it’s show day… I think this filter really brings out the mud #itstooearly #horseproblems #eventerproblems #kpwn #ontheforestboarding

A photo posted by On the Forest Boarding Ltd (@ontheforesthorses) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems: Part X

We’re now 200 #EventerProblems in and you guys are showing now signs of stopping.

Why? Because horses, that’s why.

If you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX.

When you have to work on the weekend and there are horse shows going on. #EventerProblems #EN

A photo posted by Amy Raczkowski (@alracz) on

no bandaid + need to ride = vetwrap! #horsegirlproblems #eventerproblems A photo posted by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

#eventerproblems #everybodylovesbacon

Posted by Megan Woods on Saturday, June 20, 2015

 

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

#EventerProblems: IX

This is the hashtag that never ends / Yes it goes on and on my friend / Some eventers started griping on social media / and they’ll continue complaining forever just because / this is the hashtag that never ends…

Here are 20 more reader-submitted troubles that only eventers will understand.

If you missed them: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII.

What’s missing in this photo? One of Pi’s brand new shoes that he just got on MONDAY…. A photo posted by Kate Drake (@katedrakevt) on

 

That moment your pinny come undone and flaps around like a cape. #supereventer #eventerproblems #eventing A photo posted by Jorie Lee Sage (@jorieleesage) on


Apparently I ride too much @prochaps_equestrian #timefornewones #eventerproblems #whyaretheysoexpensive A photo posted by Buxton Equestrian (@buxtonequestrian) on

What’s YOUR problem? Tweet it, Instagram it or share it on Facebook with the hashtag #EventerProblems for inclusion in the next edition of this series.

Go Eventing!

Ingrid Klimke Wins Christmas Wreath, Random Broom for Luhmühlen Victory

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie. Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

More on the glorious spectacle that is a German awards ceremony later. First, a rundown of the events leading up to Ingrid and FRH Escada JS‘s CCI4* triumph.

It took a hot minute for anyone to manage a double-clear trip around Captain Mark Phillips‘ testing show jumping course. At long last, Great Britain’s Nicky Roncoroni and her dreamy dapple-grey Stonedge broke the seal.

Nicky Rorcoroni and Stonedge (GBR). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Nicky Rorcoroni and Stonedge (GBR). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The double-clears began trickling in after that, beginning with Germany’s Dirk Schrade with Hop and Skip, who jumped from 13th to 8th, and culminating with six of the last seven pairs to go.

Canada’s Rebecca Howard had an unlucky rail but there was just enough scoreboard shuffling that she was able to hang on to her foothold in the top 10. Rupert looked keen and ready to jump some jumps; he had the expression of a kid tearing opening birthday presents throughout his round. Watching him you’d never know he jumped clear and fast around a 4* course the day before.

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

America’s lonely torchbearers, Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen, enjoyed a brilliant finish to their brilliant comeback weekend. Glen jumped his heart out today, moving from 7th to 6th thanks to a double-clear round.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Clark told me Friday that he’d probably sat in a dressage saddle maybe, maybe, a dozen times since Boekelo last October, focusing instead on Glen’s jumping and fitness programs. Their hard work paid off this weekend, certainly, but can you imagine the result if this pair had actually put in some time on the flat?

Imagine this photo, flipped. (Clark, I’m sorry Glen’s naptime ears ruin all your pictures. At least he’s got a buddy in this one.)

Mark Todd, 5th, and Clark Montgomery. 6th, during the awards ceremony. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mark Todd, 5th, and Clark Montgomery, 6th, during the awards ceremony. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The remainder of the leaderboard stayed intact. It was beautiful round after beautiful round from Mark Todd, Christopher Burton, Michael Jung, Jonelle Price and, last but not least, Ingrid Klimke.

It was hard not to root for 3rd placed Michael and Sam, whose seem to float through life in a bubble of hearts. And 2nd placed Jonelle’s light-as-a-feather Faerie Dianimo is a treat to watch.

But if Ingrid won, I knew what was going to happen. And I wanted to witness it.

Germany was going to lose its mind completely.

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Wham, bam, thank-you-ma’am and what happened next was everything I dreamed it would be. Having experienced The Ingrid Effect yesterday on cross-country, I had the foresight to turn my iPhone video on as she was heading toward the final jump.

It starts with dead silence — OK, so you can hear a bird chirping somewhere and the girl beside me was quietly clucking — but as soon as Escada has all four hooves back on solid ground….

German eventing, man. It’s for real.

Making Ingrid’s win, on her dressage score of 32.7, even more special was her connection to the place. Her father Dr. Reiner Klimke won Luhmühlen 56 years ago, and her mare was also bred here in Luhmühlen by Jürgen Stuhtmann.

“It was meant to be” Ingrid said. “Escada was fantastic in every sense of the word and I am totally over the moon. Without her and my team I wouldn’t be here. With the show jumping we ended an amazing weekend. She was extraordinary — she never touched a pole.”

Jonelle and Michael were also thrilled with their horses’ performances.

Jonelle said that she was a bit nervous going in the ring.

“My horse is a very careful jumper and will always try her hardest, so any mistake would have been down to me,” she explained. “The time was very tight and having to ride against the clock is not really my thing, so I did feel the pressure today. Therefore I am even more pleased that we stayed clear within the optimum time. All the top riders were extraordinary this weekend and I am extremely proud to be one of them.”

Of his tremendous partner Sam, Michael said, “I am completely happy with Sam’s performance this weekend and we couldn’t do more in the end. The ladies fully deserved to come first and second.”

When Ingrid trotted back into the ring to accept their honor, the real party began. Exhibit A: the awards ceremony.

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Is this thing edible?

They just kept bringing out prizes.

brooms

Random brooms.

painting

Some artwork.

fruitbasket1

Tiny trophies and cellophane-wrapped fruit baskets.

boot

A single boot.

DSC_1050

And then, out of nowhere, bagpipes. Because of course.

Maybe if I knew more German (or any German, really) I would have had a better grasp of what was going on. But I actually kind of enjoyed being in the dark, the only journalist doubled over with the suspense of not knowing what was going to happen next.

Adorable New Zealand photographer Libby Law later told me that if I thought German award customs were weird, I ought to see the French. Apparently they’re really into giving away kitchen appliances: microwaves, toaster ovens, the like. It makes that dinky watch at Rolex seem pretty boring.

And broadcast commentator John Kyle pointed out that America basically grinds to a halt if a horse wins three races. You’ve got a point, John.

Go Germany. Go Ingrid. Go check out EN’s Great Meadow cross-country live thread.

And, most importantly… Go Eventing.

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

Ingrid Klimke’s Sparkle Winky-Face Shirt and Other Notes from the Luhmühlen Jog

Overnight leader Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER) kick Sunday off with a wink and a smile. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Overnight leader Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER) kick Sunday off with a wink and a smile. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Twenty-five of 25 horses passed the Sunday morning inspection here in Germany, many of them looking quite spry after yesterday’s taxing effort.

It never ceases to amaze me how these elite equine athletes can be so poised in the dressage ring, one-track-minded on cross-country and unflappable amidst the sound and color of show jumping, yet the task of jogging politely down a strip of asphalt seems emotionally too much to bear.

Coral Keen and Wellshead Fare Opposition (GBR). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Coral Keen and Wellshead Fare Opposition (GBR). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The North American contingent, at least, kept it together. Ever the consummate professional, Clark Montgomery’s Loughan Glen looked loose, limber and feeling the chill vibes after his clear run yesterday. If you’d just prick your ears for a moment, Glen, I could get a decent photo of you! For such a handsome horse, you’re never going to make it as a supermodel.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Take a hint from Rupert.

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Stunning.

Michael Jung jogged in jeans on Wednesday but was in his Sunday best today. Now there’s a guy who cleans up well. And as long as I’ve got my suit and tie / Imma leave it all on the floor tonight…

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Nice suspension, too, although not quite as impressive as Ludwig Svennerstal.

Tim Lips and Bayro (NED). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Ludwig Svennerstal (SWE). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Julien Despontin was bringing sexy back in his sweet shades.

Julien Despontin and Waldano 36 (BEL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Julien Despontin and Waldano 36 (BEL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

No sunglasses for Toddy, who seemed to have a little twinkle in his eye this morning.

Mark Todd and NZB Campino (NZL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mark Todd and NZB Campino (NZL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The best of the rest:

Go get ‘em, guys. Show jumping starts at 11:15 a.m. CEST, a bright-and-early 5:15 a.m. for those of you on ET. Sally, a true Eventing Nation hero who definitely deserves a raise, will be live blogging from the FEI live stream while I’m doing the business ringside.

What’s about to go down out there? No telling. There’s very little room to breath between the top scores, with just a 10th of a point separating first placed Ingrid Klimke and second placed Jonelle Price. The leaderboard heading into show jumping.

xcscores

Yesterday Ingrid sounded confident that the momentum from her stellar cross-country round would carry over into show jumping today: “Escada is a good jumper and she has been great in training. My trainer Kurt Gravemeier promised he would come down here for the show jumping providing I was in the top three. I told him to fill up his car!”

Perhaps she was trying to tell us something with that winky face.

Stay tuned. Go Eventing!

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

 

Sights and Sounds From Luhmühlen Cross Country

One thing I’ve learned over my past four days in Germany is that you just never know what’s going to happen next.

Some things are predictable.

This kid stuffing his face with a pretzel.

This kid stuffing his face with a giant pretzel.

Schnauzers.

Schnauzers.

xcfalconguy

Rip Van Winkle and his pet falcon.

OK, so the random falconry exhibition immediately following cross-country was a bit of a surprise. I snapped a few photos and shuffled back into the media tent, ready to chug espresso and do some writing while the weirdness died out.

A few minutes later: the “Chariots of Fire” theme song and the roar of the crowd. That falcon must be really putting on a show!

I wandered back out in time to see Andreas Dibowski thundering around the ring on a proud-looking RH Butts Leon. At 18 years old, the horse’s prolific career has taken him around the world and back, literally. His accomplishments include two clear cross-country rounds at the Olympics, two World Equestrian Games, 2nd place finishes at Badminton and Pau, and a win and a 2nd right here in the 2009 and 2011 Luhmühlen CCI4*s.

Andreas took his partner over a few final jumps in the ring and they looked as keen as ever. The crowd clapped in time with the music and waved white handkerchiefs as they galloped past. It was a deserving tribute and touching farewell to one of Team Germany’s most accomplished equine athletes.

Andreas Dibowski and FRH Butts Leon. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Andreas Dibowski and FRH Butts Leon (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Luhmühlen sure knows how to put on a show, and it’s no surprise that this event is a destination for equestrian enthusiasts from all of Europe and beyond.

The 62-horse competition itself is, of course, Luhmühlen’s centerpiece. But the organizers seem to understand that it’s in everyone’s best interest to build out the schedule in a way that capitalizes on the excitement of the event. In addition to falconry and grandiose retirement ceremonies, there are breed inspections, pony brigades, bagpipes and karaoke at night for anyone who dares.

Jesse Campbell and Kaapachino (NZL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jesse Campbell and Kaapachino (NZL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Luhmühlen is at once spectacular and user-friendly, not so crowded that you have to fight for a glimpse of the water complex but large enough to do justice to the big deal that this CCI4* actually is. The course is a work of art and the quality of horses here is astonishing.

The dog-watching is pretty exciting, too.

Mop dog, the first. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mop dog, the first. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mop dog, the first. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mop dog, the second. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Also, a shout-out to the cutest outriders in the land…

Cutest outriders ever! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Squee! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

…and to parents who pull their kids around in wagons.

xckid

Double squee! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

It’s been an exciting day and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the weekend shakes out. The CCI4* inspection begins at 9 a.m. CEST (3 a.m. ET), with show jumping from 11:15 to 12:30 CEST (5:15 to 6:30 a.m.). Until then, gute nacht!

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

Watch Chinchwürst Smash Face-first into Every Luhmühlen Cross Country Fence

You’ve seen the jumps.

You’ve watched the drone flyover.

You’ve read all about the world’s best riders making short work of it.

But never, not until this very moment, have you seen the Luhmühlen cross-country course like THIS.

A couple weekends ago at Bromont, in lieu of our usual course walk, we sent Le Chinch on a mission to tackle the entire CCI3* course himself. Being only eight inches tall, it seemed an impossible feat.

We attempted to bolster his confidence by quoting passages from the great motivational speaker R. Kelly: “We believe you can fly! We believe you can touch the sky!”

And fly/touch the sky is what he did, reaching heights never before imagined for a tiny, not-that-aerodynamic stuffed animal. You can view the complete photo gallery here.

IMG_16901

Le Chinch’s CCI3* debut was a big hit with readers, especially readers with a demented sense of humor and too much time on their hands. So when we recruited Chinchwürst, Chinch’s alcoholic German uncle, to sub in as our furry foreign correspondent at Luhmühlen, part of the deal was that he had to reenact Le Chinch’s feat.

CCI3*, CCI4,* drunk, sober… I mean, it’s really not that big a difference, right?

Wrong.

IMG_2122[1]

We apologize in advance.

OK, we lied. He didn’t smash into EVERY jump — just about 50% of the course. We felt morally obligated to cut him off after about his 10th concussion.

Go Chinchwürst. Go Eventing.

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

Sun Shines Down on Luhmühlen Cross Country: Ingrid Leads, North Americans in Top 10

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Luhmühlen desperately needed today to be a good one — and we got our wish.

After three days of spitty rain and frigid wind, we awoke early to a day that, literally and metaphorically, just got brighter as it went on. This morning’s CCI4* cross country competition was both safe and good sport, and it went a long way toward pushing back the dark clouds that have been hovering over the event for the past couple years.

Eventing in Germany is no joke. I sat in traffic on the way to the show grounds longer than I did for a 90,000-person music festival last weekend. National pride runs deep and at today’s competition Ingrid Klimke was the headliner.

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS. Photo by Thomas Ix.

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER). Photo by Thomas Ix.

Dressage leader Julien Despontin picked up 22.4 time penalties early on in the day. He later explained, “My horse lost a shoe between jumps 13 and 14 which caused us to slip a little round the corners and slowed us down a bit. Waldano was brilliant nevertheless and I truly enjoyed the round.”

Julien’s time penalties left the door wide open for Ingrid to take the lead and that she did, much to the delight of her countrymen. You could tell where she was on course just by the sound of roars rising up from crowd and the performance she laid down was admittedly pretty rock-star. Ingrid has a presence in the saddle that is matched only by her stunningly talented mare, FRH Escada JS, who made short work of Captain Mark Phillips‘ CCI4* course.

“I am so happy, she was super fit and gave me a wonderful round,” Ingrid said. “The course rode brilliantly, the ground was perfectly prepared and the audience was really supportive. However, the course was technically challenging, especially the different water complexes and the Ariat combination toward the end asked for heightened concentration.

“Escada was unbelievable though: motivated and amazing to ride. She has a big jump in her and is very clever. She can solve even difficult questions almost effortlessly.”

We noticed that Ingrid was sporting a helmet cam so hopefully we’ll all be able to take a vicarious spin on Escada soon!

A clear, fast round from New Zealand’s Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo earned them on step up the scoreboard into 2nd place.

“Today she rode like a proper four-star horse!” Jonelle said. “She was amazing, she flew round the course, she is truly exceptional. I have never had a horse like her before, she can do amazing things in all three disciplines. At home she is a little diva and her stable name is Princess, but it was worth putting in all the hard work to get her on my side.

“When I rode her in Pau she was still a little green, but she has grown a lot and her performance here has been tremendous. I really can’t ask for more. If I do my job well tomorrow, then anything is possible.”

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo (NZL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo (NZL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Michael Jung had the 3rd and 4th spots claimed with fischerRocana FST and La Biosthetique Sam FBW respectively heading into today’s competition. Sam tackled the course with his signature professionalism, coming home well inside the time.

“La Biosthetique Sam is super fit and rode perfectly all the way round the course,” Michael says. “He listened to me right from the start and we had a lot of fun out there. It was a great round under perfect conditions.”

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW (GER). Photo by Thomas Ix.

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW (GER). Photo by Thomas Ix.

fischerRocana seemed to be enjoying her romp as well until the final water complex.

In an unexpected turn of events, the supermare went down to her knees on the landing from the drop in. She resurfaced with a surprised expression on her face, shaking the water from her ear bonnet and looking the part of a pony who’d had its dinner taken away. Michael called it a day and they walked back to the stables a bit soggy but no worse for the wear.

We’re thrilled to report that Team North America had a stellar day, with both Clark Montgomery and Rebecca Howard finishing in the top 10.

I saw Rebecca come through #28ABC, the Ariat Horses, a triple brush skinny followed by a left bend to a two-stride line of angled corners. Being just two fences from home and at the bottom of a downhill gallop, it was a test of both fitness and focus and caused trouble for those who didn’t get their horses back quite enough.

New Zealand’s Blyth Tait and Xanthus III were among those who collected 20 here.

Rebecca and Rupert were spot-on, their game face never wavering from start…

xcrebecca

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

…to finish.

Clark and Glen looked absolutely flawless through the Ariat line as well from where I was watching near the last jump. The announcer initially said he’d finished clear and just a second over time, so when 20 jump penalties — and then an elimination — later popped up on the leaderboard beside his name we were all quite stunned.

Glen had apparently knocked the flag at the C element and there was some question about whether his shoulders were over the fence, a matter soon resolved by a series of head-on photographs taken by Shannon Brinkman. You’re an American hero, Shannon!

Even when the ruling was still up in the air Clark told me that he couldn’t have been more thrilled with his horse’s performance. The pair has buckled down on their jumping and fitness work the past few months and their effort clearly paid off today.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

“He was right on all the way around,” he said. “I was a bit conservative with really going for the time at the beginning because the concern was whether he would have enough gas to finish the course. But he just kept on wanting to gallop so I was really happy with that. And looking for the jumps — he ticked them off like it was no big deal.”

This was Clark and Glen’s first go at Luhmühlen and he says he was happy with how the course rode.

“It was a bit harder than I expected technicality wise,” he said. “I think a lot of the riders would maybe say that because it caused more issues that we thought it might.”

Issues were scattered throughout the course, resulting in nine retirements, one elimination and a stop or runout here and there. There was only one fall when Kai-Steffen Meier and Sunny Side First “submarined” into the water at 17. Everyone returned to the barn safely, however, and the riders expressed a widespread feeling that their horses had come off course more educated and confident.

“I think Mark did a good job with this course in that it did cause issues with it still being safe,” Clark said. “That’s a super finish for Luhmühlen, especially.”

CCI4* Cross Country Photo Gallery:

 

CCI4* top 25 after cross country (click here to view the full leaderboard):

xcscores

Check out video highlights from the FEI below. We’ve got plenty more Luhmühlen shenanigans up our sleeve for later today. In the meantime, go eventing!

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

Luhmühlen Looking to Outrun Some Dark Clouds on Saturday

Photo by Leslie Wylie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

The nightmare that was cross-country day at Luhmühlen 2014 isn’t lost on anyone this weekend. Nobody’s pretending like it didn’t happen — starting with an acknowledgement from Princess Anne in the show program’s forward:

“All equestrian activities are risky and modern equestrian sports understand those risks better than ever. While remembering Benjamin Winter’s tragic accident last year which has overshadowed Luhmühlen’s recent history, I would like to wish all those involved — the organisers, the many volunteers and the riders a very successful event.”

The 15th day of June last year was a dark day for the sport and one that raised some hefty, and ultimately impossible, questions. “Where do we go from here?,” Luhmühlen course designer Captain Mark Phillips asked in a press conference following the incident that afternoon.

“Personally, I feel sick to my stomach,” he said. “We had a course that a lot of people thought was easier than last year. We had perfect conditions, great footing, a sunny day — but we had too many falls. Six rider falls, two horse falls — it’s too many.”

Luhmühlen’s undercurrent of bad luck goes back a year further, when a fall claimed the life of another horse.

The event desperately needs to have a good day tomorrow. And, by all accounts, it has made every humanly possible attempt to ensure that it happens.

The cross-country course has undergone some dramatic changes for this year’s event, including completely reversing the course’s direction. The increased implementation of safety systems, especially frangible pins, has been emphasized. There is also plenty of use of hedges, described by Phillips as “a semi frangible medium” that can add an element of forgiveness to difficult questions.

But even with the most advanced technology and thoughtful course design, things don’t always go according to plan. And the ultimate responsibility, of course, falls on the riders to make smart decisions.

“The greatest aid towards safety is the respect riders have for the fences, so we are always trying to find the balance between the fence that is forgiving and yet still taken seriously by the riders,” Philips explained in a press release before the event.

Godspeed to all of tomorrow’s competitors — here’s wishing you all a safe, happy journey. Go eventing.

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

Clark Montgomery Came Here to Jump the Jumps

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie. Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Sitting in 9th place amongst the world’s best riders is nice and all but Clark Montgomery is keeping his eye on the prize.

Since Libby Head broke her wrist and had to withdraw at the 11th hour, Clark is the USA’s principal ambassador here at Luhmühlen — and so far they’re doing us a solid.

To copy-paste my comments from our Luhmühlen dressage recap, Clark and Loughan Glen came out of the gate swinging, earning a 9 and a 10 for an airborne medium trot across the diagonal — I’m still not convinced the horse’s feet were touching the ground.

OK, maybe a tippy-toe here and there but not much else. Here's what a 10 looks like. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

OK, maybe a tippy-toe here and there but not much else. Here’s what a “10″ medium looks like. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Tippy-tippy-toe. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

It was a crisp, lovely test, and Glen is the sort of class horse who looks right at home here amidst the world’s best competitors. Being based in Europe for the past two-and-a-half years has treated Clark well, also; he’s got that rare combination of poise and gutsiness that permeates so many of the top programs here.

A fluke break in the counter canter serpentine weighed their score down a bit but even with a few lost points they managed a 37.1 for 9th place.

Having a chill event horse can be a good, not to mention rare, thing, but Clark says Glen can sometimes be a little too cool a customer in the dressage ring.

“He was fantastic in the beginning,” Clark explains. “He went in and I think he did really well in the trot work and then the beginning of the canter was OK — I could start to feel him start to get a little bit behind my leg. He’s typically that way anyway. I usually come out of the dressage ring out of breath from trying to keep him going all the way to the end; he’s been that way from the very beginning, since he was a 5 year old.”

He continues with a laugh, “I held it together until that last five loop serpentine and then he just would not keep going.”

Not bad, though, especially considering the fact that dressage has almost been an afterthought for this pair since Boekelo last fall. Clark says he’s sat in his dressage saddle maybe, maybe, a dozen times since October.

“The focus has been on his fitness,” Clark says. “Getting him a bit stronger, and his jumping, and so that’s what we’re really here for — tomorrow.”

Captain Mark Phillips’ CCI4* course will be a well-rounded test of those who tackle it.

“It’s a good course,” Clark says. “It’s really not the biggest four-star but it’s technical enough and there plenty of places to screw up.”

Exhibit A: this sort-of-insane skinny to double corner combination. With not much to do but gallop up and down a hill between the final water and this last combination, Clark predicts that it could catch out some horses and riders who let down their guard at the end of the course.

photo(7)

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

“Most everything is on a bit of a long distance so he wants you to keep forward,” Clark says. “But with that if you commit and mess up coming in you could easily end up on a half stride, and I think he’s going to catch some people out on quite a few of the combinations.”

There’s been chatter amongst the riders that the track, which is being run in reverse this year, is quite twisty-turny — almost CICish — but this being Clark’s Luhmühlen debut, he is approaching the course from a fresh perspective: “You definitely have to loop around but you’re not jumping and turning… it looks like Luhmühlen to me!”

From the USA to Germany, here’s wishing Clark and Glen the best of luck this weekend! CCI4* cross-country kicks off at 9:45 a.m. CEST (that’s 3:45 ET for many of y’all), with Clark heading out on course at 12:04 p.m. (or 6:04 a.m. ET). So, unless you’re an earlybird or ambitious FEI livestream devotee, send them some good vibes tonight before you head off to bed!

Go Eventing.

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

Day 2 Luhmühlen Dressage: That 25 Year Old Is Still Beating the Pants Off Everybody

Just kidding. Most people still have their pants on. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Just kidding. Most people still have their pants on. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Many gave him a run for his money but none could catch Belgium’s Julien Despontin, whose overnight CCI4* lead survived another day of cutthroat competition.

A short list of the best riders in the world that have scattered in his wake…

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS (GER), in 2nd on a 31.9. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo (NZL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo (NZL), in 3rd on a 32.7. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST (GER), in 4th on a 34.1. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (GER), in 5th on a 34.2. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Christopher Burton and Graf Liberty (AUS). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Christopher Burton and Graf Liberty (AUS), in 6th on a 36.4. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mark Todd and NZB Campino (NZL). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Mark Todd and NZB Campino (NZL), in 7th on a 36.5. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

I could keep going but you get my point. To recap my day 1 dressage recap, Julien and Waldano 36 are having the best week of their lives, having surmounted a career trajectory of milquetoast dressage results with one shining, near-record-breaking score in their second CCI4* effort. Hats off to you, Julien!

Claas Hermann Romeike and Cato 60 (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Claas Hermann Romeike and Cato 60 (GER). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Oops!

As predicted, the scoreboard saw some major shakeups when the big guns came out to play. The day started and ended with a bang, with the first pair in the ring, New Zealand’s Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo, setting the stage with an expressive, pristine performance.

Jonelle’s take: “I was surprised how well she did today. She can be quite difficult and it took me a lot of time and work to get her on my side. I knew she had all the potential to do an exceptional test, but she has never been this consistent before.”

Jonelle held fast to 2nd until the final block of the day, when consummate perfectionist Ingrid Klimke snuck in with a virtually mistake-free test on FRH Escada JS. Further proof that Ingrid is no human but a Cylon in a shadbelly: the judge at C, who is everyone’s favorite judge this weekend (more on that later), gave her a rider coefficient of “10.” Boom.

Ingrid’s analysis: “All the dressage work has paid off! Escada was very well prepared and she gave me a wonderful ride. She was working nicely over her back with lots of expression. Her trot was exceptional and her walk was pretty good, too.”

Yesterday I tried to pressure Michael Jung into predicting which of his horses was going to come out on top but he pretended to not understand me. La Biosthetique Sam FBW did the gentlemanly thing and gave his little sis fischerRocana FBW the lead, but just barely — no kidding, only 0.1 of a point separates the two horses.

Christopher Burton and Mark Todd lurk just outside the top five, and also this happened:

toddy1

In what will surely go down as a mic-drop moment in EN history, Chinchwürst catches a ride in Toddy’s top hat.

The USA’s sole torchbearer, Clark Montgomery, delivered a beautiful test on his equine hovercraft Loughan Glen. They came out of the gate swinging, earning a 9 and a 10 for an airborne medium trot across the diagonal — I’m still not convinced the horse’s feet were touching the ground. A fluke break in the counter canter serpentine weighed their score down a bit but even with a few lost points they managed a 37.1 for 9th place.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen (USA). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Also representing the great continent of North America was Canada’s Rebecca Howard on Riddle Master. This horse has the chops to win anywhere but, like many prodigies, his type-A attention to detail — in this case, crowds of people and billowing flags — can sometimes result in a bit of tension. Rebecca did a brilliant job of channeling it into a solid score of 42.5, good for 15th place.

Chinchwürst and I caught up with Rebecca after her test to recap her ride and talk shop about tomorrow’s cross-country course; you can watch the interview here.

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

While somewhat improved from yesterday, the scoring today remained wonky with some San Andreas Fault-scale gaps opening up between scores from the various judges.

The crazy cake still belongs to 10th placed Lizzie Brown‘s score from yesterday, which earned an 81.17% from C and a 67.33% from M. That’s a 13.84% spread. Likewise, top-placed Julien’s marks ranged from an 84.83% from the judge at C to a 71.17% from the judge at M. One EN reader likened it to a figure-skating competition. Are they even watching the same test?

One might argue that at least the inconsistencies were somewhat consistent across the leaderboard, with the judge at C handing out points like candy, the judge at M being all Grumpy Cat, and the judge at E plopped down somewhere in the middle. But there are still enough discrepancies at the top of the pack to raise eyebrows. For instance, the judge at M scored both of Michael Jung’s rides higher than she did the leader’s test.

One judge's 9 is another judge's 6.5, I guess. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

One judge’s 9 is another judge’s 6.5, I guess. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Whatever. This ain’t no dressage show, and today’s leaderboard may well be a distant memory by tomorrow night. I’ll be back later today with a dressage photo gallery and interview with Clark, and brace yourself for another completely insane course preview first thing in the a.m.

CCI4* Top 20:

top25

Go Eventing!

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

 

 

Rebecca Howard Reflects on Her Top 15 Luhmühlen Dressage Test

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie. Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master (CAN). Photo by Leslie Wylie.

There are only two representatives of the North American contingent here at Luhmühlen and both are on a mission.

For Rebecca Howard (CAN) and Clark Montgomery (USA), Luhmühlen marks their first four-star back since Badminton last spring. To recall, it was an infamously disastrous incarnation of the event — treacherous footing coupled with a tough track resulted in only 44% of the starters making it around, one of the lowest completion rates of any CCI4* in recent history. Rebecca and her Riddle Master, as well as Clark and Loughan Glen, were among those for whom the finish flags hovered just out reach.

Fast forward a year and both pairs are back at it, with their super-talented horses in top form and nestled in the top 15 of a world-class field heading into cross-country tomorrow.

We caught up with Rebecca after her test, which scored a 42.5 for 15th place:

Best of luck to Rebecca and Rupert tomorrow!

Chinch power!

Clear eyes, full hearts, Chinch power, can’t lose.

Check back soon for our post-dressage interview with Clark, who is in 9th on a 37.1.

Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entry List] [Schedule] [Leaderboard]

Say Hallo to Chinchwürst, Chinch’s Alcoholic German Uncle

There’s only one true Chinch, you know, and with Great Meadow and Luhmühlen taking place the same week we felt torn about where to send him. The last time Chinch got double-booked we called up Hedge, Chinch’s British cousin, to represent EN at Badminton…

hedgehog

… and since that turned out so well, we asked him if he had any family in Germany.

“Well, I’ve got this uncle, but… hey, who’s in the mood for a dust bath?” he replied, clearly trying to dodge the question.

We were desperate, though, and the idea of a chinchilla in lederhosen made us giggle. So we made arrangements for the furry foreign correspondent to meet us at the event on spec.

It may have been a mistake.

Meet Chinchwürst, Chinch’s alcoholic German uncle.

chiinch

Guten tag. *Hiccup*

A few of our initial observations:

photo(1)

He’s a party animal.

photo(5)

He calls us his “designated driver” and insists upon being carted around in a beer box.

photo(6)

Sometimes he wears a wine cork as a hat.

photo

This is his bed.

photo(4)

He and his drinking buddies don’t always see eye to eye.

photo(2)

Dressage drives him to drink. (Actually, we’re with you on that one, Chinchwürst.)

photo(3)

He’s been known to pass out anywhere.

Keep up with both Chinch and Chinchwürst’s adventures this week on Instagram @goeventing!