After cross country turned the leaderboard upside down at Aachen CHIO, Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk FRH could afford to be 17 seconds over the optimum time and still take the CICO3* win. She crossed the finish with 1 second to spare in front of a packed stadium of cheering German fans, adding 6.4 time penalties to clinch the wire-to-wire victory on a final score of 26.1.
It was a rollercoaster day for Julia, who also sat in second after show jumping with Samourai du Thot but was eliminated on refusals at fence 16A, the triple brush that ultimately emerged as the most influential fence on Rüdiger Schwarz’s course.
Julia had to put that disappointing outcome behind her before setting out on course with Chipmunk FRH, a 10-year-old Hanoverian (Contendro I X Havanna, by Heraldik I) owned by Dr. Hilmer Meyer-Kulenkampff.
“Obviously my round with Samourai du Thot didn’t go to plan. Maybe I could have ridden better or the horse could have jumped on the second attempt — it didn’t work out,” Julia said. “I am absolutely thrilled with how Chipmunk answered all the questions. He is still a young horse and going so quick over such an intense course is very difficult.”
The optimum time of 7 minutes proved nearly impossible to catch, with only Australia’s Chris Burton and Quality Purdey besting the clock. The 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quality X Lara, by Leonid) owned by Claire Pool crossed the finished 1 second inside the time, moving up from fifth to finish second on 26.7.
While a German rider took the individual win for a fifth consecutive year, Antipodeans dominated as a whole on cross country day. New Zealand’s Tim Price and Joanne Pullan’s Cekatinka, a 12-year-old KWPN mare (King Kolibri X Katinka, by Julio Mariner xx), jumped clear with 2.8 time penalties to scoot up from eighth to third on 30.3.
Australia’s Andrew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos delivered the second fastest round of the day, crossing the finish with 1.2 time penalties and moving up from 23rd after dressage to finish fourth on 31.7. Sammi Birch and Hunter Valley II also delivered an impressive round for Australia, jumping clear with 4 time penalties to finish just outside the top five on 36.5.
New Zealand finished a second rider inside the top five in Clark Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation, who jumped clear with 6.4 time penalties to place fifth on 33.5. Mark Todd and Kiltubrid Rhapsody also jumped clear with 11.2 time penalties to finish 13th on 49.1. With three counting scores in the top 15, New Zealand topped the team standings on a final score of 112.9.
While Germany started the day at the top of the team leaderboard, jumping and time penalties ultimately stymied their chance for victory. In addition to Samourai du Thot’s elimination, defending winner Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD picked up 20 jumping penalties at fence 16A to end Germany’s bid.
We saw a 68% clear jumping rate on what proved to be a very influential cross country day. Only three of the riders who sat inside the top 10 after show jumping ultimately finished the competition in the top 10. France and Sweden delivered clear rounds with three of their four team riders to finish second and third, respectively, on team scores of 130.5 and 146.3. The U.S. sat seventh after show jumping yesterday and ultimately finished fourth on a team score of 189.1.
Two of our four American riders jumped clear cross country rounds. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Diamond Roller X Whos Diaz, by Osilvis) owned by the Cross Syndicate, jumped clear with 17.2 time penalties to finish 21st on 54.7 as the highest placed American pair.
“This is a very different cross country course. It is not your typical CIC3* course you think of when you think of a Nations Cup. Lauren (Kieffer) described it as a a 7-minute four-star, and I completely agree. It was serious in a lot of ways — not that it was gargantuan big, but every question was a real question. There weren’t any places where you could scrape by,” Kim said.
“I think Cross answered a big question today. He was 100% on his game. I went as fast as I thought I could. I needed to settle him a little bit in the beginning, but he got faster and faster. That’s how he goes on cross country — the longer he goes the faster he gets. After the second water he just took off.”
Buck Davidson and Carlevo, an 11-year-old Holsteiner (Caresino X Ramatuelle, by Levernois) owned by Carlevo LLC, jumped clear with 18.8 time penalties to move up 10 spots on the leaderboard after show jumping and finish 33rd on 60.8.
“He had to fight a bit. I think for his career the clear was big. We were definitely short of gallops coming here,” Buck said. “I’ve been to a lot of events in my life, and this is like no other event I’ve ever been to. In some ways it’s harder than a four-star. The sheer size isn’t there, but the level of accuracy and the intensity is there, and you only have 7 minutes to do it instead of 11 minutes.”
Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo filled the pathfinder role for the team. “Patrick,” a 12-year-old Irish/Thoroughbred cross (Formula One X Glamour) owned by Jacqueline Mars, lost a shoe just before the second water complex and slipped on his approach to the brush at fence 20. An unfortunate runout there plus 14.4 time penalties put them in 26th place on a final score of 73.6.
“In hindsight I could’ve hooked left more and not taken such a sharp turn to the brush,” Lauren said. “The only way you can keep getting better is to keep coming over here and keep taking a crack at it. A lot of experienced horses and riders have problems here every year. We’re going to make mistakes, but everyone would rather make a mistake going for the win than make a mistake playing it too safe.”
Will Coleman and OBOS O’Reilly, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse (OBOS Quality X Omard Clover Queen, by Clover Hill) owned by the Four Star Eventing Group, unfortunately did not complete, with jumping penalties at the second angled brush at 13B and triple brush at 16A resulting in elimination.
“I thought I had my line (to the angled brush), and I tried like hell to hold him on that line. He just ran out, and then he got it in his head to keep doing it,” Will said. “We knew coming in that the preparation for this wasn’t really ideal with all the traveling he’s been doing, but it was a huge opportunity for us to come to Aachen. We are disappointed it didn’t go better, but I’m glad to have seen this venue now. It will serve us hugely in the future.”
Looking to the rest of the team standings, Germany finished fifth on 206.6. Great Britain finished sixth on 219.5. Australia did not complete their team due to Christine Bates withdrawing prior to cross country and Rob Palm’s elimination in dressage yesterday. Click here to view the final team standings. Click here to view final individual scores.
We have much more analysis to bring you on the U.S. team’s performance at Aachen, included an in-depth interview with Erik Duvander, U.S. Performance Director for Eventing. “The goal for us in this space was to give the riders that experience — going fast, under pressure, on a team and being able to manage that,” he said. “Either you are learning or you are winning, and we weren’t winning today, so it comes down to learning.”
Stay tuned as we unpack a wild weekend here in Germany. Go Eventing.