Luhmühlen Day 1: Boyd Martin Ties for CCI4* Lead, Liz Halliday-Sharp in 8th

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 sit tied for equal first place with Great Britain’s Kitty King and Ceylor LAN at the conclusion of the first day of CCI4* dressage here at Turniergesellschaft Luhmühlen in Germany.

Shamwari 4 last competed at Luhmühlen in 2014, when Boyd piloted him to a strong third-place finish, so the pressure was on today to nail the first phase. Boyd and “Shammie,” a 16-year-old Hanoverian (Star Regent xx X Donnice, by Der Clou) owned by the Shamwari 4 Syndicate, checked that box in a big way to deliver a personal best score at CCI4* level.

“He’s one of the most talented horses I’ve ever had, and I’ve never had a perfect test on him,” Boyd said. “Today was the closest I’ve ever been. I usually lose him in the canter, but today I had good control and balance.”

Shamwari 4 last competed in a CCI4* at Kentucky in 2016, and he’s had a quiet couple of seasons in the lead-up to this event, with only a handful of steady CIC2* runs on his record since.

“I’ve got absolute complete belief in this horse. I’ve never felt like I had the result at a competition that matched his ability. He’s one of the best cross country horses I’ve ever ridden. Every jump I’ve pointed him at since we’ve been together, he’s jumped,” Boyd said.

“I felt like coming into this I didn’t need to test him at big courses to remind him that we can do it. I’m riding on a personal belief, and I believe he’s in the best shape of his career. He’s happier and healthier than he’s ever been. I’ve also got a good schooling course at home, and I’ve built some tricky questions there.”

Kitty King and Ceylor LAN. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Like Boyd and Shamwari 4, Kitty King and Ceylor LAN are also returning to the CCI4* level for the first time since 2016. “Sprout,” an 11-year-old KWPN (Veron X Winanda LAN, by Ahorn) owned by Diane Bown, Jacqueline Owen and Samantha Wilson, last competed in a CCI4* at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He sustained a neck injury in a fall prior to Badminton last year and only just returned to competing in March.

“He tried really, really hard and really concentrated on me and went as well as he can for how he is at the moment,” Kitty said. “It’s lovely to be in such a good position at the end of day one, but there are a a lot of good horses to come tomorrow.”

Italy’s Vittoria Panizzon and Chequers Play The Game, a 14-year-old KWPN (Stravinsky X Mirakel, by Lancer II) owned by Amy and Patricia Lambert, scored 28.1 to sit in third place in the horse’s CCI4* debut.

“Only one of the flying changes didn’t quite turn out as planned, but the rest was brilliant,” Vittoria said. “He has a fabulous walk, which earned us three nines from the judges — definitely something to be proud of!”

Vittoria Panizzon and Chequers Play the Game. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z, our other American combination in the CCI4*, scored 29.8 to sit in eighth place. “Niro,” a 10-year-old KWPN (Zapatero VDL X Zonne-Trend, by French Buffet xx) owned by the Deniro Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties, is contesting his first CCI4*.

“He is still very green, but he was very professional in the ring and very grown up,” Liz said. “I thought he tried his guts out.”

The flying changes are still a work in progress with this horse, and he delivered two clean changes out of four, which Liz is definitely considering a step in the right direction.

“There are some areas of the test that need tidying up. The changes will take time. Some horses learn them very fast, and some take a long time. It’s a process,” Liz said.

“We came here knowing we weren’t at our perfected test, but I was thrilled with everything else. We’ve worked very hard on his halts, and he nailed all of that. He’s a super horse, and we have a special partnership.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Click here to view final scores after the first day of CCI4* dressage. We have a number of heavy-hitting combinations set to come tomorrow, so prepare yourselves for a major leaderboard shake-up.

Here’s your cheat sheet for the key pairs to watch on the live stream tomorrow:

  • Laura Collett and Mr. Bass: 1:42 p.m./7:42 a.m. EST
  • Tim Lips and Bayro: 1:57 p.m./7:57 a.m. EST
  • Emma McNab and Fernhill Tabasco: 2:12 p.m./8:12 a.m. EST
  • Nicola Wilson and Bulana: 3:17 p.m./9:17 a.m. EST
  • Ros Canter and Zenshera: 3:25 p.m./9:25 a.m. EST
  • Shane Rose and CP Qualified: 3:40 p.m./9:40 a.m. EST
  • Pippa Funnell and Billy Beware: 4:02 p.m./10:02 a.m. EST
  • Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo: 4:10 p.m./10:10 a.m. EST
  • Tina Cook and Billy The Red: 4:40 p.m./10:40 a.m. EST

Woods Baughman and Maverick McNamara. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dressage also continues tomorrow in the Meßmer Trophy CIC3*, which serves as the German National Championship. We have one American combination competing in the CIC3* in Woods Baughman and Maverick McNamara, who scored 35.4 to sit just outside the top 20. Click here to read EN’s full interview with Woods, who is based in Germany for the year training with Dirk Schrade.

We will also have a full preview of Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross country to bring you tomorrow, packed with plenty of quotes and analysis from the riders. Click here to take a sneak peek at all the fences, plus commentary from Mike, thanks to our good friends at CrossCountry App.

The second day of dressage starts tomorrow, with the CIC3* going from 9 a.m.-12:25 p.m./3 a.m.-6:25 a.m. EST, followed by the CCI4* from 1:15-4:50 p.m./7:15-10:50 a.m. EST. Click here to watch all the action live.

Keep it locked on EN for wall-to-wall coverage from Luhmühlen. Go Eventing.

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