The spring season’s next CCI4* is quickly approaching as entries closed this week for Luhmühlen in Germany. We’ll have two American riders representing this year: Libby Head with Sir Rockstar and Clark Montgomery with Loughan Glen, plus Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master making their triumphant return to the four-star level for Team Canada.
A glance at the list of entries is enough to make us impatient to see the action get underway, and an updated cross country course from designer Capt. Mark Phillips will give riders a new feel from years past.
While entries will certainly withdraw before the ride times go up, there is plenty of star power on display at the moment. Newly crowned Rolex Kentucky champion Michael Jung is, naturally, entered, this time with Halunke FBW. An 11-year-old Württemberg gelding, Halunke FBW began his career with Michael in 2011. This will be his first CCI4* start, but he’s coming off a win in the CIC3* at Marbach in May. Plus, he’s got Michael Jung in the irons — enough said.
Michael’s Rolex entries, La Biosthetique Sam and fischerRocana FST are also on the list, however we can safely presume that this entry was a back-up in case he needed to re-route from Kentucky. Don’t tell Sam and Rocana that, though, I’m sure they could easily go around again.
With this being Germany’s home CCI4*, there are plenty of entries on the list from the host country. Ingrid Klimke has two entries: Zilia D and FRH Escada JS, and other German heavy hitters such as Andreas Dibowski, Andreas Ostholt and Dirk Schrade will also be riding.
In another highlight of the weekend, Andreas Dibowski’s veteran partner, FRH Butts Leon, will be retired in a special ceremony during this year’s event.
As for the American contingent, Libby Head will be contesting her second CCI4* with her OTTB gelding, Sir Rockstar. Libby won the Essex Grant at the 2014 USEA Annual Meeting, the funds for which she will be using to offset some of the cost of competing overseas. Libby had attempted to travel abroad last year, but she was unable to meet her fundraising goal to make the trip possible. This year, however, she’s flying high and hopes to have a competitive weekend in Germany.
Clark Montgomery received a USEF Land Rover Competition Grant to compete with Loughan Glen this year. This will be Glen’s first CCI4* since he won the dressage at Badminton in 2014 and subsequently retired on the no-mercy cross country course. Look for this pair to be at or very near the top of the pack after the first phase of competition.
Along with the rest of the star-studded lineup, 2014 winner Tim Price is also entered for New Zealand, fresh off of a second place finish at his first Rolex with Wesko and a 15th place finish at Badminton with Ringwood Sky Boy. He’ll be riding the 9-year-old Bango in his CCI4* debut after most recently completing the CIC3* at Belton in April.
Capt. Mark Phillips recently spoke in a press release about his vision for this year’s course. “It is a completely new approach,” he said. “The DHL Water Complex doesn’t come up so early in the course, giving the horses and riders a better chance to warm up and get into the rhythm. Furthermore, we have increased the use of frangible devices approved by the FEI and are going to use the English Frangible Pin and the Swedish MIM systems. If a system triggers, it will be fined with eleven penalty points.
“Essentially, I think the penalizing makes sense – for the most important safety aspect is the riders’ respect for the jumps. Therefore we are always trying to find the balance between forgiving fences and tasks that are taken seriously by the riders.”
We’re excited to see how this year’s Luhmühlen shakes out, and we’ll have Wylie on the ground for EN to bring us all of the up to date action. Stay tuned for much more from Germany, as the action kicks off on June 18.