A Massive Year for Luhmühlen: World Top 10 Eventers Weigh In

2019 promises to be an electric year in the storied history of Luhmühlen. In addition to its annual CCI5*-L competition, Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials (June 13-16), the German eventing venue will play host to the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships a couple months later (Aug. 28 – Sept. 1).

In over six decades running, Luhmühlen has hosted five European Championships (1975, 1979, 1987, 1999 and 2011) and one World Championship (1982). All eyes are on this year for another double serving of world-class eventing action, with preparations already underway.

Here’s what a few of the world’s top ranked eventers have to say about the sport, the venue and their plans for the year:

Oliver Townend – World No. 1
What makes eventing so special as a sport?
The horses — they are the ultimate all round athletes.
Are you planning to compete at Luhmühlen this year?
I’m planning to come and aiming for the CCI5*-L, not sure about the horses yet.
What’s the first memory that comes to your mind when you think of Luhmühlen?
Black Tie, as he loved it there and went so well – and the fantastic working arenas.

Ros Canter and Zenshera, 3rd place finishers at Luhmühlen 2018. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ros Canter – World No. 2, reigning World Champion
What makes eventing so special as a sport?
The relationship that your whole team gets with the horses, and learning all about the different personalities of the horses we get to ride. The feeling of pride and achievement when it goes well.
Obviously you won’t be competing at Luhmühlen (Ros is pregnant) this year, but are you planning to return next year?
Yes I would love to return again with Zenshera as it is his favourite event!
What’s the first memory that comes to your mind when you think of Luhmühlen?
Feeling very proud in the lap of honour of Zenshera for jumping a clear round in the show jumping last year to finish 3rd, and the lovely atmosphere that the crowd created.

Tim Price – World No. 3
What makes eventing so special as a sport?
Partnership. The leading horses and riders have to demonstrate an incredibly broad range of skills. To do this successfully and consistently means the partnership is a real one.
Are you planning to ride Luhmühlen this year?
I am planning to bring two horses to Luhmühlen this year — Ascona is aiming for the CCI5*-L and Falco is aiming for the CCI4*-S.
What’s the first memory that comes to your mind when you think of Luhmühlen?
I came on foot to support my then girlfriend (and now wife!) Jonelle in 2006. It was my first experience of German hospitality, plus it
was very hot that year, so the beer tasted very good!
The focus has often been on the rivalry between you and Jonelle, but how much do you actually support and rely on each other?
We are each other’s biggest drivers at the end of it all, pushing each other every day to improve. Without Jonelle I would not be where I am.

Michael Jung and Star Connection at Luhmühlen 2017. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Michael Jung – World No. 4
What makes eventing so special as a sport?
The versatility is absolutely fascinating. It‘s such a challenge to train a horse for the three phases, so for me that’s part of the excitement. And obviously the cross country phase: the feeling of complete happiness after a great cross country round outshines every dressage or show jumping achievement.
Are you planning to ride at Luhmühlen this year?
Yes, I’m planning to ride the CCI5*-L and the CCI4*-S but at this stage I’m not sure which horse will compete in which class.
What’s the first memory that comes to your mind when you think of Luhmühlen?
There are many great eventing competitions but Luhmühlen and Kentucky are the only ones with perfect dressage and show jumping conditions for the horses. There are so many great memories, for example my first four-star win or winning at the European Championships in 2011. But an absolute highlight was competing in my first two-star at Luhmühlen with Sam many years ago. At the time I was still quite inexperienced, so it was a tremendous experience.

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jonelle Price – World No. 7
What makes eventing so special as a sport?
There is nothing else in the world quite like it. It requires elegance, adrenalin, intensity, endurance, stamina, skill, heart, determination…
Are you planning to ride Luhmühlen this year?
Sadly I am not planning to ride there this year.
What’s the first thing memory that comes to your mind when you think of Luhmühlen?
Winning last year!
The focus has often been on the rivalry between you and Tim, but how much do you actually support and rely on each other?
Eventing is one of very few sports in the world where men and woman compete on equal terms so it’s very unusual to have a married couple compete on the world stage against each other. So the rivalry factor is regularly at the forefront but behind the scenes we very much work as one unit. Whether it be planning, eyes on the ground, asking for some advice — we’ re constantly feeding off of one another.

Piggy French – World No. 8
What makes eventing so special as a sport?
Eventing is the ultimate test of the horse and rider partnership so you really need a mutual trust and understanding to be successful. This makes for a really special relationship with the horses to get the best from them across three different disciplines.
Are you planning to ride Luhmühlen this year?
Hopefully I will be selected to represent Team GB at the Europeans in 2019.
What’s the first memory that comes to your mind when you think of Luhmühlen?
I’ve been to Luhmühlen three times before and it’s been a good but not quite lucky place for me so far! I was leading the 4* on Flying Machine after cross country in 2011 but had fences down in the show jumping to finish 4th. I then won Team Bronze with Jakata at the Europeans in 2011, and finally had a really frustrating 50 penalties for a missed flag with Quarrycrest Echo in the 4* in 2018. I hope that one day I can come back to win the CCI5*-L!

Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada JS, winners of Luhmühlen 2015. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Ingrid Klimke – World No. 9
What makes eventing so special as a sport?
The partnership and the trust between rider and horse is at its best in the cross country phase, training in nature and the wonderful competitions.
Are you planning to ride at Luhmühlen this year?
Yes, I’m planning to ride Asha P CCI4*-S in June and SAP Hale Bob OLD at the European Championships in August.
What’s the first memory that comes to your mind when you think of Luhmühlen?
For me, Luhmühlen is an outstanding event where riders and horses can compete in a terrific atmosphere. I used to love coming to the cross country day as a child. Watching Lucinda Prior-Palmer win the European Championships was extremely impressive.

Learn more at the website here.

[Top-Ten in Luhmühlen’s Focus]

Comments