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Good….evening? Morning, technically? I’m not really sure, but what I do know is that life as an equestrian journalist often involves a whole lot of weird working hours. It’s about midnight here in California and I’ve got my Nespresso machine all queued up to keep me on a steady drip (my night-loving days are far behind me, I’m afraid) and I’m ready to report for duty to bring you live updates from the Aachen action!
If you need a quick catch-up on what you’ve missed, you can catch Tilly’s report from Friday’s action here. Currently Team USA, consisting of Will Coleman and Off the Record, Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire, Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan and Tamie Smith and Mai Baum, sits in second position on a team score of 98.1 in the FEI Nations Cup competition. Great Britain leads the way on a penalty mark of 91.6, so it very much remains anyone’s game as we head into cross country. Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus are competing as individuals.
Our U.S. riders’ times are as follows:
Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire: 9:50 a.m. local / 3:50 a.m. EST – CLEAR, 10.8 time
Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan: 10:06 a.m. local / 4:06 a.m. EST – CLEAR, 10.4 time
Tamie Smith and Mai Baum: 10:46 a.m. local / 4:46 a.m. EST – CLEAR, 7.2. time
Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus: 11:10 a.m. local / 5:10 a.m. EST – CLEAR, 11.2 time
Will Coleman and Off the Record: 12:10 p.m. local / 6:10 a.m. EST – CLEAR, .8 time
The full order of go and start list can be found here.
Rüdiger Schwarz is the course designer this weekend, and while I haven’t quite found an official course preview, you can sort of get a sense of what we’ll be seeing in this quick walkthrough with Team USA:
If you’re awake and want to watch the action live, you can sign up for ClipMyHorse.TV, which has a month-long free trial if you’re not already a member. The cool thing about CMH.TV is that phases are rather quickly put up on Archive (available to Premium members, which is what you’ll get with your free trial), and the Archive is also sorted by horse if you want to find individual rides. If a horse has done other shows filmed by CMH, those rides will also show up on that horse’s Archive page. Pretty nifty, especially if you like stalking
Mai Baum your favorite horses and riders (trust me, no judgement here — I’ve literally made a whole career out of it, somehow). You can find the whole Aachen schedule here. There is a version of the live stream available with English commentary if you just scroll down from the main Aachen hub, past the press conferences section.
In the meantime, sit back and prepare to hit the Refresh button madly (or, if you’re waking up at a more decent hour, use this to catch up before you watch the replay!) as I’ll be updating you periodically right here.
6:37 a.m. ET: Well that was quick! Tilly will be along later with the full debrief from Aachen — in the meantime, bust out the champagne! Well, maybe not for me. But maybe. It is the weekend, after all.
6:35 a.m. ET: Will becomes the very first American rider to win Aachen. “I’m overcome, I really don’t know what to say,” Will says in his post-ride interview alongside Tokyo champion Julia Krajewski.
6:27 a.m. ET: And here’s a look at your final finishing scores. We’ve got Tamie Smith in 10th with Mai Baum, Ariel and Leamore Master Plan in 16th, Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire in 27th and Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus in 52.4. What a great day!
6:26 a.m. ET: Team USA finishes just BARELY in second position on the podium. What a BANNER day for the U.S.!
6:25 a.m. ET: Will Coleman will WIN Aachen!! Unfortunately Kirsty has a runout at the corner at 22B, leaving Will alone at the top of the board. Excuse my French, but holy shit!
6:24 a.m. ET: Kirsty is a bit up on the clock and is really hustling to get home. She has two seconds in hand. She’s living just a bit dangerously at these last questions but the horse is responding beautifully to her urging.
6:21 a.m. ET: Laura is not going to make the time with Dacapo, which leaves Kirsty as the only one who can unseat Will for the win. My hands are sweating.
6:20 a.m. ET: I just can’t.
6:18 a.m. ET: Will takes the lead!!! He is the fastest of the day with two seconds of time, putting him onto a 30.5. There are two riders who could take over, and our leaders Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI are on course. It’s going to be a thriller!
6:16 a.m. ET: Will is close!! He might be the closest so far to making the time as he heads into the main arena.
6:15 a.m. ET: We glimpse Will giving Off the Record a great ride through the angled brushes at 18. Let’s goooooo!
6:14 a.m. ET: Laura Collett is away with her second ride, Dacapo, who is currently in second on a score of 29.5.
6:13 a.m. ET: Emilie takes the clubhouse lead with 4 time penalties and a final score of 33.9! Meanwhile, Will is clear through fence 16.
6:13 a.m. ET: Emilie is also going to be close to the time as she approaches the final water in the main arena with about 10 seconds left on the clock.
6:11 a.m. ET: And Will is away with Off the Record! Will has a very strong chance here, coming forward after turning in one of the three double clear show jumping efforts on a score of 29.7. He’s clear through the gate question at fence 6 (I think. Don’t quote me on that).
6:10 a.m. ET: Well despite a couple of long routes, Yoshi picks up just eight time for a 38.0 with Calle 44. He’ll finish the weekend in the top 10, no worse than eighth.
6:08 a.m. ET: Yoshi takes the long route at the water at 22 with Calle 44 and are now headed for the main arena.
6:06 a.m. ET: And here we go with British rider Emilie Chandler and Gortfadda Diamond, who are currently in fourth position on a 29.9. Will Coleman and Off the Record will be our next to see!
6:05 a.m. ET: Andreas Ostholt and Corvette 31 are home with 14 seconds of time for a final score of 37.2.
6:03 a.m. ET: Now setting off are Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa, another who made the trip to represent his home country at the Olympics this summer, with Calle 44. This pair had a really unfortunate parting of ways at Tokyo but were no worse for the wear and will look to be competitive here, coming in on a score of 30.0.
6:01 a.m. ET: Damn! Aisprit de la Loge just hangs a leg at the penultimate water, pitching Greg over the head into the water. This is, surprisingly, our first fall of the day. Bummer! They were having a brilliant go. A couple horses have hung a leg at that second cabin, this is the first one to actually pitch the rider all the way out.
5:59 a.m. ET: Now joining us on course are German’s Andreas Ostholt and Corvette 31, currently on a score of 31.6. France’s Gireg Le Coz and Aisprit de la Loge are also on course and clear through fence 20.
5:57 a.m. ET: Sophie Leube is home in a time of 7:07 to finish the weekend on a score of 38.5. Here’s a look at the cool misting fans set up in the vet box:
5:54 a.m. ET: Team New Zealand looks on as Tim navigates the track:
5:54 a.m. ET: Ah, not quite! But Tim is still quick, he’s just got 4.4 time to add for a finishing score of 37.4. A lovely type, this Falco horse!
5:53 a.m. ET: Tim is going to be very close to the time, can he do it??
5:52 a.m. ET: A look at Tim through the big, turning open oxer question at 13:
5:51 a.m. ET: We’re now joined by Germany’s Sophie Leube and Jadore Moi, who won the dressage but had a couple of unfortunate penalties in last night’s show jumping. They’re on a two-phase score of 31.9 so could still be quite competitive here with a fast clear.
5:48 a.m. ET: Tim is neatly through the Rolex Grand Slam water at 8, where Jonelle had her earlier issue with McClaren.
5:47 a.m. ET: And Tim is away with Falco! This pair comes forward on a two-phase score of 33.0 and tenth place, having had one unlucky and uncharacteristic rail down yesterday.
5:44 a.m. ET: A look at current team standings as we near the finish:
5:42 a.m. ET: Lara is nicely home with Cascaria V, who will finish the weekend on a score of 53.9. We have just a bit of a gap now as Kevin McNab was due up next, so we’ll see Tim Price and Falco out next in just a moment. We’re six away from Will and Off the Record.
5:38 a.m. ET: Linda Algotsson is home with 16.4 time for a final score of 67.5. We’re nearly to final nine horses to see, which will include the final team rider for Team USA, Will Coleman and Off the Record. Kevin McNab posted on his social media last night that he’s withdrawn both of his rides.
5:35 a.m. ET:
5:32 a.m. ET: Tayla Mason looks really pleased as she finishes with just 4.4 time for a final score of 43.1. Meanwhile, Romain Sans is living a bit dangerously, getting away with one at the at 22, but he’s now home and also one of the quickest with a total time of 6:58. He finishes on a score of 47.3. We’re also now joined by Sweden’s Linda Algotsson and Fair Spot, who are clear through 14. Belgium’s Lara de Liedekerke-Meier, also a Tokyo Olympian, is also on course with Cascaria V.
5:26 a.m. ET: Kazuma is home with about 18 seconds of time, finishing the week on a score of 42.3. We’ll next see French rider Romain Sans and Unetoile de la Serre, on a two-phase score of 45.3, out on course.
5:24 a.m. ET: New Zealand’s Tayla Mason has to really urge Centennial to drop into the first water; he takes a good peek but they’re through. We also see Kazuma making their way towards home with about 30 seconds. He’ll have some time as well.
5:22 a.m. ET: Japanese Olympian Kazuma Tomoto is on course now with Bernadette Utopia — who I absolutely just adore, by the way.
5:22 a.m. ET:
5:19 a.m. ET: A look at Lauren through this funky bank-to-owl-hole question:
5:18 a.m. ET: And Lauren is home with a time of 7:21 and 11.2 time! This puts her and Vermiculus on a final score of 52.4. What a great day for our U.S. riders — come on Will, bring us home!
5:17 a.m. ET: Lauren is into the main arena and very nearly home!
5:15 a.m. ET: Bug slips just a hair in the rather tight turn from big oxer to big oxer (unsure which fence number, so I’m not going to try to incorrectly guess!) but he’s clear through 18 now.
5:12 a.m. ET: Lauren is neatly through the Rolex Grand Slam water at 8, Bug looking keen as ever.
5:10 a.m. ET: Malin has a fabulous finish and will be the quickest of the day on 7 minutes flat. We now welcome Lauren and Vermiculus to the course! Go Bug go!
5:06 a.m. ET: Jérôme stops the clock at 7:08, another quicker round for this pair who will finish the week on a score of 47.6. We also have Germany’s Malin Hansen-Hotopp and Carlitos Quidditch L (I love a good Harry Potter name!), on a two-phase score of 38.5. We’ll shortly see Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus, our U.S. individual pair, out on course. Ireland’s Alex Donahoe and Kilcandra Bonnie Reward, on a score of 52.9, are also on course.
5:05 a.m. ET:
5:02 a.m. ET: Oof! Amsterdam 21 lands down on his knees into the final water, but Jesse picks him up and they will finish with 10 time penalties and a final score of 51.6. We’re also now joined by Germany’s Jérôme Robiné and Black Ice, on a score of 41.6 after the first two phases.
5:01 a.m. ET: Looks like Jesse’s been given the all-clear so far at that corner. Also a sticky moment at the double brushes later on but he does a good job to navigate through clear. They’re into the main arena now and heading to the final water question.
4:58 a.m. ET: Thomas stops the clock on a time of 7:11 while we see our second New Zealand rider, another Tokyo Olympian in Jesse Campbell with Amsterdam 21. They have a very hairy moment at the corner 13B and the live scores literally just say “???” on the penalty mark for that fence. Here’s a look:
4:55 a.m. ET: I missed it on the live feed (or it wasn’t shown), but Thomas Carlile had a great save at the owl hole. They’re clear through fence 20.
4:54 a.m. ET: And Tamie is the quickest of the Americans so far, picking up 7.2 time penalties in a time of 7:11 to finish on a score of 40.4. Mai Baum looked incredibly focused the whole way around, what a star.
4:53 a.m. ET: Tamie and Mai Baum are into the main arena! They’ll also have some time, but again not a ton.
4:52 a.m. ET: A look at a flying Lexus:
4:52 a.m. ET: French rider Thomas Carlile and the beautiful Birmane are our next on course.
4:50 a.m. ET: Tamie is clear through 13. Zara stops the clock with 6 time penalties added for a final score of 46.1. We’re seeing riders getting consistently closer to the time now. Mai Baum has a big jump up the bank heading to the owl hole at…I’m not actually sure which number, but scoring now shows them clear through 18. I hope I’ve been getting the fence numbers right and apologize if I’m not as it’s a bit hard to do it without a proper map!
4:49 a.m. ET: Zara and Class Affair are pretty quick as they head into the main arena. She’s also been very quick and efficient across the ground today.
4:48 a.m. ET: Tamie and “Lexus” navigate the upright rails at 6 and now come to the first water.
4:45 a.m. ET: Cathal picks up just 2.8 time to finish on a score of 41.7 with the very quick Rioghan Rua. A testament to a rider’s ability to ride their horse on a track like this — Cathal really barely has to even touch the mare to adjust her and this efficiency was well-rewarded on a winding track such as this one. We will next see Tamie and Mai Baum out of the box — and they’re away!
4:42 a.m. ET: British rider Zara Tindall now sets off with Class Affair, who is on a score of 40.1. Cathal Daniels is clear through the double brushes at 18 with Rioghan Rua.
4:42 a.m. ET: Jonelle is really having to give McClaren a strong ride today, as he’s just looked a bit peaky or backed off in places. She’s nearly home though, navigating the final water in the main arena.
4:41 a.m. ET: Pats for Siena Just Do It:
4:38 a.m. ET: Ingrid gives Siena Just Do It big pats as they cross the finish with that one stop and 14 time. Ireland’s Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua, who were sent to Tokyo but withdrew from competition, are now on course on a score of 38.9. We’re just a couple away from our next U.S. rider, Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Meanwhile, we get a glimpse of Ingrid, who’s still trotting out Siena’s Just Do It to lower her heart rate and cool her down. Always have to love her horsemanship.
4:36 a.m. ET: Bummer — McClaren says no at the second brush out of the water at fence 8, electing to go out the left-hand door instead. They’re clear on the second attempt as Ingrid comes into the main arena to finish up.
4:35 a.m. ET:
4:34 a.m. ET: Regrouping quickly, Ingrid now has a gorgeous ride through the questions at 13, 14 and 15. We now welcome New Zealand’s Jonelle Price and former Mark Todd ride McClaren, who are currently on a two-phase score of 33.4.
4:32 a.m. ET: Oh no! Ingrid and Equistro’s Siena Just Do It pick up the first runout of the day, ducking to the right at the second brush in the water at 8A. Bummer.
4:32 a.m. ET: A cute moment between Joseph Murphy and Calmaro:
4:30 a.m. ET: Well no surprise here, Laura slots into the clubhouse lead after a very efficient ride aboard Mr Bass on a score of 36.2. A time of 7:03 for this pair as we see Germany’s Ingrid Klimke and Equistro’s Siena Just Do It, who are on a score of 38.7 for 18th place after two.
4:28 a.m. ET: A look at the cool SAP Live Tracking:
4:26 a.m. ET: A lovely round from Joseph Murphy and Calmaro, who have gotten the closest to the time and the only pair under seven minutes with a finishing time of 6:56. That’s just 1.2 time penalties to add for a three-phase score of 46.1. Meanwhile, Laura and Mr. Bass are clear through 15.
4:23 a.m. ET: And we’re now joined by a Tokyo gold medalist, Laura Collett and Mr. Bass, who come in on a score of 32.2 and seventh place after two phases.
4:21 a.m. ET: Madison Crowe is setting a fiery pace, only about 15 seconds down as she comes into the main arena. There is still a good amount of jumping to do in the arena, complete with a water jump and a narrow brush arrowhead question on a related distance to really test your riding in the final seconds. Madison comes home 14 seconds over to collect 5.6 time penalties. She is the second fastest of the day and will finish on a score of 40.5.
4:18 a.m. ET: Camille Lejeune and Noreway Harry are home in a time of 7:18 — it’ll be really exciting to see who, if anyone, will make the time. Elizabeth Power is the closest by a good bit with her time of 7:05, so I do think it will be doable but those who’ve collected decent amounts of time haven’t been hanging around. Meanwhile, we’ve got New Zealand’s Madison Crowe and Waitangi Pinterest (great name, honestly) as well as Ireland’s Joseph Murphy and Calmaro both on course.
4:14 a.m. ET: And they are home! Ariel stops the clock at 7:19 — excellent work! The horses are looking fabulous at the finish here, lots of positive riding and great finishes so far.
4:13 a.m. ET: Ariel and Leamore Master Plan are into the main arena! Just a few left to go, she will have some time but shouldn’t be a whole ton.
4:11 a.m. ET: Ariel grits her teeth to get Simon safely through the double brushes at 18, just a bit wiggly but clear.
4:10 a.m. ET: Sandra and Rosveel are home 52 seconds over but looking keen and confident at the end! Away we see our second French rider, Camille Lejeune and Noreway Harry.
4:08 a.m. ET: Ariel and “Simon” are neatly through the upright gates question at 8. Sandra has to test her core muscles as Rosveel leaves a leg at 21B, but she’s upright and kicking on!
4:07 a.m. ET: Sandra takes the winding long route at fence 18, avoiding the downhill run to the double brushes. This horse is just an eight-year-old, so perhaps education is the goal here.
4:06 a.m. ET: Man, what an exciting horse for Elizabeth, who at just nine put in a class, expert round. Azure is one to keep an eye on! And we’re off with our next American rider, Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan.
4:06 a.m. ET: A little peek at the track thanks to Tilly:
4:05 a.m. ET: Regis Prud Hon finished in a time of 7:47, and Elizabeth Power comes home in the quickest so far, 7:05.
4:03 a.m. ET: We haven’t seen much of Elizabeth Power, but she reappears now at the double brushes question at fence 18. Meanwhile, Germany’s Sandra Auffarth is away with Rosveel, currently in 35th on a score of 50.5.
4:02 a.m. ET: Sydney finishing strong with QC Diamantaire:
3:59 a.m. ET: Now on is Ireland’s Elizabeth Power and Azure, who were one of just three clear show jumping rounds yesterday. They’re in 13th on a score of 34.6.
3:58 a.m. ET: Heck yeah! Sydney finishes with 10.8 time penalties and CLEAR! What a way to start for team USA! She will finish on a score of 55.4.
3:57 a.m. ET: Sydney is now into the main arena with a few questions left to go!
3:57 a.m. ET: Also on course now is French rider Regis Prud Hon and Tarastro, coming forward in 38th position.
3:55 a.m. ET: Sydney is giving QC Diamantaire an excellent ride after that sticky moment earlier on, and the horse looks to be gaining some confidence as they go.
3:54 a.m. ET: I apologize for the absence of GIFs, I’m still working on it but I’m having a stern discussion with my laptop at the moment. You will definitely want to grab your ClipMyHorse.TV pass to watch the replay, because this course is always just so entertaining to watch. A bucket list event, for sure! Meanwhile, Josephine actually bests Sam’s time with just about 30 seconds accumulated, despite taking that one long route. Sydney is clear through fence 16.
3:51 a.m. ET: QC Diamantaire has a good look at the drop in to the Grand Slam water at fence 8 but Sydney manages her steering well and keeps her leg on.
3:51 a.m. ET: Next out of the box and making her team debut for the U.S. is Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire, who are currently in 27th position on a score of 44.6.
3:47 a.m. ET: Next up will be Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer-Völkel and Pasadena 217, coming forward in 32nd place on a score of 48.4. Sam Watson goes into a score of 81 to finish the weekend.
3:45 a.m. ET: Ballybolger Talisman is looking really keen here as he and Sam get into the arena for the final few questions. They’ll be nearly a minute over the time of 6:53 (51 seconds over to be precise), which will be interesting to watch as he certainly didn’t hang about.
3:44 a.m. ET: Sam is riding really positively, which isn’t an easy task at Aachen. Often described as a “roller coaster” or simply a tight track with a lot of sensory stimulation, this track requires a brave, adjustable, catty horse.
3:42 a.m. ET: Ah, the clip strikes again! Sam and Ballybolger Talisman have the back rail at the corner at 13B and will pick up 11 penalties as a result.
3:40 a.m. ET: Ballybolger Talisman leaves a bit of his left leg hanging at the upright gates at the top of a steep, short hill at fence 8 but Sam sits tight and they navigate through safe.
3:39 a.m. ET: And we are off and running! Ireland’s Sam Watson and Ballybolger Talisman, currently in 34th place, are now on course. The optimum time is 6 minutes, 53 seconds.
3:34 a.m. ET: Ok, I’ve got the app working, which means no GIFs unless I can get it working on my laptop. I’ll keep you posted, but will do text updates for now once we get into full swing.
3:30 a.m. ET: Welp, so far things are off to a grand start…so far, ClipMyHorse.TV is not working for me so bear with me while I try to get it sorted!