Das Ist Gut, Indeed: Team EN Picks Their Movers and Shakers of Luhmühlen 2023

One of our favourite traditions here at EN is putting our pocket change where our mouth is and doing some serious claim-staking on five-star fields. Luhmühlen is no different, and between us, we have all the opinions. Check out our team picks, and then drop your own in the comments!

Emily King and Valmy Biats. Photo by Tilly Berendt.


The CCI5* Winner: Emily King and Valmy Biats 

There’s some names in this field that seem pretty obvious — how can anyone look past Laura Collett and London 52, for example? They’d certainly be the odds-on favourites here, and for good reason, and we’ve got last year’s winners, Felix Vogg and Colero, in the mix, too. But I suspect this will be a week for a five-star win for a rider who’s not yet nabbed one, and I think that rider will be Emily King. She and Valmy Biats have impressed a number of times, including when they finished eighth at Pau last year, and she was one of my riders of the day at Badminton this year when she decided to pull the gelding up because she felt him start to tire, long before any of us on the ground could see even a hint of weariness creeping in. They looked great to that point, and I like to think that the good karma of being a great horseman does come back around at some point. Maybe that point is this week, and we’ll see the next generation of five-star winners in the King family. I’ll certainly be rooting for them — and if they start their week with a score like the 25.5 they got at Pau, I think a lot of folks will be singing the same tune as we go into the weekend.

The Best of the US: Boyd Martin and Fedarman B

Having skim-read some of the team’s predictions after pulling my own list together in my Notes app, I’m not at all surprised to see that this combo is a particularly popular choice. And rightly so: it’s hard not to root for beautiful, blaze-faced Bruno, which also means rooting for the late and much-missed Annie Goodwin, who made him the serious upper-level horse he is. Every time Boyd pulls out a great result on him, he does so in her honour, and I’ve loved seeing Annie’s family and friends rally around her heart horse and her extraordinary legacy. If he wins this week — which he could do, even though it’s a five-star debut, because in his last six FEI runs, he’s never been lower than tenth and he’s won twice — it’ll be one of those fairytale moments that’ll have us all in our feelings. It won’t just be a win for the USA, nor just a win for Boyd — it’ll be a five-star win for Annie, which she so richly deserves.

The Best Brit: Kitty King and Vendredi Biats

Kitty’s had a bit of rubbish luck at her last two five-star runs with Vendredi Biats, but man, they really do have all the right raw material, and sometimes, you just need the winds to blow in your favour a bit. This is one of those partnerships that I really feel just deserve a big result on their record, and I think this is a competition that’ll play in their favour in a big way — especially come Sunday and that historically tough-as-hell showjumping track. This horse is an insanely good jumper, and I, for one, haven’t forgotten the European Championships in 2019, which were held here — and at which they finished best of the Brits in seventh. Go get ’em, Kit Kat.

The Top Mare: Elizabeth Power and Senza Fine

Dark horse alert: Esib and the Italian-bred former ride of Tim Price really could make a great impression here, though. While Senza Fine doesn’t have the most inspiring record at short-format, she really comes into her own on a long-format course, where she’s seriously nippy and very reliable, too. She tends to hover around the 30 mark on the flat, but absolutely can and does go below it, too, and she’s a one-or-none horse on the final day, too. I think this, the mare’s five-star debut, could be their week.

Biggest Climber: Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG

I’ll admit I was a touch surprised to see this pair on the entry list after a successful trip to Badminton, but Commander VG is a tough, scrappy dude of a horse and Aistis is a very good horseman, so I’ll hold my hands up and say that it’s highly unlikely that I know the horse better than he does. What I do know is this: Commander is a climber through and through. Though the first phase isn’t his forte — Aistis picked him up as a young horse from a dressage yard, and his bad experiences there mean that he gets defensive and tricky to ride in the dressage ring — he’s a classic run-and-jump machine, and he loves his job. That should see him make a significant leap up the leaderboard, especially if Saturday proves tough. I also think an honourable mention must go to David Doel and Ferro Point here: they’ll sit on a mid-30s score going into Saturday, where they’ll be seriously classy and quick and zip right up to the business end of proceedings. The final phase can be hit or miss — and the less said, the better about their round here last year, where poor David fell when the saddle slipped right under Ferro Point’s belly — but they can, and have, jumped clear on the final day of a long-format.

The Highest-Placed Rookie (Horse or Rider): Tim Price’s Happy Boy

Every time I see this horse on an entry list I just think of that one TikTok of the tappy-toed little dog and that ear worm of a song that goes with it. I know you know what I mean. But beyond his endless meme-ability, Happy Boy is also one heck of a competitor. At just eleven, he’s already got two CCI3*-L wins and a CCI4*-L win — at Boekelo last year — to his name, and he’s a quick little bugger with some seriously snappy knees. The first phase can go in either direction, really, but on his good days, he’s well into the 20s — and if he can start on a strong note, Tim knows he’s got speed on his side. When it comes to Sunday, he’ll be feeling confident, too — the gelding hasn’t had a rail in an international since running a young horse CCI2*-L at Tattersalls (RIP, you brilliant, boozy event) back in 2019.

The CCI4*-S Winner: Mollie Summerland and Charly van ter Heiden OR Hallie Coon and Cute Girl 

I hereby reserve the right not to choose. Last time Mollie and Charly came to Luhmühlen, the three of us were a mad, sweaty, unbeatable trio and nabbed a five-star, and it was, frankly, really bloody special and great. They should easily lead the first phase and have got everything it takes to follow through in the next two, too. (Oh, and our 5* lucky mascot, Sprinkles the unicorn, has come back to hang out in Chazzle’s stable this week!) But also, Hallie’s one of my best pals, we went pony shopping together and found the horse of a lifetime in Cute Girl, and I genuinely think that this pair has some absolutely massive results in them on the world stage. This will only be Gypsy’s second four-star, but she learned a tonne in her first at Millstreet, she’s looking and feeling great, and Hallie’s a serious competitor. It would surprise me not one jot to see them burst into the spotlight this week. DON’T MAKE ME PICK. THANKS.

Laura Collett and Dacapo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.


The CCI5* Winner:  I’m going to go all in and say Laura Collet and Dacapo. London 52 may be the more obvious choice — being an Olympic team gold medalist and Badminton winner — but Dacapo seemed all for it in the first phase at Badminton before Laura decided not to run due to the weather, and if he can match the dressage score he posted there — 25.2 — he won’t have done his chances here any harm. Laura’s looking for her first 5* completion with the gelding, having had two previous starts, so she’s surely ready to put that to bed and I can see her doing it in style here this weekend.

The Best of the US:  Wow, this is tough when you look at the entries from the US! My heart always tells me Thomas (Boyd Martin’s Tsetserleg TSF) because I love him. But I’m going to plump for Boyd’s other ride, Fedarman B, because I also love a big white blaze and the gelding was looking great at the horse inspection. Boyd’s on fire at the minute after his Bromont hat-trick and I think Fedarman B’s speed and accuracy will see him well and truly hit the big time this weekend.

The Best Brit:  Another tough one given the impressive entries list from the British camp, but I’m going with Emily King and Valmy Biats. This is a combination I just have a feeling is heading for a big result at the level. He looked well up for the challenge at Badminton before Emily sensibly decided to save him for another day, and having had a taste of the muddy ground there, he’ll surely appreciate the going at Luhmuhlen.

The Top Mare: Emma Brussau’s horse, Dark Desire GS. I would never underestimate the power of a longtime relationship between a horse and rider, particularly when they’ve ‘grown up’ together. Their accomplishments in Juniors and Young Riders speak volumes about the quality of this pairing, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them finish on an impressive result this weekend.

Biggest Climber: Known to post a dressage result in the 40s, sometimes the high-40s, Arne Bergendahl’s Luthien 3 is likely to be towards the bottom end of the leaderboard at the end of the first phase. But let the mare loose on the cross country and you’ll truly see a horse who loves her job! We will for sure see them climb after Saturday’s action, and could well see them climb further on the final day.

The Highest-Placed Rookie (Horse or Rider): Tamie Smith‘s horse, Solaguayre California — it’s a long way to travel if you don’t think you can win. Although I’ve followed Lea Siegl and DSP Fighting Line for a while and would have put them as my Spoiler Alert had we included that category. I’ve narrowed it down for all my other picks (for once), so I’m giving myself two for this one.

The CCI4*-S Winner: Ingrid Klimke and EQUISTRO’s Siena Just Do It. Who would bet against Ingrid? Not me, that’s for sure!

Laura Collett and London 52. Photo by Nico Morgan Media.


The CCI5* Winner: Ah heck. I hate this one. I will likely get it wrong, and I’m not sure if I can mention the same horse twice, but here we are…. My pick for the Luhmuhlen 2023 5* Champ is quite simple. London 52. Yes, he ran out at Pratoni, but he also won Badminton in 2022, won Pau in 2020, and oh yeah, helped Team GB to victory in the 2021 Olympics.  So, it may be the obvious choice, but for once I think I might be backing the right one.

The Best of the US: Hmmmm. Tamie or Boyd, Boyd or Tamie. I am going to take a punt on Boyd Martin as the best of the US, purely because he has 3 shots here this weekend, to Tamie’s one.

Of those, it seems obvious to say that Tsetserleg TSF will bring home the goods for Boyd, being a 5* champ, and Olympian and a WEG horse, but I am going to buck the trend and say that Federman B will beat his stablemates this weekend. Yes, it is Bruno’s 5* debut, but hello?! Have you seen this horse’s jumping record? It’s pretty tidy I have to say, as is their 4* form. So, I reckon he will come out of the start box here like an old pro and give Boyd a really great result, 5* debut or otherwise.

The Best Brit: Oooh this is a tough one – we have quite a few major contenders coming across the water to Germany this weekend. Eventing Legend and the first ever Grand Slam Winner Pippa Funnel brings 2019 Burghley winner MGH Grafton Street forward, while the World Champion Yasmin Ingham brings her Young Rider Champion Rehy DJ along for a spin, and then there’s Kitty King on the lovely Vendredi Biats. However, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it is hard to see past Miss Collett, who has not just one but two incredible contenders lined up and ready to shoot for the title this weekend: Dacapo and London 52, 2022 Badminton Winner and all round superstar. If Dacapo keeps his head and puts in the performance that he has proven himself capable of, he will be pretty far up that leader board, but let’s face it, it’s doubtful he will knock his stablemate off the top spot. London 52 has oodles and doodles of experience at this level now, and as long as he doesn’t do anything silly like her did at Pratoni last year, he will be hard to beat. He will likely lead the first phase by a country mile and good luck to anyone trying to catch up!

The Top Mare: There are  a few super smart mares lining up this weekend, not least Tamie Smith’s Solaguayre California and given her penchant for jumping a double clear, and the incredible jockey holding her hand around her 5* debut, she will almost certainly finish in a notable position on the leader board. However, Oliver Townend’s Cooley Rosalent, as beautiful as she is talented, has the potential to go even better. Oliver holds the mare in very high esteem indeed, and he would know, having partnered   her all the way from BE100. She placed second in her first ever CCI4*L at Blair Castle last year, and has shown little to no reason as to why she shouldn’t absolutely smash her first 5* too, vindicating Oliver’s long held faith in his noble steed.

Biggest Climber: I’d love this to be Susie Berry and Monbeg by Design. Arthur tries his heart out for his young jockey, despite not always finding the job easy, and his show jumping record is pretty awesome. He added just a few time faults to his dressage score at the World Championships in Pratoni last year, jumping clear around that show jumping course. So if he can get his skates on around the cross country, he could make up for his likely mid-range dressage score and do himself and Susie very proud indeed and  beat a few of the horses that may lay ahead before the second and third phase.

The Highest-Placed Rookie (Horse or Rider): This one is easy…. Tim Price and Happy Boy. Winner of Boekelo Nations Cup last year, he is, in Tim’s words, ‘really nifty.’ An incredible jumper, and a horse that just seems to get better and better every time out, Happy Boy may not be right up there after dressage, but he could easily skip up the leader board after both jumping phases, such is his prowess at getting between those flags, and keeping his knees up over the coloured poles.

The CCI4*-S Winner: Ahhhhh. A no brainer. Mollie Summerland and Charly Van Ter Heiden. They have already won the 5* here, so why not add the 4* title to their list of achievements? Like Laura Collett, Mollie benefits from the guidance of dressage maestro Carl Hester, so they will likely top the charts after the dressage. The jumping phases shouldn’t offer too much of a challenge given their previous performance here in Germany, so there is no valid reason why Mollie and her best mate Charley shouldn’t bring home another win here this weekend.

Laura Collett and Dacapo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.


5* Winner: Laura Collett and Dacapo (GBR)

I realize that this means I’m going against the stellar record of London 52, but I really liked this horse for having a breakout performance at Badminton. But if we can collectively agree that Badminton was just a bit different this year, I’ve punted my opinion to this weekend. Shine that light bright Dacapo… I think this is your time to shine.

Best of the US: Boyd Martin and Fedarman B (USA)

Being a part of the tearful masses at Bruce’s Field for last year’s Grand Prix Eventing solidified my forever fan status for this pair. While Boyd has never been short on mounts with fairytale stories, this one really has the collective positive vibes of an entire nation of eventers behind it. Not to mention Fedarman is stunning in all three phases, and being piloted by a jockey as skilled as Boyd doesn’t hurt either.

Top Mare: Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California (USA)

Tamie didn’t need any help learning to win, but that weekend in Kentucky sure didn’t hurt. While this mare is inexperienced at the level, she is no stranger to clear rounds and pulling out mare tenacity. I feel like the energy she and Tamie collectively have will be electric in all the right ways.

Top Brit: Laura Collett and London 52 (GBR)

I’m just going to cover all my bases with talented horses from Laura’s barn. Even though I put my eggs in the Dacapo basket, I’m also confident in London 52’s winning ways. It seemed unlucky that he had to scratch from Badminton, but with how the weather played out, maybe it was luck’s way of ramping him up for a big Luhmuhlen finish.

Biggest Mover: Tim Price and Happy Boy (NZL)

I’m not going to be one who bets against Tim Price, even on a rookie horse. I have utmost confidence in Tim’s ability to pilot Happy around, finishing on his dressage score, whatever that might be.

Best Rookie: Lea Siegl and DSP Fighting Line (AUT)

When making notes for Lea’s form guide entry, I couldn’t stop saying “And then…”. She and Fighty have a long list of accomplishments, and although she was entered last year, Fighty was not, making this the first official CCI5* run for the pair. Hard to believe since they have Olympic and WEG appearances to their name.

4* Winner: Julia Krajewski and Ero de Cantraie (GER)

Both of Julia’s mounts are equally inexperienced, and equally talented. They both have the ability to pull of some pretty stellar performances in all three phases, and they both have the expert piloting of Julia. In all honesty, I’m going with Ero de Cantraie because alphabetically his name comes first and I had to find some way to separate these two who I think each have a chance at their first CCI4*-S win.

Boyd Martin and Fedarman B. Photo by Tilly Berendt.


Winner: Boyd Martin and Fedarman B

In order to assuage myself of any pro-U.S. bias, I took a good spin through our Form Guide to the pairs entered in this year’s 5* at Luhmühlen before I made my selection. I’ve had an inkling in my head for awhile now, but it’s always good to make sure you do some research before putting your cards out there. But even after that review session, I stand by my first pick: Boyd Martin and Fedarman B.

Boyd brings arguably three of his best current horses to the table in Germany this week, and I can tell you that he didn’t come all this way just for shits and grins. He will have selected each event on his horse’s schedule with an eye to his chances of winning (save, perhaps, the later addition of Tsetserleg TSF after an issue early on cross country at Kentucky forced a plan B).

I chose “Bruno”, piloted in honor of the late and loved Annie Goodwin, for a few reasons:
1. Bruno is rideable and capable of going fast, efficiently. He’s got his own style of jumping, but he always looks smooth and effortless, not requiring much in the way of set-up from his rider. On a course that demands intelligent selection of lines in order to have a hope of making time, having a rideable horse will matter more than having only a fast horse. Bruno is both, and Boyd has been selective about the times he’s asked the horse to go for the time, meaning he’ll have loads of reserve fitness to call on in the final minutes of the thinking track.
2. Boyd and Fedarman B stand a good chance to go out of the start box well-placed in the beginning. A penchant for a competitive score puts a top three or better post-dressage placing well within reach.
3. Touch wood, this duo have yet to lower a rail in FEI competition since beginning their partnership. Boyd’s got a not-so-secret weapon in the form of show jumping Olympian and super coach Peter Wylde, whose quiet influence can be seen in Boyd’s much-improved jumping technique in recent seasons.
4. The power of a story carries more weight than you may give it credit for, and this weekend Boyd will be carrying out a dream first laid out for Bruno by his former person, Annie Goodwin.

The Best of the US: Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California

Having chosen a U.S. rider to win, I’ll follow that choice up with our own Queen of Kentucky, Tamie Smith. Hot off a historic 5* win at Kentucky in April, Tamie now focuses her attention on 5* debutant Solaguayre California, who is owned by Julianne Guariglia. This is a hotly-anticipated debut for California, whose zest and exuberance on cross country are unforgettable and whose athleticism should lend itself well to this level of sport.

Tamie will have selected Luhmühlen as a good debut spot for California on purposes and provided Tamie has the ride ability she needs to go quick on Saturday, she could be looking at another podium finish — and some proper momentum to take into CHIO Aachen at the end of the month with her Kentucky winner, Mai Baum.

The Best Brit: Kitty King and Vendredi Biats

After a heartbreaking fall saw their Badminton dreams end prematurely, we know this pair has the chops for this top tier of the sport. They’ve got a top-10 finish at both Badminton and Burghley to hang their hat on, and adding another to the pile would be icing on the cake this weekend. We know Kitty and Vendredi Biats will be near the top after the first phase, with a low-20s score more than possible, and if they can just nip around quick enough on Saturday they’ll be in good stead to go for all the glory on Sunday.

The Top Mare: Dark Desire GS (Emma Brüssau)

Reading through Emma and “Desi’s” collective CV is quite impressive. Similar to British World Champion Yasmin Ingham, this pair is a product of a healthy young rider pipeline, already laying claim to multiple individual and team titles on the junior squads for Germany.

Much of that success has come during Emma’s partnership with the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare, and we all know that a large part of any success in eventing comes from health of partnership. So while this weekend is a debut of sorts, at the 5* level, this pair has more than enough experience to consider them prepared to go for a big result.

Biggest Climber: Arne Bergendahl and Luthien 3

Let’s face it: not every competitor who finishes on the podium at a three-day started in that position. And really, it’s a nod to the history of the sport and its completeness. It tests all facets of athleticism and ride ability, and in the best tests, the horses that show the best results at the end of the weekend aren’t always those that pull out the best marks in the first phase.

You may not find German pair Arne Bergendahl and Luthien 3 on the board after the first phase, more likely to pull a score in the 30s to start their weekend. But you’re likely to see them much closer at the end of the day Saturday. This is a pair that has proven themselves capable of going quick across the country and climbing the leaderboard as a result. If they can find the best way around Mike Etherington-Smith’s track Saturday and leave the poles where they belong Sunday, the Biggest Climber award will be firmly in their grasp.

The Highest-Placed Rookie (Horse or Rider): Emma Brüssau and Dark Desire GS

I’m going to be a little lazy here and refer you back to my pick for top mare, as the words still apply here!

The CCI4*-S Winner: Anna Lena Schaaf and Fairytale 39

It’s once again difficult to bet against experience, and I’m giving this nod to Anna Lena Schaaf and Fairytale, who’ve come up the rankings together — with plenty of competitive success along the way. That success includes medals at the Young Rider Europeans and a win in their first 4*-S at Strzegom in 2021.

While this pair doesn’t have a world of experience at this level — this weekend marks their fourth start at 4* over three seasons — they do know each other quite well at this point. That experience will come in handy in what stands to be a formidable test, but not one that this pair isn’t well-prepared for.

Tim Price: lost his horse, kept the vibes. Photo by Tilly Berendt.


CCI5* Winner: Tim Price and Happy Boy

Why? It’s Tim, duh. And he looked great when he was looking for his missing horse after the trot up. The look of a champion, that. 

The Best of the US: Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California

Because it’s Tamie, and she’s awesome. Does there need to be more reasoning than that? I don’t think so.

The Best Brit: Yasmin Ingham and Rehy DJ

I like Yaz. I’m picking riders here who talk to me, mostly. Also her horse is called Piglet, and that is great.

The Top Mare: Emma Brüssau and Dark Desire GS. 

I’m going with this one for the name alone, to be honest. WHAT A NAME.

Biggest Climber: Hallie Coon and Global Ex

I had to pick Hallie because she tried to whip me after the trot up and I fear further retribution. Also, great horse. We hosted Hallie for Christmas at our house as well, which means she’s basically family, and also I’m mentioning this so I look really well-connected and in the game

The Highest-Placed Rookie (Horse or Rider): Lea Siegl and DSP Fighting Line

This horse will obviously be FIGHTING to get on the right LINE and that seems like a pretty essential trait for an event horse to have. Sold. (Also it’s a real pretty horse.)

The CCI4*-S Winner: Hallie Coon and Cute Girl

Look, again, the whip thing. Also my girlfriend Tilly helped Hallie find this horse so the horse is also part of the family. NEIGH. 

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