Yes, I know … it’s a running gag by now to assume that Michael Jung wins everything. He doesn’t. But he still got oh so close. The city of Wiesbaden hosted its annual Whitsun Horse Show, a CDI, CSI, CIC and international vaulting competition (it would be way too boring otherwise) this past weekend.
Very rarely do you get to see world class riders from the three major disciplines battle it out. And the venue is indeed unique — it all happens in the middle of the city in the park of and right in front of Wiesbaden Castle.
This event has a limited number of open slots, and it is always a thrill to get in. In 2015, eight nations were represented, including Mexico and Japan. Of the 34 pairs that showed up for dressage, 28 finished the event (two horses were withdrawn before cross country, one rider eliminated due to omission of a jump on cross country, one horse retired on course at jump 12a and two horses eliminated on course not due to falls).
The dressage ring in Wiesbaden makes for some exciting viewing, both for horses and spectators. The backdrop of the castle is truly magnificent. Horses get to show off in an arena that appears tight and, like on cross country day, spectators are very close.
The cross country in Wiesbaden is a lovely stretch of rather flat land, but with many twists and turns, some open stretches for galloping and the interesting, if not distracting, optics of other horses coming back towards the start line — eventually you’ll come close to other horses running “against” you. Ride along the course with Michael Jung here.
Dressage seemed like a repetition of the Marbach CIC3* just a couple of weeks ago, with Pia Münker and her own homebred Louis M (by Lissabon out of Angelique M by Abanos) taking an early and very comfortable lead over the rest of the field with a whopping 26.3 points.
Louis M is an extravagant mover who is ridden very well, light in the contact, nicely forward and just oozing dressage talent and athleticism at the same time. Sadly though, Pia and her flashy chestnut had some serious issues during show jumping, adding 30 penalties to their otherwise spotless record.
Since nothing was to be gained from a fast round, Pia opted for a safe, confidence-giving ride cross country and added some 11 points to her record to finish 16th overall (67.5 points).
Second place after dressage went to Julia Krajewski, a young German rider, on the exceptional talent Samourai du Thot (by Milor Landais out of Melitos du Thot by Flipper d’Elle). The 9-year-old French gelding is one of the brightest talents in German eventing right now, and it should be interesting to watch this pair mature together.
Julia and her “Sam” (coincidence? I think not …) scored 34.2 in dressage, and all they had to do is remain fault-free until the end — which is exactly what they did. Just 3.2 penalties after cross country placed them first after the action was over, with a comfortable lead over second place finisher Michael Jung and his European Champion, the Baden-Württemberg bred Halunke FBW (by Heraldik xx out of Jolanda by Jugol). This proven pair started with 40.2 after dressage and just added two time penalties from cross country.
Interesting note on the side — only two horses in the field managed to run cross country in optimum time: Ingrid Klimke’s WEG Team Gold medalist FRH Escada JS (by Embassy I out of Lehnsherrin by Lehnsherr), who incidentally also took home the fourth place ribbon (did you know fourth place in Germany is blue?), and Freya Füllgraebe’s “old-timer” 18-year-old Oje Oje (by Ocos xx out of Diane by Diolen) — this pair won the U25 prize of the event.
But to get back to the actual order — third place finisher was Andreas Dibowski with his long-term partner FRH Butts Avedon (by Heraldik xx out of Karina-Andora by Kronenkranich xx), the horse he planned to bring to Rolex, then decided to spare him the quarantine and is now aiming at Luhmühlen’s upcoming CCI4* instead.
They began the weekend on a 40.4 score after dressage and merely added 2.4 points after cross country. The top five placings were rounded off by German team anchor Peter Thomsen and his Holsteiner mare Horseware’s Cayenne (by Cardino out of Siringia by Sir Shostakovich xx) on a final score of 47.6.
The highest placed foreign rider was Stefano Brecciaroli (ITA) with his Belgium-bred Apollo v.d. Wendi Kurt Hoeve (by Polidiktus van de Helle out of Naevship v.d. Wendi Kurt Hoeve by Township xx), who started out with 41.3, added four penalties in show jumping and came home with 4.8 points from cross country to finish on 50.1 points.
Other foreign riders took eighth, ninth and 11th place – in that order Sweden’s top rider Linda Algotsson with the home-bred Fairnet (Swedish warmblood by Feliciano out of Fairlisia by Dalby Jaguar xx), Elmo Jankari (FIN) with his WEG mount, the Oldenburg/Trakehner mare Duchesse Desiree (by Don Primero out of Arogna/T. by Noble Roi xx), and Austria’s Katrin Khoddam-Hazrati on the very interesting grey Irish gelding Kilnaboy Buffet (by French Buffet xx out of Cotton Foot by Tammouz xx).
Kilnaboy Buffet is interesting because this horse began his career as a show jumper and even represented his country at the FEI World Championships for Young Show Jumpers in Lanaken in Belgium only to switch disciplines and run the FEI World Championships of Young Event Horses in Lion d’Angers in France one year later!
As mentioned at the beginning, Wiesbaden’s show is also home to world-class dressage and show jumping during the same time the eventers battle it out in the spacious castle gardens. And so to those venturing into other sports, this was a firsthand opportunity to see Ingrid Klimke in the CDI Grand Prix on board her stunning black Dresden Mann — and yes, she can ride with the best out there!
Of course Michael “Zee Terminator” Jung didn’t just show in the CDI Small Tour (Prix. St Georges), but also appeared in the CSI 1.40, 1.45 and 1.50 meter show jumper classes, placing sixth in the first on board Captain Sparrow and riding the striking grey Sportsman S in the 1.45 meter class — a horse that was ridden noticeably more “forward” than many of his contestants and … well … won. The 1.50 meter class of course also saw Michael Jung in the money — this time with yet another “fischer” horse, the 9-year-old fischerTamarindo.
So, naturally, I was waiting for Michael Jung to show up in a leotard trying his hand in the vaulting competition as well, but I was disappointed …. but then, what would life be without something to look forward to? Certainly Luhmühlen on the horizon is going to test everybody, and the date is getting closer. Stay tuned!