Luhmühlen CCI4* Cross Country Course Unveiled

Luhmühlen posted drawings of Capt. Mark Phillips’ CCI4* cross country course on its website earlier this week, along with his notes on the course. Drawings of the fences aren’t as good as actual photos and video, but they’re a nice substitute until Chinch lands on the grounds in Germany next week to get the lay of the land.

Three total American combinations are contesting the course: Boyd Martin with Otis Barbotiere and Shamwari 4, as well as Phillip Dutton with Mighty Nice. Clark Montgomery announced earlier this week that he has withdrawn Loughan Glen. Canadian Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master will compete in the CIC3*.

Otis, Shammie and Happy shipped out for Germany this morning with super grooms Emma Ford and Lindsey Taylor, and Boyd and Phillip fly out Saturday night. Safe travels!

Scroll down to see the drawings of each fence on course.

Capt. Mark Phillip’s course notes

2014 is the third year running that the course has set off in a similar direction. Don’t be surprised if it’s all change for 2015. The Start and Finish areas have a very different look though as horses and riders set of over the Auftakt der Sparkasse Harburg-Buxtehude (1) a brand new Seat before galloping out to the large but friendly Wittinger Bierwagen (2) before disappearing into the woods over the Bienenzaun (3) in recognition of the traditional bee-keeping on the Lüneburger Heide where the Nature Conservation Authority have done so much to enhance the natural beauty of this wonderful venue.

Riders then have nearly a minute of galloping to settle their nerves before stepping back into the 21st Century at the DHL Paket Komplex (4). As the first question on the course it’s not too technically demanding but the first house has a significant drop on landing before a forward 5 strides to the Boat on the Island and then an attacking 4 strides up and out over the daunting Silver Birch Rails. Fortune will favour the brave in these early stages.

Past the second minute and into the Training Field the ICE-VIBE Oxer (5) and the Normandie Brücke (6) back onto the old steeplechase track will not hold too many fears. The Gärtnerei Wredes Rennbahnsprung (7) is the biggest fence on the course with its 2 metre top spread, 3 metre base spread and the Hedge 1.45 metres high.

The Luhmühlen (8) fence again just requires pace and commitment but the Longines Clock Towers (9) is the first technical question. In the Arena in front of a mass of spectators, control and accuracy is the secret as horses jump the first Clock Tower, have a bending 4 strides to a large ‘Corner’ and then another bending 4 strides to the second Clock Tower.

In a deviation this year riders go diagonally back across the Arena to two very skinny and missable triple brushes at the Manzke Kombination (10) on a 2 stride bending line. Again difficult and control and accuracy needed. Riders cannot win the competition in the Arena, only lose it with an expensive 20 penalties for a ‘drive by’.

The Jeep Tisch (11) is large but a let up and similarly Unter den Birken (12) is massive but straight forward before the long gallop to the Meßmer Water (13, 14, 15) which has a very different look this year. Firstly the huge Trakhener with its 3 metre wide ditch, but the pace required for this should produce a nice five strides across the island to the brand new, if a little scary looking, rails back into the water. It’s then 4 forward strides to a ‘bounce’ of hedges (14) out of the water. Riders have not seen this.

There is a long gallop through the woods past the 5 minute marker to a new fence at Heiners Wellenbahn (16) that looks huge but measures less than 1 star height.

It’s then onto the Jeep Field where riders spend nearly 2 minutes which if anything is more exciting this year and well worth the walk as spectators can see 10 fences jumped here starting with the straightforward Schweinestall (17) before coming to the first Jeep big four Station (18) with a narrow Triple Brush in, never easy with water behind and then a bending 3 strides to the fishes and bear on the way out.

Around to the second Jeep big four Station (19) and again over the large fishes and bear to the water in and then a bending 5 strides to a corner in the water. Not easy on dry land, a lot more difficult in water. It’s not over yet as horses gallop around to the Ariat Table (20) before coming to the brand new The Charles Owen Royal Works (21). This starts with a maximum Oxer, bending 4 strides left to another Oxer and then bending 4 strides right to a Corner, the biggest most technical question so far before finally leaving the Jeep Field.

There is no relaxation though as next comes another new and testing combination, the Am Waldrand (22). The first was always a big fence but perched up on the mound it looks quite daunting and then riders have a committed 4 strides to yet another big brush corner where again power and control is needed.

There is then a bit of a holiday as riders go back to the Jeep Field past the 9 minute mark for an easier Waldhaus (23) onto the Trakehner (24) and the Fledermaus Hotel (25). This will give riders a chance to look at their watch and assess how much petrol they have left in the tank, because its then onto the last two questions at the AGCO / Fendt Coffin (26) where riders have rails going in that will command respect, one stride over the ditch and two strides to an angled brush, there to catch anyone not concentrating as hard as they should be towards the end of the course.

The last combination is the Lotto Kombination (27) a very large Ditch and Brush followed by a bending 5 strides later by the two offset horses 1 stride apart. As you approach the hedge the turn and the angle look impossible but it opens up when you get there if riders don’t get too excited over the ditch.

Finally its onto the welcome site of home over two more brand new David Evan’s built fences at the von Ellings Fachwerkhaus (28/29), the optic is wonderful but the reality is they are but two speed bumps on the way to the Finish.

Once again riders have a true 4 star track, in good weather some will make the time, all will hopefully finish with a smile on their face appreciating they’ve negotiated a championship course.


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