Five-star fever has well and truly struck Team EN, aided and abetted by the release of Luhmühlen’s CCI5* and CCI4*-S entry lists. We’re used to seeing an exceptional field of horses head to this major summer fixture, which incorporates the German National Championship, but this year we’re looking at something really quite spectacular over the week of June 16-20.
Luhmühlen is the very last chance for horses and riders to qualify for Tokyo, and it’s also a prime opportunity for them to show what they’re capable of ahead of this year’s hottest competition – and, of course, the subsequent European Championships. These factors – plus the ongoing uncertainty about what, exactly, anyone will get the chance to do this year – have combined to create a perfect storm of an entry list. Let’s take a closer look at the highlights.
The CCI5* features 72 entries from 10 countries. The most well-represented of those is Great Britain, with 42 combinations in the hunt. Chief among those are entries from reigning World Champions Ros Canter and Allstar B, Burghley winners Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street, and Badminton winners Piggy March and Vanir Kamira.
We’ll also see several combinations who’ve come achingly close to taking a win at this level, such as Laura Collett and Mr Bass, second here on his debut in 2018, Sarah Bullimore and Reve du Rouet, who have finished in the top five four times at the level, Tom McEwen and Figaro van het Broekxhof, second here in 2019, Piggy March and Brookfield Inocent, runners-up at Pau last year on the horse’s debut, Nicola Wilson and her 2017 European bronze medallist Bulana, Mollie Summerland and Charly van ter Heiden, who finished in the top ten at Pau in 2020, and the consistent cross-country machines Imogen Murray and Ivar Gooden. Britain also fields some exciting debutantes, such as Ben Hobday‘s Shadow Man and Izzy Taylor‘s Monkeying Around.
Though the home front always tends to keep the majority of its entries in the CCI4*-S National Championship, there’s enough in the CCI5* to warrant some buzz: Christoph Wahler, who strode firmly into the top ten after dressage on his five-star debut at Pau last year, but subsequently withdrew from competition, will return with Carjatan S to finish the job, while Michael Jung brings forward two debutants, fischerWild Wave and Highlighter. We’ll be looking forward to seeing Anna-Katerina Vogel and DSP Quintana P, the fastest pair from the 2019 Europeans here, come forward at five-star too.
Two previous Luhmühlen winners head up a formidable front from the Kiwi contingent: Jonelle Price returns with 2018 victor Faerie Dianimo, while the reigning champion Ascona M will make the journey over with husband Tim Price. Not to be outdone, the Aussies also send forth a not inconsiderable challenge, with Kevin McNab riding Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend and Willunga in this class, joined by Chris Burton and Graf Liberty.
In a great effort from US riders, a small but fierce group of entrants will cross the pond to fight for top honours. Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois, Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan, Boyd Martin and Long Island T and Lynn Symansky and RF Cool Play are all entered for the CCI5*.
The CCI4*-S promises to be a can’t-miss competition too, with 73 entries across 14 countries. This class features some of the most obvious contenders for a Tokyo medal: Ingrid Klimke‘s SAP Hale Bob OLD and Michael Jung‘s fischerChipmunk FRH will battle it out at the forefront of an exceptional German entry, though they’ll face strong competition from the likes of Tim Price and Vitali, who won the CCI4*-L in Strzegom earlier this month, Dutch National Champions Merel Blom and Ceda N.O.P., Gemma Tattersall and Chilli Knight, and eye-wateringly good line-ups from both Australia and Ireland. Among the highlights? Cathal Daniels and his European bronze medallist Rioghan Rua, Andrew Hoy‘s extraordinary Vassily de Lassos, Kevin McNab‘s Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam, top ten at five-star twice in three runs, Chris Burton and his 2019 Blenheim eight- and nine-year-old victor Clever Louis and ‘the dragon’ Quality Purdey.
As a journalist, one is never supposed to show bias, but suffice it to say that the Netherlands’ Tim Lips and TMX Herby will certainly be ones to watch in this competition — and beyond. We’ve also got some great US representation in this class from Katherine Coleman, who brings Billy Bandit and Monbeg Senna.
Check out the entries in full here, and stay tuned for lots to come in the lead-up to — and during the running of — Luhmühlen. We’ll be delivering you everything you need to know and much, much more — and you’ll be able to live-stream the competition through Horse&Country TV, too. Dust off the Rosetta Stone and let’s head to Germany, folks!