Luhmuhlen Preview

Timezone: Luhmuhlen is ET +6 hours, meaning that 1PM in Virginia is 7PM in Germany.  


Thursday: CIC3* dressage — 2AM-10:30AM ET

Friday: CCI4* dressage — 2AM-10:30AM ET
Saturday: Cross-Country — 4AM-7:30AM ET
Sunday: Show Jumping – 6:15AM ET

US dressage times (Friday)

Michael Pollard and Wonderful Will: 3:48AM ET
Allison Springer and Arthur: 7:09AM ET
Jennifer Wooten-Dafoe and The Good Witch: 9:33AM ET

Location: Map of Luhmuhlen, Germany

Weather: The forecast for Luhmuhlen predicts cool weather (highs in the 60’s) and sunny skies until Saturday, when light rain is expected in the afternoon.  A few showers are predicted for Snuday as well.

The environment: I spoke with Jennifer Wooten-Dafoe, and she said that the environment is a bit laid back. She explained that Luhmuhlen is beautiful and the countryside around it seems to support the competition.
The XC course: Allison wrote about the Luhmuhlen cross-country course in her latest blog post: “I have had a chance to walk the course twice now. I have also talked to many riders about the course. The consensus is that it is really tough. It is definitely much harder than any Kentucky I have ever ridden and definitely harder than the course at Pau last year. It is not as difficult as Burghley…”

Background: Luhmuhlen, of course, is one of six CCI4* competitions in the world (Badminton, Burghley, Rolex, Pau, and Adelaide).  The CCI4* was first held in 2005, and it was the first four-star held on continenal Europe.  The past winners are Betting Hoy on Ringwood Cockatoo ’05, Farnk Ostholt and Air Jordan ’06, Ruth Edge and Two Thyme ’07, William with Macchiato ’08, and Michael Jung on La Boisthetique-Sam ’09.  Germans have won the event three times and Brits twice.
Horses and Riders

Oliver Towend and Carousel Quest:  This is a tough pair to figure out  and we are all wondering if we will see the unstoppable Carousel Quest that won Burghley ’09 or the Carousel Quest that pulled 7 rails to give away a big lead at Pau.  When Oliver was preparing to chase the Rolex Grand Slam in Kentucky, he at first said publicly that he would save Carousel Quest from making the trip to the US, then he entered Carousel Quest at Rolex, and then he withdrew the horse a few days before the flight over.  Since Pau last year, Carousel Quest has entered 3 events, withdrawn from two of those and finished 3rd at the Burnham Market CIC3*. 

Oliver Townend and Ashdale Cruise Master: Perhaps even more question marks surround Oliver’s other ride–Ashdale Cruise Master.  Oliver, of course, had that extraordinary fall with Ashdale Cruise Master at Rolex, but they came back together just 35 days later to win the CIC3* at Tattersalls.  After the fall at Rolex, Oliver consistently reiterated his faith in Ashdale Cruise Master, and so far that faith has seemed well deserved.  

Other International Riders: Notably, William Fox-Pitt does not have any horses entered at Luhmuhlen.  Mary King is entered on Apache Sauce and Kings Temptress.  Lucy Wiegersma has had a tough 2010 so far, but has a chance to change all that with good finishes on Woodfalls Inigo Jones and Granntevka Prince.  Great Britain has by far the most CCI4* riders entered with 15, most of whom are overflows from Badminton.

Andrew Nicholson has Armada and Mr. Cruise Control entered, and 5 other Kiwi horses are entered, making New Zealand a force to watch going into the autumn.  Another emerging eventing force is Ireland, with five CCI4* horses at Luhmuhlen.  

US Horses: Arthur, The Good Witch, and Wonderful Will all had issues with the Rolex XC course, and they have made the trip to Germany for redemption and a shot to compete in Kentucky this autumn.  Simply put, a top 10 finish at Luhmuhlen for any of the three US riders puts them on a list of less that 10 people with a good shot of going to the WEGs.  

Allison Springer and Arthur: Arthur had a great spring leading up to Kentucky and was looking like one of the top US horses with a 2nd place finish at the Fork CIC3*.  After a stop at the Rolex coffin, Allison and Arthur were left off the short list but they have the skills and the experience to make Luhmuhlen look easy.  

Michael Pollard and Wonderful Will: Michael and Wonderful Will took a spill at the first Rolex water, but Michael is an excellent rider and I expect this pair to have a lot more upside than we have seen.  Show jumping has been a question mark for them all year, but this weekend is about the cross-country.

Jennifer Wooten-Dafoe and The Good Witch: Despite a tough weekend at Rolex, this pair has a lot of quality international experience.  I really like The Good Witch, and I expect a good finish from this pair at Luhmuhlen.

Best of luck to all the Luhmuhlen competitors this weekend.  Go eventing.

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