One Horse Held in Sunny Luhmühlen CCI5* First Inspection

An enthusiastic crowd forms for the first Luhmühlen that’s been open to spectators since 2019. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Is it terribly dull of us if we schedule in a quick panic right now about just how quickly time is passing? It feels like just yesterday that we left Turniergelande Luhmühlen, battered, bruised, a wee bit knackered, and in the company of the CCI5* winners — but here we are, somehow back again, and probably in need of a serious eye cream at this point. The Luhmühlen we’ve arrived at is very different to the one we left, mind you: last year, the event ran behind closed doors, and so there was no need for a plethora of marquees, shops, and all the razzmatazz that comes with an event of this scale. This year, though, those doors are wide open, and the joy in the air is palpable. Luhmühlen is an event that really loves its spectators, and its spectators love it right back — it’s a stunningly beautiful, sun trap of a spot, with little Hansel and Gretel style outbuildings scattered around the course and jolly music being piped through the speakers from sun-up to sundown, and everyone, from fans of the sport to organisers to riders alike, is delighting in having a bit of normality back around the place.

Today’s timetable was all about the first horse inspection, and even on this noncompetitive day, we’ve started to see people filter in to check out what’s going on behind the scenes — and to absorb a bit of that German sunshine, which always feels just a little bit sweeter, somehow. Those who did come to watch were rewarded with a short but sweet bit of top-level horse-spotting, featuring some real stars of the sport such as 2018 winners Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo and 2019 European bronze medallists Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua.

Alex Donohoe and Guidam Roller are the only pair held in the first horse inspection. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The ground jury, made up of president Christina Klingspor (SWE), Joachim Dimmek (GER), and Nikki Herbert (GBR), saw 36 horses through the course of the afternoon’s horse inspection, which took place in a new location alongside the schooling arenas. That meant that, unlike in previous years when it’s been held on the concrete walkway in front of the grandstand, the horse inspection unfolded over a forgiving dirt track — though one horse did still get sent to the holding box. That was Alex Donohoe‘s Guidam Roller, who is one of the strong Irish contingent in this year’s field. Upon re-presentation, the 12-year-old gelding, who will be making his five-star debut along with his rider, was accepted to continue the competition.

It’s just a joy to be back: David Doel, who acted as pathfinder here last year, greets the ground jury with the first of his two rides, Ferro Point. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The CCI4*-S, which some could argue is the feature class of the week as it incorporates the German National Championship, didn’t feature a first horse inspection, and both classes will commence the dressage phase tomorrow in Luhmühlen’s jolly, atmospheric main arena. The morning will be the domain of the CCI4*-S, which gets underway from 9.25 a.m. local time (8.25 a.m. BST/3.25 a.m. EST) with the guinea pig test, which will be performed by Josephine Schnaufer-Völkel and Pasadena. The first official test of the day will be produced by Will Coleman for the USA, riding his 2021 Aachen winner Off The Record at 10.00 a.m. local (9.00 a.m. BST/4.00 a.m. EST). 22 competitors will ride in this first half, with a number of highlights following Will and ‘Timmy’: Lara de Liedekerke-Meier and Cascaria V could put in a very competitive test for Belgium at 10.07 local (9.07 BST/4.07 a.m. EST), while young British superstar Bubby Upton is in the ring with the former Chris Burton ride Jefferson 18 at 10.22 (9.22 BST/4.22 a.m. EST). We’ll get to enjoy a seriously competitive Olympic pair — and a former World Champion rider — at 10.45 (9.45 BST/4.45 a.m. EST) in Germany’s Sandra Auffarth and Viamant du Matz, while Young Rider European Champions Emma Brüssau and Dark Desire GS are in the ring at 12.47 local (11.47 BST/6.47 a.m. EST).

“Just a little taste?” A cheeky Cooley Quicksilver sneaks a nibble of Liz Halliday-Sharp as they present in the first horse inspection. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The CCI5* will follow on after the lunch break from 14.10 local (13.10 BST/8.10 a.m. EST), with the guinea pig test ride from Anna Siemer and FRH Butts Avondale. Great Britain’s Tom McEwen will pathfind in this class, riding the first of his two debutant mounts, Braveheart B, at 14.30 local (13.30 BST/8.30 a.m. EST). We’ll see 15 CCI5* tests tomorrow, including Tim Price and debutant ride Spartaco at 14.45 local (13.45 BST/8.45 a.m. EST), 2019 European Championship bronze medallists Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua for Ireland at 15.07 local (14.07 BST/9.07 a.m. EST), the return of Bubby Upton and Cannavaro at 15.40 (14.40 BST/9.40 a.m. EST), the USA’s Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus at 16.25 (15.25 BST/10.25 a.m. EST), and promising British pair Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI closing out the day at 16.32 (15.32 BST/10.32 a.m. EST).

Lithuania’s Aistis Vitkauskas incorporates a nod to Ukraine in his trot-up presentation. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Want to check out all the times for yourself? You can do so here — and you’ll be able to follow along with every minute of the action in all three classes on Horse&Country TV.  In the meantime, check out our gallery of what went down in today’s inspection:

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