My season 2011 ...
The last competition of the 2011 season has just finished and luckily November isn't quite so busy so finally a find time to get my own website going and start the process by writing my own résumé for this year.-
My top horse the 11 year old Trakehner Lanfranco TSF showed in the autumn season what a special horse he is and lived up to all the dreams and hopes and I have in him.
Already in May we had some great results in several national intermediate and advanced one day events in England. The competitions in June and July were definitely very much affected by my personal situation.
The separation from my husband Andrew affected me in a mayor way and I was not able to do Lanfranco any justice neither at home nor in competition. He is a very particular horse that immediately reacts to my mood swings.
Thank god by the autumn I had gained some strength back thanks to many discussions with my friends and also with some of my students who have become real good friends over the past 10 months. Huge thank you to all of you!!!
So in the last 2 big events for Lanfranco TSF for the 2011 season we were back on form and had great fun competing in the UK.
Hartpury CIC *** was the first 3 star in this year's autumn season. The dressage was behind our expectations but he really kept his nerves in a buzzy arena and managed to score a 48.5 and although he didn't feel that happy in the main arena he tried really hard and I was able to get his concentration back whenever he made some little mistakes.
In the show jumping we had 1 silly mistake which was the only fence he had down all year. He ever so slightly caught the back rail of an oxer jumping into the treble but otherwise jumped fantastic.
A few riders decided to withdraw their horses from the xc due to the firm ground. I was desperate for a run and had specifically made that long journey from Germany to compete in the CIC***.So no excuses were made and it turned out the ground was actually good to ride on but the xc caused a lot more problems than anticipated.
Lanfranco was awesome and jumped all technical fences with bravado so we moved up into 7th place in a very competitive field.
Besides my activities as a rider I'm also very busy as a trainer of various top riders from different countries. At most of the events were I'm competing myself I try to help my students as well. I don't have any problems competing against my students because once you are in the competition you are on your own with the judges in the dressage test and with the course in the xc and sj phase and may the best win. I find it very rewarding to see my students doing well and feel very proud to be part of their success as well.
At Hartpury I was very excited to see one of my students Bill Levett (AUS) win one section of the CIC*** in particular as this was his first 3 star win.
The next big competition for Lanfranco and myself was Blenheim CCI*** it was the highlight of the 2011 season. We traveled across to the UK 10 days before the start of the event because I had 6 students competing at Burghley CCI**** and they had asked for my help.
I based myself at the marvelous yard of Jules Stiller, Headley stud again as I had already done in May. Mark Todd is also based at Headley Stud and he very kindly offered me a room in his house for Rambo (my dog) and myself to stay in during my time in the UK.
My American students Michael Pollard, Boyd Martin and Will Coleman also based themselves at Headley Stud which made it really easy to combine riding Lanfranco and teaching my students.
Will was really unlucky to not being able to start at Burghley. His horse Twizzel who was actually brought into the sport of eventing by Simone Böckmann wasn't quite right and he decided not to risk anything and withdrew from the competition.
Michael had a brilliant dressage test but a very unfortunate fall towards the end of the course. Icarus had caught a virus which went unnoticed before the xc and made him loose the stamina that is needed to complete the tough course at Burghley. It was such a shame but both still learned a lot and will be even better for that experience next time out.
Boyd had the most amazing weekend with Neville. Best dressage test ever , clear inside the time on the xc and 1 down in the sj to finish in the top ten. This result is even more amazing considering what happened only a few months prior to Burghley. Boyd's main stable yard caught fire due to an electrical problem.
Several horses died in the fire and Neville was the last horse Boyd was able to rescue although with bad burns to the inside of his airways. Neville's luck was that he is a bad wind sucker and wears a collar to stop him doing it. In the heavy smoke inside the burning barn Boyd couldn't see a thing but felt the collar so knew it was Neville and pulled him out. In the little time that he had left before it got too dangerous for him to stay any longer inside the barn he would have not been able to put a head collar on a horse.
After a long time in intensive care in the vet hospital Neville was able to go home but it was very doubtful that he would ever be able to compete at top level again. Thanks to the great team in Boyd's yard and his vets he recovered quicker than anybody hoped for and was able to get on a plane to come to the UK and compete at Burghley for an early qualifier for the London Olympics next year.
I think no one that saw Neville finishing the xc course at Burghley had a dry eye including me. What a fighter!!!
But back to Blenheim now. Charlie, Mark Todd's head girl and I moved Campino NZB and Lanfranco across into the competition stables on the following Wednesday. Charlie had very kindly offered to help me with Lanfranco for the event because I was on my own again. It was a huge help and made me focus on my part of the job much better .Charlie is one of the best grooms in the industry and apart from our former head girl Karen Hughes, she is one of the best people I have worked with.
This time our dressage was brilliant which earned us the top spot after 2 full days of dressage. The judges, one of them being the German judge Ernst Topp rewarded our test with 42.1 penalty points.
On the xc course I was determined not to make any mistakes and ended up being a little over cautious towards to end of the course so ended up with 7.6 time penalties. That dropped us into 5th place after the xc. Overall I was extremely happy with the way Frankie dealt with the course especially since he was very motivated to start with but then settled into a lovely rhythm.
On the final day it was sad that Pippa Funnell and Piggy French were not able to present their 2 top placed horses at the trot up. We have all been in a similar situation and it is very disappointing for everybody involved not only the rider. Lanfranco luckily felt great on Sunday morning after the demanding course the day before and I was looking forward to the sj phase.
But prior to that I was told by Caroline Powell and Jacky Green that it was time for me to change my xc colours and invent the new ME.
So after a short tour around the shops we found my new colours: black with dark silver stripes which sits very nicely on my new Charles Owen xc helmet now.
After such a positive start to the day we jumped a confident clear round inside the time to finish in 3rd place in a high quality field in a great CCI 3star.
Back home in Germany I had a good conversation with Hans Melzer and was told to aim for Badminton next year. There will be an Olympic squad put in place at the end of the year which will consist of the successful horse/ rider combinations from the Europeans at Luhmühlen. But I was told that they will leave the door open to anyone that can get a top place at 4 star level next year so I will take my chance and go to Badminton.
I feel that I can best prepare for Badminton by being based in the UK for 2 months prior to the event. It also makes it easier to help my UK based students on a more consistent basis and travel to the US for one week per month up until the Olympics.
That obviously means that I will take my other horses with me as well to give them a chance to gain more experience in some of the fabulous one day events in the UK. I have missed eventing on a regular basis enormously since being based back in Germany again.
The next possible Championship horse in the making is my 7 year old Westphalian bred gelding Designer. He had a brilliant season this year and easily made the transition from 1 to 2 star level.
The highlight of his season was definitely The World Championship of the young event horse in Le Lion d'Anger (FRA) at the end of October. It is a very competitive competition with the best 6 and 7 year old horses starting there.
My new xc colours had their debut at Varssefeld (NL) 3 weeks prior to Le Lion and I had a great ride xc so was really looking forward to wear them again.
His dressage score wasn't quite as good as it could have been which was mainly due to one of the judges who didn't like his neck. Designer is super soft in his mouth and sometimes doesn't step quite enough into the bit- That makes his neck look a fraction short especially from the side. But in his defense he is so obedient and through and only lacks a little strength in his back. I'm convinced I will be able to improve that a lot over the winter and also teach him to trot bigger as well.
We got a 46.5 in the dressage which put us in 11th spot but only 7 points behind the leader. The xc was a lot tougher than in recent years. From the 69 starters only 48 made it to the show jumping phase and of those only 13! managed to go clear inside the optimum time of 10 min! on the xc course.
Designer und ich kämpften uns auf den 5. Platz nach dem Gelände vor, mit einer traumhaft coolen Runde innerhalb der erlaubten Zeit. 2 meiner Schüler, Jonelle Richards und Paul Tapner klopften mir nach dem Gelände lächelnd auf die Schulter und sagten sie hätten mich schon lange nicht mehr so gelöst und gut reiten sehen. Das tat gut! Designer and I moved into 5th place after a brilliant round on the xc inside the time. 2 of my students Paul Tapner and Jonelle Richards commented that they hadn't seen me riding on the xc like that for a while. Well I think I'm back fighting!
On the next day you could see that the xc course had been tough for the young horses as most of them looked a bit tired. They didn't jump quite as fresh as they normally would on the last day of competition which made the sj phase even more selective
Designer had fence 3 down like a lot other horses as well and it was really upsetting as he hadn't made a mistake all year neither in sj classes nor eventing. German rider Andreas Brand had a brilliant clear round with his lovely mare Escada and moved into the silver medal position.
We lost the gold medal spot due to that mistake but I was in the same situation as Ruth Edge and Nicola Wilson who also had 1 fence down and finished just outside the medals.
Overall I was thrilled with my 6th place which meant we finished with the 2nd best result of the German riders in that section.
I definitely know now that I have another top class horse in my stables and am looking forward to competing him at the next higher level next year.
No. 3 in the yard is" Just a Dancer" a 4 year old Oldenburg stallion b Junior Mariner out of a Furioso mare.
Originally he was bought by a former student and in the middle of this year I could convince 2 dear friends Marret Leers and Werner Schupp to jointly buy and campaign him.
Right from the minute go he was the coolest horse I have ever sat on. Every competition we go to he comes back with a rosette. Even xc schooling there is nothing that worries him whether I canter to a scary looking ditch or water he just does it.
His plan for next year is to get him qualified for the Bundeschampionat and compete him in several national one day events in Germany and the UK.
Last but not least ist Querdolan Vitarel a 7 year old french approved stallion with over 40 % anglo arab blood. He is owned by my american students Michael and Nathalie Pollard who bought him a couple of years ago but kept him in training in France. Whatever they did there with him wasn't great because he was quite naughty and badly ridden.
Over the past few months he has improved enormously and is now able to impress everybody at the German National Equestrian Centre where I'm based. He has huge scope and amazing technique over a fence but up until now wasn't able to connect his back end with the front. His flat work has come a long way and in order to get his hind legs a little quicker and his body more elastic I'm doing some work in hand to teach him Piaffe.
Schooling him over xc fences he is brave and enjoys running and jumping at speed. I aim to improve his fitness and obedience over the winter and compete him at some sj shows to then introduce him to our wonderful sport next year.
As a breeding stallion he has been used several times and I can't wait to see his foals on the ground soon.
This was my personal résumé for my horses and all I need now is a motivated team around me. I'm looking for a working student and/or groom to start asap and then 2012 can come. Contact me through my website if you are interested.
All the best
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