The German team made their first appearance in FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2015 a winning one when they arrived on British soil and captured the third leg in the beautiful and historic surroundings of Houghton Hall (GBR) this weekend.
The home side, Great Britain, finished second out of the six teams and now heads the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing leaderboard by just one point from France, who came third at Houghton Hall. Both nations have competed in all legs this season so far. The Netherlands took fourth place, ahead of Spain, fifth, and a three-man Australian team placed sixth.
Although Germany has enjoyed great success in the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, winning two out of three series, this is the first time they have managed to triumph at the British leg.
“We are very happy to win here in England,” said team manager Hans Melzer. “The three boys were all clear inside the time, which meant that Sandra [Auffarth, the team anchor], on a younger horse, could afford not to rush and let the horse find a rhythm.”
He added: “The facilities here are super and the Cross Country was really fun and encouraged forward riding. The ground was perfect after the rain.”
Andreas Ostholt was pathfinder for the German team on his lovely horse So Is It and eventually finished second behind French team member Luc Chateau (Propriano de l’Ebat), who led throughout the competition, only adding 1.6 Cross Country time penalties to his excellent Dressage mark of 35.3.
“I’m really happy with the little guy,” Ostholt said of his horse. “I always enjoy coming to Houghton; it’s one of the best events in England.”
His team mates, 20-year-old Niklas Bischorer (Tom Tom Go 3), who is currently based in Britain, and the very experienced Dirk Schrade (Hop And Skip), were fourth and fifth. World champion Sandra Auffarth on Ispo added 9.6 Cross Country time faults to her Dressage score of 50.2 to finish 20th.
Former dual European champion Pippa Funnell (GBR), called into service for the British team, finished third on Billy the Biz, one of the young competition horses produced by the Funnells’ Billy Stud.
“We are all really excited to have finished second to such a strong German team with an inexperienced team of horses,” said Funnell.
Sarah Bullimore (GBR) was 10th on Conpierre and Francis Whittington (GBR) was 12th on West Side. Young rider Georgie Strang (GBR), who made her FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing debut at Ballindenisk (IRL) last month, was 16th on Ascot H.
The French were second after Dressage, but lost ground when their best-placed rider, Alexis Gomez (Rien Qu’un Crack), had a run-out when lying in fifth place.
Tim Lips (NED) was the best-placed of the Netherlands team, in sixth on Bayro, but Merel Blom incurred 20 penalties on Chiccolino and Jan van Beek was eliminated on Diamond Lancer.
Alberto Hermoso Farras finished best of the Spanish team, in 29th place on Mirla. Kevin McNab, ninth on Casperelli, was best of the Australian team but they only started with three riders and their chances went when Andrew Hoy and The Blue Frontier were eliminated on the Cross Country.
Next month the action moves to Strzegom in Poland, scene of the 2017 FEI European Championships, where it’s anticipated that the mighty Germans will strengthen their position on the leaderboard.
1 Germany 131.3 - Andreas Ostholt/So Is It, 41.0; Niklas Bischorer/Tom Tom Go 3, 45.0; Dirk Schrade/Hop And Skip, 45.3; (Sandra Auffarth/Ispo, 59.8)
2 Great Britain, 146.1 - Pippa Funnell/Billy the Biz, 42.0; Sarah Bullimore/Conpierre, 50.6; Francis Whittington/West Side, 53.5; (Georgie Strang/Ascot H, 55.1)
3 France, 157.7 - Luc Chateau/Propriano de l’Ebat, 36.9; Regis Prud’hon/Debiut, 59.0; Camille Lejeune/R’ du Temps Bliniere, 61.8; (Alexis Gomez/Rien Qu’un Crack, 71.4)
4 The Netherlands, 246.3 - Tim Lips/Bayro, 45.8; Iris Pemen/Weerings Junior, 90.5; Merel Blom/Chiccolino, 110.0; (Jan van Beek/Diamond Lancer, 1,000)
5 Spain, 251.5 - Albert Hermosa Farras/Mirla, 69.9; Manuel Senra Chover/Cruising By, 88.9; Eduardo Via-Dufresne Mestres/Eclipse del Trebol, 92.7; (David Roldan Menacho/Ingrato, 1,000)
6 Australia, 1114.8 - Kevin McNab/Casperelli, 48.2; Christopher Burton/Monarchs Exclusive, 66.6; Andrew Hoy/The Blue Frontier, 1,000
See full results online here.
FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2015 Leaderboard after 3 out 8 events
1 Great Britain 28 points
2 France 27 points
3 = Australia 14
3 = The Netherlands 14
5 Germany 11
6 Ireland 9
7 Spain 6
See full leaderboard here