The top show jumpers closed their year in splendid fashion on Dec. 14-17 in the Frankfurt Festhalle, the legendary site, bathed in bright holiday decorations, of the Frankfurt CSI in Germany.
A tense jump-off decided the top place in the Mitsubishi Cup Masters League Final. And in the end, the last to go finished first–the reigning FEI World Cup champions Marcus Ehning and the Oldenburg stallion Sandro Boy.
As the last of the nine starters in the jump-off, they secured victory with a clear round in 33.50 seconds. The FEI World Rankings leader was, of course, happy with this result. “I am very satisfied. The Festhalle is a good site for Sandro Boy. We have won the grand prix here already in 2003,” he said with his characteristic understatement.
It was a battle of former World Cup Final winners, as Ehning took over the lead from 2005 World Cup Final winner Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. She’d ridden Checkmate to a clear round in 34.93 seconds, besting by just .08 seconds the mark set two riders before by Thomas Frühmann.
Frühmann, of Austria, won the World Cup Final in 1992. Recently, he’s come back to the top of the sport with spectacular results on the Westphalian gelding The Sixth Sense. Despite this good showing for third in the Masters League Final, the Frankfurt show had not started very successfully for Frühmann, with rails in previous classes. “I guess it is now time for a break for The Sixth Sense,” Frühmann said.
The Masters League Final had brought the best starting field seen in the Frankfurt Festhalle for quite a while. For example, Ludger Beerbaum, who placed fifth aboard Enorm with a clear jump-off, had returned to Frankfurt after a 12-year absence.
Part of the draw to Frankfurt was the new Masters League Final. Frankfurt’s show organizer, Kaspar Funke, created the competition. Riders qualified for the final in Frankfurt at six different German CSIs (Dortmund, Noerten-Hardenberg, Redefin, Donaueschingen, Bremen and Oldenburg).
“Our aim is to connect in a sportive way different high-level horse shows without influencing their special characteristic and identity. The other aim was to make the Frankfurt CSI again more attractive and bring old splendor into the Festhalle. With this aim we have succeeded,” said Funke.