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January 5, 2007

Lady Power Prevails At Stuttgart

In the 20-year history of the Mercedes German Masters competition at the Stuttgart CSI (Germany), only three women have earned the title. And this year, on Nov. 16-19, it went to Malin Baryard-Johnsson of Sweden.

Heavy odds had been favoring another woman, German Meredith Michaels-Beerbam. But Michaels-Beerbaum fell half a second short and ended up in third.

"I had reckoned on Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum to best my time since she went after me. But, it just makes me even more happy about my victory," Baryard-Johnsson said.

For Baryard-Johnsson, who has won the 2000 Olympic team silver and team silver at European and World Championships aboard Butterfly Flip, victory in the German Masters was some satisfaction for a disappointing performance at this year's World Equestrian Games (Germany). There, Butterfly Flip stopped out very early in the first course.

Some people had expected Baryard-Johnsson to retire the 15-year-old mare, but Baryard-Johnsson said, "As long as Butterfly Flip is as fit as now, I certainly will not retire her. Here at Stuttgart, she has shown how fit she is and how much fun it still is for her to jump."

In spite of her competitive career, the Swedish Robin Z daughter has already become a mother by embryo transfer, fertilized by Peter Eriksson's show jumping stallion Caldedo. Baryard-Johnsson doesn't rule out the possibility of more embryo transfers being done. "I would agree again to embryo transfer, if the owners of Butterfly Flip would wish so," she said.

While Michaels-Beerbaum didn't prevail in the German Masters, she wasn't to be denied in the Grand Prix of Stuttgart CSI-W. She and Shutterfly topped an 11-horse jump-off with a clear round in 43.71 seconds.

Germany's rising young star, Daniel Deusser, jumped into second place aboard Upsilon d'Ocquier. The 25-year-old rides for Jan Tops and has been making a big impression on the international scene this fall.

The Grand Prix of Stuttgart win had special meaning for Michaels-Beerbaum. It was her first victory in one of the big classes at the show. "Several times I have been runner-up or third in one of the two major classes at Stuttgart--now it finally worked out that I won a top class. My husband, Markus, was the first German winner of the Grand Prix of Stuttgart. He won the class in 1993, when he was just 23," she said.

"When I looked at the plate on the wall at the entrance to the VIP area listing all the winners of the grand prix, I always thought I would also like to be on this plate. I am also happy that Shutterfly is so fit after the strenuous World Championships. He had a short break after Aachen and has been competing again in the last three weeks with great success."

Gerco Schr�der now leads the Western European League World Cup standings with Ren� Tebbel, with both having 42 points. Michael Whitaker (39), who had been leading after Verona (Italy) occupies third but did not add points, retiring his horse after some faults in Stuttgart's qualifier. Michaels-Beerbaum's win moved her from 11th to fourth place in the standings.

 
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