Luhmühlen, Germany—June 12
As Day 1 of dressage at the Luhmühlen CCI**** drew to a close, a first-time four-star competitor and law student, Elaine Pen, has the lead.
The only U.S. rider to do dressage on Day 1 was Boyd Martin, who rode into 13th on Otis Barbotiere on a score of 58.5. Martin rides Shamwari on Day 2 of dressage, as will Phillip Dutton on Mighty Nice.
Pen, from the Netherlands, was overjoyed with her dressage score of 43.2 on the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. “Vira has great potential, however, she tends to tense up,” Pen said. Her mother bought Vira (Jazz—Option V, Whinny Jackson) as a foal and Pen has developed her to the four-star level.
“We worked a lot on improving this and trained among others with loud music. This has now paid off; she was totally relaxed in the arena and I am of course pleased."
Pen has quite a bit of respect for the forthcoming cross-country test on Saturday. “Of course I'm a little excited, it's my first four-star competition and also for my horse is a first. The course is long and the dimensions are impressive. But I am looking forward to it, because for me it gives the impression that it is a course that can ride well,” she said.
In 2011, Pen was the top-placed Dutch rider at the European Championships that were held at Luhmühlen, finishing 14th individually. She represented the Netherlands at the 2012 London Olympic Games on Vira, but was eliminated. The pair won the CIC***s at Fontainebleau (France) in March and Renswoude (the Netherlands) in June 2013, but withdrew from the European Championships in Malmo, Sweden after a fall on cross-country in August of last year.
New Zealander Tim Price followed with Wesco (43.8) in second and the British Willa Newton with Neelix (48.0) is in third. The best German is Andreas Ostholt with So is Et (50.5) in fourth.