Luhmühlen, Germany—June 16
For the 60th anniversary of the Luhmühlen Horse Trials, British course designer Michael Etherington-Smith has built a testing track.
Photographer Shannon Brinkman has put together a lovely photo tour of the course, and shared her impressions.
“Walking the Luhmühlen cross-country course is akin to a meditation,” she said. “It’s a field and forest adventure once you leave the arena area. There are no sounds of city life like cars, planes, or windmills—only songbirds tweeting and humming their personal tunes on the trail. Flowers, mushrooms, ferns and a variety of plant life live along the cross-country trail. A healthy potato field lines the first gallop. (Kartoffeln = German word for potato)
“Speed is an important element in the sport and ideally it is good to get the athletes a bit behind the time early on in the course so that they have to think about where they can make up time,” said Etherington-Smith. “This is not so easy at the moment but as I get to know the venue hopefully we’ll be able to find a way to make this happen.
“I also try to make riders have to make decisions as they go around the course. Horses like us can have ‘off’ days and of course the weather can have a big influence on a course and how it rides. If the weather is perfect and the ground is good it is generally easier for the horses and riders but course designers have to set courses up to be able to cope with all weathers,” he continued.
Click on the first photo to take a tour of the whole course, complete with Etherington-Smith’s comments on most of the fences: