The International Frankfurt Festhallen Horse Show (Germany) ended with quite a sensation on Dec. 19. In the International Mitsubishi Cup Grand Prix, Germany’s two-time European Champion Christian Ahlmann aboard Zeno 5 and Dutch rider Wout-Jan van der Schans aboard Broere VDL Atlantic both posted clear jump-off rounds in 36.14 seconds. For this unusual situation, sponsor Mitsubishi pulled a second car out off its pockets.
For Ahlmann, it was a special success, since his 17-year-old, Oldenburg gelding Zeno 5, with whom he had earned, among other things, a win in the Grand Prix of Leipzig four years ago, had been out of the sport for more than two years due to an injury, before returning this year in spite of his age.
Third place went to J?Kraus and Celestino R, who had set the mark in a faultless 36.36 seconds as the fifth of 14 competitors in the jump-off and put pressure on the following riders. It took until the third-to-last starter to top his time. Just .02 seconds behind Kraus was Jan Sprehe, just 19, aboard Paganini 82, for fourth place. In mid-November, the pair won the Grand Prix at CSI Linz (Austria).
De Sjiem, the 15-year-old gold medalist from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, had a comeback at Frankfurt. The gray gelding had produced good results at the beginning of 2004 after a long break due to an injury. His rider, Jeroen Dubbeldam, had hoped to defend his title at the Athens Olympics, but De Sjiem had to have time off again due to back problems that came up in the summer. After this, Dubbeldam had almost given up hope that his top mount would return to the sport. But, at the moment it looks good for their future. In the Grand Prix of Frankfurt the combination had a careless slip at the third element of the triple combination, knocking the oxer down with the hindquarters. But, besides this fault, De Sjiem presented himself in a very fresh, elastic manner.
Eva Bitter, aboard Argelith Stakkato, won the Championat of Frankfurt. The German rider took victory in the 12-horse jump-off in a clear round in 37.49 seconds, ahead of S? von R?, also of Germany aboard Cantaro 11, who also jumped clear, in 40.04 seconds. Fellow German Tjark Nagel aboard Cash 51 claimed third place (0/41.73).
In the Frankfurt Champions Cup, Dutch rider Gerco Schroeder, the winner of the Grand Prix of Frankfurt in 2002, took victory aboard the 13-year-old mare Eurocommerce Fortaleza. As the second-to-last starter in the seven-horse jump-off, he set the mark with a faultless round in 36.35 seconds.
The last starter, Thomas M?er and the Oldenburg stallion Asti Spumante, who won the Grand Prix of Munich in the beginning of December, tried to best Schroeder’s time, but in 37.24 seconds they became runners-up.