Thursday, Apr. 18, 2024

Ehning Is On A Mission At ‘s-Hertogenbosch

This talented German rider is back on top with a foot-perfect jump-off.

Germany’s Marcus Ehning has something to prove to his nation, and he began that quest with a resounding win in the ’s-Hertogenbosch CSI-W aboard Sandro Boy in the Brabanthallen in ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, on March 30.

Two years ago they won at the Rolex FEI World Cup Final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but since then Ehning has experienced a few crushing disappointments.
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This talented German rider is back on top with a foot-perfect jump-off.

Germany’s Marcus Ehning has something to prove to his nation, and he began that quest with a resounding win in the ’s-Hertogenbosch CSI-W aboard Sandro Boy in the Brabanthallen in ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, on March 30.

Two years ago they won at the Rolex FEI World Cup Final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but since then Ehning has experienced a few crushing disappointments.

Noltes Küchengirl let him down first at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, and then again at the European Championship last summer in Mannheim, Germany, where she stopped out repeatedly. He was told he wouldn’t be welcome on this year’s German Olympic team.

So it was a particularly sweet victory for Ehning, who’s spent the past six months working with the Netherlands’ Henk Nooren to help regain his winning form.

“I’m 33, and I haven’t really had a trainer for 10 years,” said Ehning. “Ludger [Beerbaum] helps me, and everybody helps each other at the shows, but sometimes it’s quite good to stay on the ground at home and see different things and other ideas. You can always learn something more. I’ve known Henk for a really long time, and we think on the same level.”

As the last rider to go in the 11-horse jump-off, Ehning knew the final FEI World Cup qualifier of 2008 was his to win or lose.

Fellow German Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum had already sped around the course aboard Checkmate to finish in 31.82 seconds.

All Out Was The Only Option

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Ehning’s only option was to risk everything with Sandro Boy, and he knew the open, galloping course suited his stallion’s enormous stride. The 15-year-old Oldenburg (by Sandro) ate up the six strides between the first two jumps.

He made the sharpest turn of any of the competitors to the one-stride vertical-to-oxer double combination. Sandro Boy hardly had two strides to see the combination, but he jumped nimbly through. And then there was only the last bogey vertical, a fence that came off a gallop the entire length of the arena.

Ehning barely needed to balance Sandro Boy at all, jumping out of stride and finishing in 31.61 seconds, just .21 seconds ahead of Michaels-Beerbaum. Sweden’s Rolf-Göran Bengtsson placed third with Ninja La Silla.

It’s A Fierce Competition For A Guaranteed Spot

The complete roster for the 2008 Rolex FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, April 23-27, isn’t quite finished, but after 12 competitions the Western European League standings are complete.

The Final will showcase about 40 of the world’s best show jumpers, and the top 18 from the WEL are guaranteed a place. Both the Fédération Equestre Internationale and the Gothenburg Organizing Committee have a few wild cards to hand out as well. Last year’s winner, Beat Mändli of Switzerland, also has a spot at the Final.

The top 18 from the WEL are as
follows:
1. Jessica Kürten (Ireland)
2. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Germany)
3. Rutherford Latham (Spain)
4. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (Sweden)
5. Gerco Schröder (the Netherlands)
6. Marcus Ehning (Germany)
7. Ludger Beerbaum (Germany)
8. Steve Guerdat (Switzerland)
9. Tim Stockdale (Great Britain)
10. Patrick McEntee (Belgium)
11. Albert Zoer (the Netherlands)
12. Eugénie Angot (France)
13. Helena Lundbäck (Sweden)
14. William Whitaker (Great Britain)
15. Harrie Smolders (the Netherlands)
16. Heinrich Hermann Engemann (Germany)
17. Michael Whitaker (Great Britain)
18. Judy-Ann Melchior (Belgium)

“It was really close, and for a few tenths you need a bit of luck,” he said. “I’m really happy with this jump-off. I think it was one of the best jump-offs I’ve ever had. It was a very good flowing round for me, and he was not stressed. To the last jump he was very relaxed and really concentrated. He jumped really well, and I had a super nice feeling. At the finish line he was not crazy. He was really quiet.”

Two riders went faster—the Netherlands’ Gerco Schröder and Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum. But both riders had one rail down.

Beerbaum and Goldfever took down the liverpool oxer, which was the penultimate fence, and Schröder and Eurocommerce Milano ticked the last vertical, a fence that also came down for three other riders including Ireland’s Jessica Kürten, who finished the season atop the World Cup Western European League standings.

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Ehning expressed enthusiasm about Louis Konickx’s course. “It was really tough and really big, but fair for the horses,” he said. “I wouldn’t have believed in the beginning that 11 clears would happen. But the result was really fine.”

He plans to take Sandro Boy to Doha, Qatar, for the Global Champions Tour in April, and then he’ll continue on to the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

She’ll Take Second Place

Although Michaels-Beerbaum said she likes to win, she wasn’t at all disappointed to place second to Ehning.

“I felt I had a super jump-off round,” she said. “There was maybe one less stride I could have done to No. 3 in the jump-off, but I didn’t want to overdo it so early on in the jump-off. I knew Marcus Ehning with Sandro Boy is a combination that’s always dangerous. As last to go I figured he would give everything, and he got it done today.”

Michaels-Beerbaum also expressed how pleased she was to get the 13-year-old Checkmate back in the ring.

“He was injured for a little while and came back in Dortmund [Germany] and was second there in the grand prix and second today. I’m thrilled with how he’s jumping,” she said.

She’ll take Checkmate to Doha, but she plans to ride Shutterfly at the World Cup Final.

Forty horse-and-rider combinations entered the ’s-Hertogenbosch CSI-W, the last of 12 World Cup qualifiers for the Western European League. Twelve riders ended up with just one rail down, while 1 time fault kept Italy’s Jonella Ligresti out of the jump-off with Nanta.

A few riders gained valuable points that solidified their spots in the standings. Judy-Ann Melchior of Belgium squeaked into 18th place after adding 4 points for her speedy four-fault round aboard Levisto Z.
France’s Eugénie Angot rode the first clear round of the competition with Ilostra Dark, and her eighth-placed finish boosted her to 12th in the standings. 

Sara Lieser

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