Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2024

Germany Just Can’t Be Beaten In Samsung Super League Final


The U.S. team’s fourth place keeps them in the hunt for next year’s series.

U.S. Chef d’Equipe George Morris wanted one thing—U.S. show jumpers to stay in the Samsung Super League series.
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The U.S. team’s fourth place keeps them in the hunt for next year’s series.

U.S. Chef d’Equipe George Morris wanted one thing—U.S. show jumpers to stay in the Samsung Super League series.

At the Barcelona CSIO, Sept. 13-16 in Barcelona, Spain, he got that wish. The German team swept to yet another convincing victory, cementing their place atop the series standings. But the U.S. team rallied to tie for fourth with France. The result put them in fourth in the series standings, ensuring that the U.S. teams will compete in the Super League next year.

Coming into Barcelona’s final, the U.S. team stood in fifth position of the eight Super League nations. But since the points at Barcelona counted double, if the U.S. team had a miserable day and the French or Swedish—at the bottom of the standings—had a brilliant one, the United States could have dropped to last place and out of the Super League game.

In the five first shows—besides a third place at St. Gallen (Switzerland) the first weekend of June—the U.S riders had been very much at the losing end. They pulled up their boots to win at Hickstead (England) on July 29 and take second at Dublin (Ireland) on Aug. 12 to hoist the team out of the bottom of the standings.

“This summer we did not have the horse power like we had two years ago [when we won the series], but I am happy that we managed to stay in the Super League. After the weak beginning we had, this was the primary aim,” Morris said.

To fulfill this goal the experienced com-bination of Laura Kraut and her 16-year-old Dutch gelding Anthem went first for the U.S. team. The second fence destroyed hopes for a clear round, but the rest of the course, built by Germany’s Frank Rothenberger, worked out well and Kraut ended with just the 4 faults.

Second to go for the U.S. team was Christine McCrea who, with the 13-year-old Rhinelander stallion Vegas, has a very capable horse at her disposal. But at the very difficult line of a vertical to a liverpool oxer to the water jump, McCrea had a rail down at the oxer, finishing as well with 4 faults.

Todd Minikus and Olinda, an 11-year-old mare who is still inexperienced at the championship level, looked to be on their way to breaking the U.S. four-fault streak. But they didn’t escape unscathed, as the
second element of the triple combination fell.

Beezie Madden and Judgement provided the only clear first round for the U.S. team. Madden is the only one of more than 60 riders participating in this year’s Super League who competed in all eight Super League Nations Cups.

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Germany opened the class with a clear round from Christian Ahlmann and Lorenzo. When Marco Kutscher and the just-8-year-old gray stallion Cornet Obolensky and Marcus Ehning and the Oldenburg stallion Sandro Boy delivered clear rounds as well, Thomas Mühlbauer and Asti Spumante were the drop result with 8 faults. Germany took over the lead after the first round with a clear account.

Four teams were tied for second place with 8 faults—the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. The Swedes, ranked in eighth place of the Super League standings before the final, were buoyed by the clear rounds of Helena Lundbäck on Madick and Royne Zetterman on Isaac.

In the second round, Ahlmann led off the German effort with another clear round. The German team, due to its wins at La Baule (France), Aachen (Germany) and Dublin, could have been just fifth at Barcelona and still have won the series. Mühlbauer—an amateur rider who owns and runs a hotel in Bavaria—and Kutscher each had a rail down in the second round, but the German margin of victory was so assured that Ehning did not have to return.

While the German team distanced themselves from the pack, the other eight teams did battle until their last rider jumped. For the United States, Kraut had the second fence down again and then another
rail for 8 faults. The second fence fell for McCrea as well, but she kept the rest up for a four-fault score.
Minikus and Madden kept the 4-fault theme of the day going with their second rounds, so the U.S. team had a two-round total of 20, tying them with France.

The French team, which had won the first three Super League titles in consecutive years in 2002, ’03 and ’04, had to say goodbye—at least for 2008—to the Super League Nations Cup events.



Jurado Makes Spain Proud In Grand Prix

Hometown fans had to be content with the Spanish team’s sixth place in the Nations Cup, but in the Longines Grand Prix they had good reason to cheer. Their own Ricardo Jurado and Procasa Julia Des Brumes topped the star-studded international field.

Jurado spent from 1997 to 2003 working in the stable of Michael Nixdorf in Germany. When Nixdorf dissolved his show barn, Fernando Sarasola asked Jurado to come to his barn near Madrid. Sarasola has represented Spain himself in many international championships, but is now concentrating on running a construction company. He bought Julia Des Brumes for Jurado as a 6-year-old.

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“When I tried the horse, I immediately fell in love with her. She has a very difficult character and behaves pretty silly in the warm-up, kicking out at other horses, but in the ring she is just super and very ambitious,” Jurado said.

Jurado is the first Spanish rider to win the grand prix at Barcelona since Sarasola himself in 1999 aboard Emilio.



Conflicting Accounts

Marcus Ehning has had a rollercoaster two years. After winning the 2006 FEI World Cup Final aboard Sandro Boy, Ehning dropped from golden-boy status at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, where Noltes Küchengirl stopped in the Nations Cup.

The nightmare repeated at this year’s European Show Jumping Championships, where Noltes Küchengirl and Ehning were eliminated for stops in all of the three rounds. But Ehning finished the Super League as the leading rider, with two double-clear and four single-clear rounds.

But Ehning didn’t look happy. “I had a very good Super League season. But in the next year I will certainly ride less in Nations Cups, since they are supposed to be a preparation for the Olympic Games and I have been already told by the German federation that I have no chance to compete in the 2008 Olympics with the horses I have currently at my disposal,” Ehning said.

The head of the German show jumping committee, Peter Hofmann, responded to Ehning’s statement with some astonishment. “I am really surprised that Marcus said something like that. We just have nominated the members of our A cadre for 2008, which have in general a chance to go the next championship, which will be the 2008 Olympics. Marcus is a member of this A cadre. So I do not know why he is saying something like that.”

Noltes Küchengirl did compete at Barcelona, jumping clean in a 1.40-meter class. She was also entered in a 1.55-meter class, but Ehning scratched her after walking the course. German team coach Kurt Gravemeier said, “The course was still too demanding for the horse at the time. She has to be built up slowly again.”

Birgit Popp

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