Monday, Apr. 15, 2024

Schwizer Scores A Unique Victory At Dortmund

He one-ups Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum in a dramatic jump-off.

Pius Schwizer didn’t look like he was going very fast in the jump-off for the Grand Prix of the Federal Republic of Germany.
PUBLISHED
WORDS BY

ADVERTISEMENT

He one-ups Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum in a dramatic jump-off.

Pius Schwizer didn’t look like he was going very fast in the jump-off for the Grand Prix of the Federal Republic of Germany.

But looks can be deceiving, as Schwizer and Unique X CH loped home in front of the field, earning the top check at the Dortmund CSI, March 13-16 in Dortmund, Germany. “I knew exactly what I was doing. Unique X CH never looks very fast, but he has an extremely long canter stride and I took advantage of the fact that the course also included long lines to canter forward,” Schwizer said.

The 46-year-old Swiss rider took a chance with a long distance to the last fence that paid off by shaving a fraction of a second off Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum’s time on Checkmate 4.

It was only the second time in the 56-year history of the class that a Swiss rider had won. “This is certainly one of my greatest triumphs in my career,” Schwizer said.

Beating Michaels-Beerbaum isn’t something that happens many times in one career. But all was not well in Checkmate’s jump-off round. As always, the bay gelding was trying to go much faster than Michaels-Beerbaum wanted. He slipped in one turn and ended up at a very long distance to the next vertical. An enormous effort saw them jump the fence clear, but the round was not as smooth as Michaels-Beerbaum would have liked.

“It has been a spectacular jump-off, but not one of my best ones,” Michaels-Beerbaum said. “After [the awkward distance to the vertical], I lost my head and was totally confused. Fortunately, Checkmate took over. That we crossed the finish line without mistake was his achievement. But, trying to finish the course without further incidents, I left the door open for the last rider in the jump-off and Pius took the chance.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Michaels-Beerbaum also showed Shutterfly—just coming back after a long break from showing—in a smaller class at Dortmund but declined to jump off. “I have a strict plan for building him up toward the Olympics. Sometimes, in order to keep him sound and fit, I have to decline a jump-off,” she said.

Sandro Boy, Marcus Ehning’s ride for his 2006 FEI World Cup Final victory, was also getting back into the game after taking five weeks off to cover mares. In the grand prix, they had a time that would have been good enough for second place, but a rail put them sixth. Ehning plans to compete Sandro Boy at the FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden on Apr. 24-27.

Ehning also won the Mitsubishi Grand Prix on Saturday evening at Dortmund on Sabrina, a 9-year-old daughter of Sandro Boy.

Hermann-Josef Klöpper achieved a lifelong ambition at Dortmund, taking seventh in the grand prix. “I dreamed for a long time that I would make it into the jump-off of a major grand prix and, thanks to Diagonal, I succeeded in doing so,” Klöpper said.

Mario Stevens, a young German rider who trains with Ludger Beerbaum, was kept out of the jump-off by just 1 time fault in the first round. Last year, Stevens bought MacKinley, the experienced former mount of Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, to get mileage at the top echelons of the sport. They claimed eighth with their time fault.

Birgit Popp

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse