Aachen, Germany—July 1
After an influential day of cross-country in Aachen, the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team (Will Coleman on Off The Record, Liz Halliday-Sharp on Miks Master C, Phillip Dutton on Z, and Tamie Smith on Mai Baum) earned second (108.2) to Germany (104.9) today in the CCIO4*-S.
Great Britain’s Yasmin Ingham picked up the individual win on Banzai Du Loir (27.1), with Smith the highest-placed U.S. rider in third (33.7). Halliday-Sharp finished fifth, and Dutton earned sixth. Will Coleman, Friday’s highest-placed rider, picked up 60 jumping and 21.2 time penalties to finish 38th.
“It feels amazing,” Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team Chef d’Equipe Bobby Costello said of the squad’s placing in what Aachen officials called the event’s strongest field ever. “You know things are headed in the right direction when you’re frustrated that you didn’t win. But I think that’s a good thing; we’re all just wanting to get better and better, but I could not be prouder of the group that was here. Absolutely the best riders in the world were all here, and it was just an intense competition from beginning to end. Today was super exciting. It was great to come out of here with this result.”
No one made the optimum time of 6:55 on Rüdiger Schwarz’s track today, but Ingham came closest by adding just 1.6 time penalties (as did fourth-placed Christoph Wahler on Carjatan S for Germany), which she considered redemption after picking up 2 time penalties in last night’s show jumping.
“I’ve been very proud of him in every phase here at Aachen this weekend,” reigning world champion Ingham said of Banzai Du Loir. “I was slightly kicking myself in the jumping yesterday; I just rode a little slow. I couldn’t fault him, but myself I was a little frustrated, so I kind of channeled that frustration into hopefully producing a good round in the cross-country, and he was excellent. He put his head and down and galloped in the straights then came back for the difficult combos. He was amazing. I’m very lucky to be sat on such an amazing horse.”
Take a peek at the Aachen CCIO4*-S cross-country track via Christoph Wahler’s round, one of the two fastest of the day:
Germany’s Michael Jung finished individual second on fischerChipmunk FRH, helping boost his team to the Nations Cup victory. He noted the ground was a factor in no one making the time: It rained on and off throughout the morning, and the grass was saturated by the last rider.
“I think it was a nice course, and he is an amazing horse,” Jung said of fischerChipmunk. “He galloped well and showed in the past really good rounds [on tough courses], so I can trust him, and I know him. The ground was a bit soft—not deep, and it was nice to gallop, but it maybe it takes a bit of energy from the horse. If you go fast you take a bit more risk than you want, and then you can have a little mistake, but I feel very happy with my horse today.”
Three U.S. team riders had clear jumping efforts. Smith and her 2023 Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*-L winner Mai Baum were fastest of the squad with 2.8 time penalties.
“It’s obviously very special to be on the podium at Aachen,” Smith said. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse, and it’s a dream to have a competitive score like that.”
Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C picked up 4.4 time on cross-country to finish fifth (36.5), and Dutton showed his experience completing a massive jump up the leaderboard—from 24th after dressage to sixth overall—with 5.2 time (38.0).
“He’s a great cross-country horse, and I went about as quick as I think we could have gone,” Dutton said. “He doesn’t have the quickest turn of foot, but he’s very rateable and accelerates well. Maybe there’s a couple of places there I could have gone a little quicker, but overall I think we had about as good as we could have done this weekend.”
Show jumping leader Tom McEwen on JL Dublin earned 33.6 cross-country penalties—20 jumping and 13.6 time—to drop to 26th place. He faulted at Fence 16B, a skinny at the Turkish Airlines Complex.
“When you’re going at that speed you add risk to the nature of the fences,” McEwen said of his runout the gelding, who finished second in his five-star debut at Kentucky this spring. “I just came a little bit quick—a lot learned. He’s still the most amazing horse I’ve ever sat on.”
Coleman also cited the speed required to be competitive for his mistake. He picked up 20 penalties for a glance-off at a skinny at Fence 16A and then crossed his tracks for an additional 40 as he made his way out. His final score was 109.3.
“I felt like I slipped on the turn to those skinnies. My horse slipped a little bit and lost his rear, and I really had no chance after that,” he said. “We were going for it, and like [Jung] said, when you’re going that fast, you bring on a little more risk, and I paid the penalty today, but my teammates carried the day. I was really proud of them and how they all rode.”
Competing as an individual, Dan Kreitl also picked up 20 penalties at 16A and 20.2 time faults on Carmango to finish 35th on a score of 83.6.
It was an overall safe day of cross-country with Aachen officials reporting no horse or rider injuries. Two riders—New Zealand’s Jonelle Price on McClaren and Germany’s Calvin Böckmann on Altair De La Cense—fell at the Rolex Complex water (Fence 9/10), and Switzerland’s Patrick Ruegg fell from Fifty Fifty at Fence 15, the trakehner. California-based Australian Rebecca Braitling tipped off Caravaggio at a brush corner at Fence 18.
Despite the steady rain, 35,000 people came to the showgrounds to spectate.