British riders impress in Luhmühlen Horse Trials final results

  • British riders impressed on the final day of the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials with four combinations in the top 10 five star results.

    Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI, owned by Carole Somers and John Johnston, topped the week’s UK success stories.



    This is by far the best five-star result for Kirsty, who was in tears as she tried to put into words what it meant to her after years of bribery. Her next best finish at this level was in Pau in 2015, where she placed 20th.

    “Maybe tomorrow it will sink,” Kirsty said in a choked voice, the words too small to convey the enormity of the journey and all those involved in it.

    Kirsty is five-star veteran and a common face in top finishes at other international levels over the years, but June was a seismic breakthrough month for the 33-year-old.

    After a badminton horse trial that did not go to plan and resulted in Kirsty and Classic VI going home from Nyetimber Corners at fence 20, they were diverted. First to Millstreet CCI4*-S where Kirsty clinched her first ever four star win, then to Luhmühlen where her German fairy tale became a reality.

    Kylie Roddy on Fox Family’s SRS Kan Do and Fiona Kashel aboard Frank Breach’s WSF Carthago finished sixth and seventh respectively, which were also their best five-star results.

    Kylie and Fiona, who have traveled down together and could be seen ringside all week supporting one another, have both gone from their five-star debuts to top 10 finishes at that level in eight months .

    “The rail was completely my fault so I feel like I let him down a bit when he jumped out of his socks,” said Kylie, already thinking about what she could do to improve her performance to increase this phase.

    “He’s a really good jumper and he’s got a canter that you can just go further to the fence with and he wants to be careful on the fence. That gives him his super power.

    “I’m proud of him, our journey and that the system we have at home is working for him. Whenever we come across something, whether it’s a management issue or a driving issue, we try to solve it. Sometimes I have to hold myself accountable. The most important thing when trying to get those results is to look back at each phase and be really honest with yourself about where you were good and where you need to go and practice.

    “A lot of people think I’m negative about how I dissect this. But without being honest about the parts that aren’t ideal, there’s no way to move forward and be better the next time you go out.”

    Kylie, who, like Kirsty, was diverted from badminton, found insights there that stood her in good stead for Luhmühlen. The 12-year-old Fox family gelding lost a shoe playing badminton, so Kylie pulled him up at the Vicarage Ditch to save him for another day. Another lost shoe at Little Downham led to a rethink from farrier Grieg Elliott, which paid off at Luhmühlen.

    “I’m always proud of him – when the shoe fell off in badminton I couldn’t be proud of him because everything he’d done up to that point was so good,” Kylie said.

    “You control the controllable, but the uncontrollable came and got us that day. I keep calling it our “five star short” because in a way it got here and capitalized on it again. The horse is a real machine across the country.

    “He’s had his little things in the past where he was a big, delicate horse and I didn’t have the steering quite right. But in his heart and in his head he wants to jump the fence and gallop like a demon and that makes him an event horse.”

    Show jumping is Fiona’s strongest phase and her experience showed with one of the few clear jumps over Marco Behrens course. The pair added 0.8 of a jumping time penalty to their two-stage score, finishing with 37.3.

    “I was just grateful that I got through badminton and now I’m seventh in the second five-star tournament I’ve done!” she said.

    “He’s a really good jumper. He came out fresh this morning, and he was fresh when he finished the cross-country cool-down area. It’s a freak of nature. He’s amazing, he did a really good test and he jumped with his feet perfectly.”

    Oliver Townend and Lukas, with whom he was on a fact finding mission this week, completed the British quartet in the top-10, finishing eighth with 38 points for Lukas’ owner Sir John Peace.

    The stars weren’t set for all Brits this week. Cross-country day broke hearts for Tom McEwen and Bubby Upton, while today’s show jumping saw David Doel and Ferro Point fall within reach of the finish line – and a potential top 10 finish.

    David and the pretty little mare, owned by Christine Lees, had clear-jumped to the last fence when the saddle – which had apparently begun to slip during the lap – slipped to a point of no return, and David only jumped a few meters from the saddle was the finish line.

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