The German team again showed their liking for the beautiful surroundings of Houghton Hall (GBR), third leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2016, and won for the second year running, narrowly beating Australia by just 0.4 penalties.
The French, who are having a brilliant season, were third and now head the 2016 series leaderboard ahead of host nation Great Britain, who finished fourth, while Nicola Wilson, who was not in the team, finished first and third on the individual leaderboard.
When asked the secret of Germany’s extraordinarily consistency, team trainer Christopher Bartle replied: “We have a great team spirit, which I treasure, and we work to maintain it. The riders support each other and they respect each other’s opinions because they all want to get better, however good they are.”
He added: “I like Houghton. It’s a good track in a lovely park. The timing is right for us (in May) and we are always well looked after. I never have a problem getting riders to come here.”
Peter Thomsen, a long-standing member of the German team, agreed: “This is my first time at Houghton and I am very impressed. The course is good for galloping and for training horses. It has typical British questions and you have to ride fast to make the time. We have a good system of getting information back to each other during the day and Chris gives us feedback in the warm-up.”
Germany led after the Dressage phase, just slipping behind Australia in the Jumping phase when Bettina Hoy and Seigneur Medicott hit two rails. But then the Australians, led by triple Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hoy (on Rutherglen), could not match the Germans for overall Cross Country speed and the latter was able to regain supremacy.
New Zealand, winners of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing at Houghton Hall in 2014, were third after Dressage, but slipped to fifth behind Britain with two Jumping fences down for Mark Todd and too many Cross Country time penalties between them. Tim Price finished best of the quartet on Bango, a good result after their fall so close to home at Kentucky last month.
The Cross Country track at Houghton had been verti drained in the dry weather and rode well with few faults incurred. The most influential fences were a double of corners at fence 10, where Britain’s Izzy Taylor had a run-out on Call Me Maggie May, and the four-element water complex at 12.
1 Germany 137.1 penalties Josephine Schnauffer/Sambuuca 10, 44.0; Peter Thomsen/Horseware’s Barney, 44.7; Bettina Hoy/Seigneur Medicott, 48.4 (Josefa Sommer/Hamilton 24, 60.6)
2 Australia 137.5 Andrew Hoy/Rutherglen, 42.7; Sam Griffiths/Beaurepaire Nemo, 46.6; Tim Boland/GV Billy Elliot, 48.2 (Kevin McNab/Wonham Wot Next, 88.0)
3 France 146.4 Matthieu Van Landeghem/Trouble Fete ENE HN, 40.4; Didier Dhennin/Troubadour Camphoux, 52.1; Geoffroy Soullez/Madiran du Liot, 53.9 (Denis Mesples/Oregon de la Vigne, 78.6)
4 Great Britain 152.3 Sarah Bullimore/Valentino V, 44.1; Laura Collett/Mr Bass, 47.4; Coral Keen/Wellshead Fare Opposition, 60.8; (Izzy Taylor/Call Me Maggie May, 76.7)
5 New Zealand 160.8 Tim Price/Bango, 47.7; Caroline Powell/Onwards and Upwards, 53.6; Mark Todd/Obos Columbus, 59.5 (Jesse Campbell/Cleveland, 62.1)
6 Netherlands 209.8 Renske Kroeze/Jane Z, 67.4; Althea Bleekman/Ziomf, 78.4; Wilken Jordy/Chapeau Spirit, 64.0 (Eef Hamers/Capri Van’t Gestelhof, EL XC)
7 USA 1,163.0 Katherine Coleman/Longwood, 61.7; Tiana Coudray/Sambuca F, 101.3 (Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp/Fernhill By Night, EL XC)
See full standings here.