Things already started getting serious for the Chinese riders today at the “Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters“: The first national competitions were on the agenda on the first day of the show. For the top international riders, who are competing in the Olympic Stadium in Beijing this weekend, the first show day was, however, totally different: For them it was time to try out their borrowed horses. Because due to the Chinese quarantine regulations, the foreign riders are not allowed to bring their own horses with them to China, instead Chinese horses are placed at their disposal for the competitions.
In an official warm-up on the holy grass of the “Bird’s Nest“, Scott Brash, Jeroen Dubbeldam and their colleagues were able to take part in a training session on the new four-legged partners, which the co-organiser Ludger Beerbaum had allocated to them. “I am very pleased with ‘Exilio’”, commented Simon Delestre after his practice ride. “We have still got to get used to each other a bit, but he jumped super,“ the European bronze medallist said about his borrowed horse. The other riders didn’t complain either, as Ludger Beerbaum confirmed: “The horses are in good shape and I didn’t hear any complaints from the riders. Nobody wanted to swap horses after their ride. So, now everything can get started!“
Although he is co-organising the event, Ludger Beerbaum didn’t want to miss out on taking part in the competitions himself. Incidentally, his borrowed horse “Leonidas“ has a very famous co-owner: The football World Champion, Thomas Müller.
Whereas Müller will be concentrating on winning his German football league game on Saturday afternoon, for the eleven-year-old Westphalian-bred gelding the first big challenge is on Saturday evening: The floodlit team jumping competition. Here, each team, comprising of one international rider and two Chinese riders, will be battling for victory. None of the team members can afford to pick up faults, because there is no scratch result – each of the scores of the three rides counts towards the team result. Simon Delestre found this to be “a fantastic concept. This evening the teams are being drawn and I am already looking forward to my two Chinese partners. It is going to be a really exciting competition!”
All of the results can be found here, further information on the “Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters” is available at www.beijingmasters.com.