An early start for the crew as the jogs for the 5L and the 4S started before 8am and it was nice to see that the sun had finally decided to make an appearance.  Viscount Viktor looked great in the 5 star and  the three 4S horses, Hiarado (Jools), Coup de Coeur Dudevin (Joker) and Falco, all gleamed in the sunshine as they strutted up the strip.

It was a meaty track that had been built for the 5 star and considering that the footing yesterday was great and the jumping was on a surface you would have maybe expected more than the eventual 6 clears under time that were on the board at the end of the class.  Victor did his best but with a big track, a buzzy atmosphere and his tendency to invert into his fences when he gets keen it was a challenge, and he was not alone in picking up 12 jumping faults.  He picked up 4 time as well but that was as Tim gave him as good a chance as he could to jump a smooth round and he finished with a solid MER at the level and a huge amount of experience gained.  Victor headed back to the comparative quiet sanctuary of the stables and a plan to have an afternoon kip and to wonder why he had been taken to the end of the barn earlier to meet his full sister.  It turned out that Very Special, as the 9 year old chestnut mare is called, wasn’t much keen on meeting her brother either as they stared at each other with a sort of “am I supposed to know you” look but much more similarity was revealed when she jumped in the 4S wearing a titanium hood!

The word was that the Germans had requested a “proper” track for their final Olympic prep which also was the German National Championship.  It certainly seemed like a championship course and it was a real test of ride-ability and athleticism coupled with a tight time allowed.  Tim and Joker went early and out of order as he had two rides and Joker was pretty determined not to have any time faults.  He was so enthusiastic to get the job done he was quite a handful for Tim and his only mistake was when he ran deep into the first element of the treble and paid the price with a rail.  He did well to back himself up for the next two elements and finished looking very pleased with himself.  Joker has been a trouper all week and he gained his Paris qualification in style.

Jonelle and Jools were warming up with Luis Alvarez Cevera and discussing tactics whilst Jools jumped the fences with her trademark ‘ears back’ face on.  People think she is grumpy, but she isn’t, it is just her ‘concentration’ look and one she has perfected.  Jonelle went into the arena agreeing to Luis’s plan of six strides down to the last line, jumped an immaculate clear including going  down to the last on 5!

Jools looked very pleased with herself, as well she might, and headed back to the stables as Jonelle went to help Luis with Tim and Falco.  We are used to it but there was not a competitor on the warm up that did not stop and stare at Falco as he jumped his warm up fences somewhere above the wings.  When he then jumped the first fence in the arena in the same style several other team managers looked a little gloomy and by the time he had completed his “I am an pure jumper at heart” routine clear round they looked distinctly miserable.  Falco maybe indeed our not-so-secret weapon in a few weeks.

Tim’s face said it all as he crossed the finish line….thank God Luhmuhlen is over!  Eventing rarely follows the script but with the wins in the 4S and the 5L veering off piste it just shows all the ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ moments we encounter.  Ros Canter and Izilot DHI handed Lara de Liedekerke-Meier and her homebred Hooney d’Arville the win in the 4S with 2 rails and 2 time from her seemingly unassailable lead in the 5 and Michi Jung picked up a rail and 0.8 time on fischerChipmunk to gift the win to Yas Ingham and Banzai du Loir.

Good job Team Price!

NZL-Tim Price rides Viscount Viktor during the Showjumping for the CCI5*-L. 2024 Longines Luhmuehlen Horse Trials. Sunday 16 June. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
NZL-Jonelle Price rides Hiarado during the Showjumping for the CCI4*-S – Meßmer Trophy. 2024 Longines Luhmuehlen Horse Trials. Sunday 16 June. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
NZL-Tim Price rides Coup de Coeur Dudevin during the Showjumping for the CCI4*-S – Meßmer Trophy. 2024 Longines Luhmuehlen Horse Trials. Sunday 16 June. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography