Europe champion André Thieme had been sitting on his mare Chakaria for a long time, he had gotten ready to once again use all his skills for the German show jumping team – but he was able to dismount again without having achieved anything. His colleagues had already closed the bag, the final rider of the second round at the Nations Cup in Aachen was no longer needed late Thursday evening. Thieme found it “super pleasant”. And then everyone hugged each other: newcomer Jana Wargers as the starting rider, Christian Kukuk, who had been part of the German EM team last year, Janne-Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann, who gave birth to her son Friedrich in the spring and after the baby break made a rapid comeback and André Thieme, who with his qualities gave the others the necessary security to dare something. And of course Otto Becker, the national coach, who last won the legendary CHIO with a German team in 2018 and who managed to form such a strong team out of a confusing constellation.
With five minus points, the Germans won the team competition, worth a total of one million, ahead of Belgium and Great Britain, each with 8. An omen for the World Championships in August in Herning in Denmark? Becker has not yet set up his final team. But André Thieme, it can be assumed, will be there. Provided his mare stays fit.
Each their own drama
Nations Cups in show jumping are always a nerve-racking ride, especially in the traditional format with teams of four and a discarded result. And so each of the German team riders experienced their own drama. Jana Wargers, who lives in Belgium, wanted to do particularly well on her debut in Aachen and in her first round with her Holstein stallion Limbridge, she didn’t have a knockdown, but got an annoying penalty point for exceeding the time. In the second round, the 30-year-old Amazon suddenly saw one of her horse’s horseshoes fly through the air at obstacle three. And that on a course soaked from heavy rain – the North Rhine-Westphalian storm also hit Aachen. That’s why she acted too cautiously at the next turn, which resulted in a mistake on a red oxer. But why have colleagues?
Christian Kukuk, who rides for Ludger Beerbaum’s stable in Riesenbeck, made two downs with his gray stallion in the triple combination that was part of the technically very demanding final line. “Two slight careless mistakes,” he said. On lap two he made up for it with a highly focused, flawless ride. Janne-Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann from Pinneberg, on the other hand, had two clear rides with her ten-year-old gelding Messi. And that despite a mishap that happened to the two on Wednesday. She almost fell on the last jump during her preparatory jump. She was just able to save herself and the horse in dire straits. In the Nations Cup, however, the young Messi proved that he can mentally dribble around such negative experiences.
And then Thieme, the proven one. In his first and only round, the Mecklenburger remained flawless. Before the tricky triple, he changed his plan at short notice, let Chakaria make one gallop less than expected and did not ideally approach the jump. A pole rattled but didn’t fall. The next time he tried, he wanted to do better – but it never got that far.
And now? Otto Becker emphasized that he had nominated all couples for Aachen who had proven themselves in the previous Nations Cups this year. A few big names were missing, such as the experienced Marcus Ehning from Borken, who again has a championship-worthy horse available in the stallion Stargold. Daniel Deußer, last year’s winner of the Aachen Grand Prix, and Christian Ahlmann, two international German aces, are also competing in the Soers, but were not nominated for the Nations Cup. The German joy is great. But there are still many unanswered questions on the way to the World Cup.
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