First four-star win for Tim Price at Luhmühlen

Heading image

New Zealander Tim Price has won his first four-star title at Luhmühlen, Germany, but the event was overshadowed by a fatal accident.

Black armbands

It was decided the competition would go ahead after the death of Benjamin Winter, after his horse had a rotational fall on Saturday’s cross-country. The German rider’s family requested that the competition continue, and riders wore black armbands as a mark of respect.

Following his win, Tim Price paid tribute to the 25-year-old rider.“I would like to dedicate this win to Benjamin,” he said. “It was a very sad day yesterday. And I’d like to thank the organisers at Luhmühlen for making us all so welcome. I first came here as a visitor eight years ago and I’ve been waiting ever since to ride here.”

Tim had initially incurred 20 cross-country penalties, when it looked like Wesko had missed a flag on a brush arrowhead in the main arena. But following some debate the penalties were removed.

The pair then jumped clear in the showjumping, and was the only combination to finish on their dressage score, of 43.8pen.

Costly rail

It looked like Michael Jung, who won Luhmühlen in 2009 and 2012, would make it a hat-trick, when he took the lead after the cross-country. The German rider was last one out on the course and he was held at the start while doctors attended to Benjamin.

Unaware of the reason for the hold-up he rode a superb round with his relatively inexperienced mare, fischerRocana FST. However, Michael needed to go clear in the showjumping in order to maintain his lead. Keeping a typically cool head it looked like he would do just that, but the mare hit a rail, which moved them into second place.

Boyd Martin moved up from seventh place to third, after picking up just one time penalty in the final phase. Boyd had only been back in the saddle for a couple of weeks after breaking his leg at the end of March.

Highest placed Brit

Oliver Townend was the highest placed Brit taking the fourth slot, with Black Tie. The pair had one down in the showjumping, but Oliver was clearly delighted with the 13-year-old who was making his four-star debut.

Following his second at Badminton, Oliver is now in second place in the FEI Classics, just 10 points behind William Fox-Pitt, with one event left to go at Burghley. William was sixth after the dressage, but withdrew Cool Mountain before the cross-country.

“Cool Mountain did a lovely test yesterday scoring 43.5pen, and I was very pleased with him,” William wrote in his blog on Saturday. “Sadly he is not quite right this morning, and I have decided to withdraw him, which is a huge shame for his owner and the team.”

Change of career

Tim Price found Wesko “by chance at the end of a long, cold day” on a jumping yard where he was being competed by British rider Siobhan Edmonds. The white-faced bay gelding went on to win twice at three-star level, at Blair Castle CCI3* last year and at Tattersalls CIC3* a fortnight ago.

“I’m thrilled for my horse,” said the 32-year-old. “This is his first four-star completion, and my first visit here, and I certainly didn’t expect to be standing here as the winner.”

Like his horse, Tim started out as showjumper over in New Zealand. He competed up FEI World Cup level, before deciding his horses were better suited to eventing.

He is now based in Wiltshire in the UK with his wife Jonelle, who was a member of New Zealand’s bronze medal team at London 2012. She finished 12th and 16th at Luhmühlen.