Home wins from Rio 2016 medallists Elke Philipp and Steffen Zeibig were not quite enough to seal a home team win for Germany at this year’s Mannheim three-star Para equestrian competition. They lost to a strong Dutch team led by Rio silver and bronze winner Rixt Van Der Horst, as the competition concluded on 9 May.
Philipp went three-for-three though in the team, individual and freestyle grade I tests, riding Fuerst Sinclair, finishing ahead of Norway’s multi Paralympian Jens Lasse Dokkan in both the individual and freestyle. Philipp’s teammate Silvia Logemann was third in the freestyle, with the Czech Republic’s Anastasja Vistalova third in the individual test.
Finland’s Jaana Kivimaki took the individual and freestyle titles in the grade II competition, on Bellilene, with Germany’s Julia Porzelt and Alina Rosenburg second and third respectively in the freestyle, and swapping those places in the individual test.
Grade III’s honours were split between world and European champion Van Der Horst and home favourite Zeibig. Van Der Horst won the team test and individual test on Uniek N.O.P., while Zeibig took the win in the freestyle on Feel Good. Both were runners-up in their other tests, with Germany’s Claudia Schmidt third in both individual and freestyle.
Germany’s multi-world, European, and Paralympic champion Hannelore Brenner made a welcome return to the podium on her new horse Kawango. She came third in the grade IV freestyle behind winner Manon Claeys of Belgium riding San Dior 2, and the Netherlands’ Lotte Krijnsen. Claeys and Krijnsen repeated those places in the grade’s individual test too, with Austria’s Bernd Brugger third in the individual.
Brenner’s podium place comes after her 2016 heartbreak when injury to her multi-medal winning horse Women of the World forced her out of the competition, at which she was going for her third successive gold medals. In a letter to supporters after the Mannheim competition, Brenner explained that she had found the first days of competition difficult but that the encouragement of her partner and trainer Dorte, and her support team spurred her on to the freestyle: “Kiwi was great when we went off, so we did a test that was easy, harmonious and easy going, and we just enjoyed it. Mannheim this year had ups and downs for me, but I believe that I take a lot for my relationship and work with Kiwi.”
The grade V competition saw wins for Switzerland’s Nicole Geiger on Phai de Lafayette. She won both individual and freestyle tests, and also took the runner-up spot in the individual test on her second horse, Ry de Lafayette. Third in the individual and freestyle was Norway’s Hege Storseth, while Italy’s Alessio Corradini took the silver spot in the freestyle.