| AACHEN, (Phelps) - Spectators gathered at the prestigious CHIO Aachen 2012 in Germany from June 29-July 8, to watch the world’s best go neck to neck for the top prizes. As one of the most popular horse shows in the world, riders are confronted with the finest of the international horse sport, competing in the highest classes with their best mounts. Cherry Knoll Farm’s Cedric, with Laura Kraut in the irons, mastered the difficult courses throughout the week, proving consistent in their second leg of their European tour, placing third in the RWE Preis von Nordrhein-Westfalen and sixth in the Rolex Grand Prix.
Friday, July 6, Kraut guided Cedric to the third place position in the RWE Preis von Nordrhein-Westfalen. The 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding laid down a beautiful first round course, making good pace and clearing the obstacles with ease.
“It was a very difficult course,” Kraut explained. “It was set to about 1.55m, which in Aachen is big. Every year we walk into that ring, and I can’t believe how wide the fences are.”
Nineteen out of the 46 competitors cleared the first round; however, Kraut and Cedric were one of only 13 to post a double-clear effort. Even more impressively, the pair completed the short track in 49.36 seconds, using their quick pace and agility to nab the third spot just behind Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher and Embassay. Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Ferrari 111 finished in first. The event paved the way for the Rolex Grand Prix, qualifying Kraut and Cedric for CHIO Aachen’s highlight event.
“I knew that I wanted to do well in the jump-off with it being the final qualifier for the Grand Prix on Sunday, but I didn’t want to push him. I wanted to save him as much as possible, and he jumped beautifully,” Kraut described. “I was actually surprised that we came in third since we were taking it conservatively, but he did so well out there and really deserved it.”
The Rolex Grand Prix saw 34 qualified horse and rider combinations come out to the Main Stadium on Sunday, July 8. The Grand Prix consisted of two rounds and a jump-off, testing horse and rider alike as they faced the daunting courses. Germany’s Frank Rothenberger designed the 1.60m course with 13 obstacles including a double-combination, water jump and vertical-vertical-oxer triple-combination for the first round. Using only 12 obstacles in the second round, Rothenberger added a second triple combination.
Kraut deftly navigated Cedric through the first round leaving all rails intact in an impressive 75.25 seconds. Only 18 of the 34 horse and rider combinations continued into the second round of the Rolex Grand Prix, with only three posting double-clear efforts and moving into the jump-off. Cedric had one unlucky rail during the second round, finishing the class with a total of four faults and 76.75 seconds. They eventually earned the sixth place spot on the leaderboard.
“I have to say that the first round of the Rolex Grand Prix was so difficult,” Kraut admitted. “Every different element in that course was designed to make it difficult. I went 36 in the order, and I was in the mindset that we were going to go out there and do it. He performed beautiful once again, and jumped the second round brilliantly, as well.”
“It was my mistake in the second round that cost us the double-clear, if anything, Cedric listened too well to me, and as a rider’s error we had a rail,” Kraut stated. “He is in top form, and honestly my plan all along was to have him in peak condition at this time. Hopefully we’ll go all the way to the top.”
The dynamic duo will continue onto Chantilly, France where they will compete among the best in the Global Champions Tour. If their consistency from Rotterdam and Aachen are any sign, there is no doubt that they will wear a target on their back as Chantilly gets underway Friday, July 20, 2012.