GALWAY’s Jessica Burke finished her 2022 international campaign on a high at last week’s Stuttgart German Master when landing the first five-star victory of her career, in a year which saw her make her senior Nations Cup debut and land a hat-trick at the Horse of the Year Show.
The 30-year-old, who is based at Arion Stud in England, won Friday’s five-star 1.45m speed class at the venue aboard Inpulss, a nine-year-old mare owned by Louisa Church of Arion Stud. Germany’s Gerrit Nieberg was in the lead with Amigo 1841, setting the standard at 59.19 seconds.
However, Burke’s round was fast from the offset and taking inside turns as well as a daring run to the last double, she crossed the line with two seconds to spare in 57.17 seconds to take victory and €1,500. Denis Lynch was fifth with Dark Chocolate 48.
A day earlier, Burke and Inpulss finished runner-up in another 1.45m Table A. One of 10 clear rounds in 59.43, there were just beaten by Belgium’s Gudrun Patteet with Sea Coast Donna Z (0/ 58.10).
Burke commented: “It was simply the best week at the German Masters in Stuttgart. It was only my second five-star show and what a way to close the curtain on a phenomenal year internationally; pinching myself to be lucky enough to ride these wonderful horses at shows like this. The horses are a credit to the whole team at Arion Stud and I am so grateful to everyone who kept me going during the harder times and for keeping me grounded on the good ones. It’s time for a short break and to look back on what was an incredible year.”
Twenty-five-year-old Richard Vogel and the 10-year-old stallion United Touch S wowed their German home crowd with a superb win in the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Western European League in Stuttgart, where Denis Lynch was joint runner-up.
Some 39 of the world’s best combinations lined out for the fifth round on route to the FEI World Cup final in Omaha next April, and 13 of those made it through to the thrilling jump-off against the clock.
Vogel was sixth to go and set off at warp speed, making a heart-stoppingly tight rollback to the big wall at fence three and galloping relentlessly down to the two remaining elements of the triple combination before racing to the last to set the target at 35.35 seconds. And that proved impossible for the rest to match.
Third last to go, Denis Lynch gave the time a good rattle with Molly Ohrstrom’s 13-year-old chesnut gelding Brooklyn Heights but the pair were just off the pace in 36.80 to slot into second place. Amazingly, next to go, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat stopped the clock in exactly the same time with the nine-year-old mare Dynamix de Belheme to share second place and earn €29,750 apiece.
World number one Henrik von Eckermann, winner of the fourth round, slotted into fourth place with Iliana (0/0 37.03).
It was only Richard Vogel’s fourth show with United Touch S who was previously ridden by The Netherlands’ Bart Bless and both horse and rider were making their World Cup debut.
“I tried to just pretend it was like any other class and do everything the same. He’s a very brave horse, he always tries his best for the rider and has a lot of scope and is not spooky at all so I knew I could turn very tight to the wall,” Vogel commented afterwards.
“To be honest I was very last-minute getting in here (entry to Stuttgart) so I was already very happy just to get the chance to ride in one World Cup qualifier but I never planned to do a whole season.
“The original plan was for my horses to fly to America next week, but now we have to see if I keep one or two here in Europe and try to do one or two more shows - I just don’t know yet. First we go home, get settled and we’ll take it from there,” added Vogel, who runs VW Equestrian with top German rider David Will and his girlfriend Sophie Hinners.