n the podium from left to right: Lauren Hough (2nd place), Grand Prix winner Henrik von Eckermann, and Christian Ahlmann (3rd place) ph: Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters/Arnd Bronkhorst.
Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann took home the top honors at the 2017 Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters, winning the feature event, the CSI3* Grand Prix, sponsored by Longines, on Sunday, October 15.
Thirty four horse and rider combinations, comprised of ten international athletes and 23 of China’s top riders, took to the 12-obstalce-course designed by Germany’s Frank and Isabel Rothenberger, and China’s Liu Shen Hao.
Due to the Chinese quarantine regulations, the international riders competed aboard borrowed horses supplied by China, whereas the Chinese riders took part with their own mounts.
Eleven proceeded to the shortened track that featured seven obstacles, with von Eckermann and borrowed horse Cincitty, the ten-year-old KWPN gelding (Numero Uno x G.Ramiro Z), producing a winning time of 35.61s. This marks von Eckermann’s first victory at the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, which hosted the week’s festivities.
“[Having been] 2nd in the grand prix two years ago, I finally managed to take the victory this time. That is a fantastic feeling,“ said von Eckermann. “A lot has happened since I last competed here two years ago. The horses are better, the footing is super, but above all, the Chinese riders have taken a huge step forward. If they manage to increase their speed in the jump-off slightly, we are really going to have to watch out next year! It is interesting to see how fast the sport is developing here.”
The aim of the Beijing Masters is to further improve the level of the Chinese riders by giving them the opportunity to compete directly against top international stars. The supporting programme of the show also includes national competitions, trainer sessions and training courses.
Coming off of her team victory in Saturday’s International Competition, USA’s Lauren Hough and her partner for the event, the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding Leonidas (Lenardo x Silvio I), rode to a 2nd place finish with a time of 36.95s.
Germany’s Christian Ahlmann closed out the podium placings with the 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding Cinetto ( Canabis Z x Nimmerdor), finishing on a time of 38.15s for 3rd place.
China’s Rima Da, winner of the first leg in the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping China League, crossed the timers aboard the 13-year-old KWPN stallion Z Wellie (Celano x Germus R) in 39.40s, securing the 4th place spot. Of the 11 athletes that qualified for the jump off, five were Chinese riders.
The full results can be viewed here.