Germany's Elmar Lesch Wins in Poland
In Poland this past weekend (June 26-26), Germany's Elmar Lesch, 48, achieved his first FEI World Cup points in style, heading an international field at Strzegom on Finch Hatton TS and rising from 13th after dressage to win with one of only two clear jumping rounds.
His compatriot, Dirk Schrade, riding his top horse Sindy 43, led after dressage and cross-country but incurred 16 jumping penalties plus 5 for time to drop to second.
Sweden's Sara Algotsson, riding her veteran home-bred team horse, Robin des Bois, was second after cross-country, but incurred 12 faults to fall to third.
Marina Kohncke, who rode at the 2000 Olympics, was back in the international frame, fourth on Calma Schely, while another rider making a comeback into the big time was seventh-placed Piotr Piasecki (Jedrusia), 55, a mainstay of the Polish team in the 1980s and '90s.
A total of 24 riders from 10 nations started, but the cross-country was to prove influential. Although there were 10 clears, only the top three riders finished with under 10 time penalties and 10 were eliminated or retired.
These included the sole Briton, Oliver Townend, who was lying second after dressage on ODT Master Rose (46) but missed out fence 7, and Madeleine Brugman (NED), fourth after dressage on Sundancer, who suffered a broken rein. The Italian show jumper, Juan Carlos Gracia, also retired with his new ride, Ypaja Karuso, formerly world bronze medal horse of Pia Pantsu (FIN).
Strzegom is a possible venue for a future World Cup final. Ground jury member Jane Tolley (GBR) said: "It was a super competition, so hospitable and welcoming. I was really impressed."
A crowd of about 5,000 attended the final day, but there was a sad postscript when the first horse in the jumping ring, Autorytet, ridden by Krrzysztof Jawid, fell and suffered fatal injuries.
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