Aachen never fails to deliver and this year it was better then ever as Team NZ took out the team competition in the CCIO for the first time and had a brilliant couple of days in the process.
Mark and Niki Ryan’s and Dr Eliza Donald’s Kiltubrid Rhapsody took the 4th spot in the team and Raps did his usual reliable test on a hot Friday afternoon in the pure dressage arena. The showjumping phase is held in the main Aachen arena which is simply incredible and the grass footing could not have been more perfect. The usual Aachen track caused its share of problems as it was tight for time and had some technical lines. Raps looked totally unfazed by being on such hallowed turf and jumped superbly to cross the lone with just 4 jumping faults and 6 time which Mark was not over happy with!
Cross country morning dawned bright and sunny and the going had been immaculately prepped by the Aachen team with much watering so the horses had a strip of bright green grass to gallop on which none of us have seen for a while! It was just what was needed to be able to give the horses a really good run and the whole team excelled themselves to jump 4 clear rounds which left them in pole position at the end of a say which saw plenty of ups and downs for other nations.
Blyth Tait and Havanna, Clarke Johnstone on Balmoral Sensation, Tim Price and Cekatinka joined Mark and Raps to hear the NZ anthem played and then had the pleasure of leading the teams in a victory gallop in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Weekends don’t really get much better than that!