For elite eventers around the world, there is but one dream: to capture one of the world’s six, four-star events. It’s a tall order for many reasons, not the least of which are hefty international travel bills, having (and maintaining) the horse power needed, and then peaking said horse power at just the right time—in just the right place, and over three, intensive days of uniquely demanding equestrian events.
The horses and riders who’ve earned the victory spot on the four-star podium are few and far between (unless you happen to be Michael Jung). But after last weekend’s Luhmühlen Horse Trials, a new rider can proudly add her name to the shortlist. Germany’s Julia Krajewski, 28, and Samourai du Thot, stood in second place after a strong showing in dressage and a clear cross-country round. She dropped a rail in Sunday’s deciding show jumping competition, but could not be caught be two of her nearest competitors, Germany’s Bettina Hoy and the UK’s Nicola Wilson.
It was also an impressive weekend for the Americans, led by Marilyn Little & RF Scandalous and Hannah Sue Burnett & Harbour Pilot, who finished fourth and eighth, respectively. U.S. riders William Coleman and Sharon White also finished in the top 15.
But, above all, Luhmühlen belongs to Julia and “Sam”, an 11-year-old Selle Français gelding, whose first CIC4* victory improved upon their already impressive third-place finish last year. Here, photographer Shannon Brinkman captures the weekend’s top highlights.