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December 2003 - Nr. 12


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German Rider...
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German Rider Showed Kindness To Canadians

Special to Echo Germanica

by Constance Scrafield-Danby

Wednesday night at the annual Royal Winter Fair saw riders competing for one of many grand prizes that make the Royal Horse Show an important international event.

Typically, there were two rounds of jumping. The first established the leaders in the class with those who could finish "clean." This means that a horse and rider were able to do the round of jumps without knocking any bars off and without the horse refusing a jump. Time is also an element in this round, when each competitor has to finish the round in a minimum set time.

In the second round, those that did finish clean have a chance to place for the top prizes in another go with fewer, higher jumps and where the timing dictates the winner. In other words, two riders might jump clean, but the deciding factor is the time in which each rode the course.

In this class, John Whittaker from the U.K. did an absolutely steaming ride, cutting all the corners, to establish a virtually unbeatable time of 32.2 seconds, in the second round.

Faced with the unlikelihood of taking first place away from Whittaker, German rider, Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst, took an extremely common sense approach to his second chance in this competition. A really fast ride is fraught with risk, both to horse and rider, which, of course, is what makes it so attractive to spectators. However, Pollmann-Schweckhorst had no need to take this risk in order to win a ribbon in this prestigious event. So, he and his horse, Diamonds Daylight, did the round in reasonable, but not lightening, time and, most importantly, clean. A good move, it won him a respectable third ribbon.

I was sitting with Alan Chelser, watching this class. The Chelsers are a Canadian family, very involved with the international horse jumping world. Their daughter, Frankie Chelser, has been an up and coming young rider since her early teens. Now, at 23 years, Frankie is in full competition at the top level, hoping to participate on behalf of Canada in the Olympics and continue in other top international events around the world.

Together with other young riders, who are members of "Jump Canada", a part of the Federal Equestrian Association, Frankie and Alan went to Scandinavia two years ago on a series of Nation Cup events in four countries. While they were there, they were invited to ride in some other competitions in Germany, additional to the shows they were there to do.

Alan told me about meeting Pullmann-Schweckhorst at many of the shows they attended and about how kind and helpful he was when they met him.

Said Chelser: "He was always there to give us tips about the courses and encourage Frankie. He was a real gentleman."

Frankie told me: "I always had the feeling that the European riders were glad to have us there. There was always a good welcome wherever we went."


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