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The WoSJ show review; Katharina Offel on Saut Hermès

Monday, 17 March 2014

This weekend Katharina Offel does the WoSJ show review on the beautiful Saut Hermès show in Paris. Kathi had a great weekend at the show, ending third in the feature class on Saturday riding Charlie and then going on to be third in the Grand Prix on Sunday with Lacontino. As Kathi concludes; Saut Hermès is one of the events where she had the most luck during her career!

"The Saut Hermès is simply the most beautiful show I know. The first time I walked in to the Grand Palais I was left without words, it is almost overwhelming how it looks with the glass roof and constructions in there – it's just such a unique building which gives you the feeling you are a part of something really special. The atmosphere is super! The French crowds are very knowledgeable, and I really thought it was cool with the illustrations of the course that Michel Robert was doing – allowing the audience to really understand the difficulties of the track before the competition begins.

What the organizers are doing with this event is incredible. Just to be able to welcome the riders to the middle of Paris with the horses stabled on the Champs-Élysées – and then letting us ride in this ring. It's just very hard to match this show! The infrastructure is also good, with the stables close to the Grand Palais – and then the hotel just a short walk away. Everybody are so friendly as well, and you get the feeling every single person at this show – from the people in the show office, to the grooms to the riders – are just happy to be a part of it. At least that's how I feel. And if it goes well sport wise it just feels like a bonus. To be competing in the middle of the city like that also allows you to do a few other things as well, and I really got to enjoy Paris with my friends.

Sport wise it was also a great weekend! After both Charlie and Lacontino had jumped their first classes on Friday they were feeling good, although Charlie was a little spooky with the sun shining through the ceiling with the shadows on the ground. On Saturday I only jumped Charlie in the team competition. I was lucky to get teamed up with Christian Ahlmann who is a fantastic rider, and he was like me riding a Cornet Obolensky-son – Cornado II, who is actually full brother of Marcus Ehning's Cornado NRW. In the first round we both had the same fault, and had the last element of the triple down and we were quite far down on the results list. But we bounced back, and with two clear rounds in the second round we ended third! At Saut Hermès you really want to make it into the top three so you can get one of the beautiful blankets there – they are so pretty! I was very happy with Charlie as he is jumping better and better at the moment.

Then to end third in the Grand Prix on Sunday was not something I expected. Lacontino has been jumping very consistent the last months though, and on Sunday he was just incredible in the first round – I could not be happier with him. In the jump-off my plan was to do five strides forwards on the last line, but then he decided to put in a little buck and my distance was not there anymore and the pole fell. Anyway I was so happy with the result, and I don't think I could have matched the times of Marcus and Patrice anyway.

There is only one thing to say about Marcus' rounds yesterday; they were perfect. His precision when he rides is only to admire, and I really enjoy watching him in the ring. I was very happy for both him and also his groom Kay who I have known for years. Lacrimoso – Patrice Delaveau's horse – I had from he was four to he was sold to Patrice's owners as an eight year old. So for me it is always special when he does well, and I am so happy he came to a home and a rider like that. After watching yesterday I have to say that both Marcus and Patrice looks strong for the World Cup Final, it will be exciting to watch them there.

Well, after this weekend I think I can conclude that Saut Hermès is my lucky event. I won the Grand Prix there two years ago, and won a speed class there last year – and now a weekend like this! I already look forward to going there next year!"

As told to WoSJ by Katharina Offel

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