It is not often that a rider wins a 5* eventing competition under the age of 25. (Mark Todd famously said he didn’t really start to ride properly until he was 30.)
But Mollie Summerland has just propelled herself into the eventing big time by doing exactly that.
Together with her long time partner Charly Van Ter Heiden, the British rider added nothing to their dressage score to beat a high class field that included Olympic champion Michael Jung and World top ten power couple, Tim (#2) and Jonelle (#7) Price.
Meet the newest member of the 5* Winner’s Club!
1. Luhmuhlen is only her second ever 5* competition.
Summerland and Charly made their 5* debut at Pau in 2020, where they finished 10th. In 2019, they were ninth at 4* L Boekelo, and in 2018, 13th at CIC3* Blenheim.
2. Summerland and Charly were also part of the winning Nations Cup team at CCI4* Houghton Hall in May 2021.
They were also part of the winning team in the FEI Nations Cup Final in 2019.
3. Summerland bought and then brought on Charly herself from a young horse.
The pair made their first international appearance in the CIC1* Firle in Sussex, England in 2016.
4. In 2018, the pair were ninth individually in the European Young Riders Championship in France.
5. Summerland spent time as a younger rider based with Pippa Funnell.
6. Her trainers include Carl Hester and Olivia Oakeley for dressage and Jay Halim for showjumping.
Halim also helps Laura Collett, who won the 5* at Pau last year where Summerland was tenth, so at the moment he’s two for two with his 5* riders!
7. Charly is a fully papered member of the Hanoverian Stud Book.
He was bred by Klaus Steffens, who went to watch his first go across country. He is 16.1hh and sired by Contendros Bube. He has 573 British Eventing points.
8. Summerland is the first British rider to take the Luhmuhlen title in 16 years.
Sharon Hunt was the last to do so on her 2008 Olympic ride Tankers Town.
9. Summerland will be 23 in September.
Charly is a 12 year old bay gelding.
10. It took them more than two weeks to get to Luhmuhlen.
Because of the ongoing travel restrictions in Europe, the journey to Luhmuhlen began on June 4th and included at ten-day quarantine stop over with Dutch international Tim Lipps. Normally, the drive would be about 12 hours from Calais, France.
11. According to data gurus, Equiratings, prior to the beginning of the 2021 season, Summerland and Charly were in the top 1% of their OBP rankings worldwide.
At that point they had run in 15 internationals, met over 1000 other combinations and beaten most of them! The pair can now include Michael Jung amongst that number. He was fourth in the long format class. (He won the 4* Short.)
12. Summerland year nearly took a dramatic turn for the worse
At the of 2020 Summerland had to find new stables on short notice and short funds. She was rescued from having to sell Charly by Sarah Ensor who owns Milton Stud near Marlborough in Wiltshire. Ensor’s daughter Jemima was a successful young rider herself and is now married to leading racehorse trainer, Richard Hannon.
13. Summerland subscribes to Mole wisdom
Her social media contains several quotes from Charlie Mackesy’s book called The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, which is well worth reading if you have not already done so.