In terms of memorable birthdays, Felix Vogg will have a hard time topping 32.
On Sunday, June 19, the Swiss Olympian celebrated his 32nd spin around the sun and first ever five-star victory. The world No. 27 captured the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI5*-L in Germany aboard his Olympic mount, Colero, finishing the week as they started it—on a dressage score of 29 penalties.
More impressive still: it’s their third FEI victory in five starts this year. The pair previously won a CCI3*-S in Radolfzell, GER in April (again finishing on their dressage score) and a CCI4*-S in Baborowko, POL in May (adding just 4.4 penalties in cross country).
Vogg laid the path to victory in Luhmühlen with a fourth place finish in dressage on Friday. Come Saturday, he and Colero took over the lead with a double clear trip on cross-country. With less than .6 penalty points separating the top three on the leaderboard—World No. 10 Tim Price (NZL) and Vitali on 29.1 and World No. 1 Oliver Townend and Dreamliner with 29.6—there was little margin for error heading into Sunday’s show jumping.
Vogg delivered with a clear within the time allowed.
“When I rode into the arena, I just focused on keeping calm and tried to blank out everything else. That took the pressure off me and also off the horse, which was important. Even with a pole, the result would have been a personal highlight. He can jump fantastically and he showed that today,” said Vogg.
“This victory is extraordinary for me!”
Kirsty Chabert (GBR), the only other rider to finish on her dressage score, and Jonelle Price (NZL) completed the podium.
“Classic has been fantastic this whole week,” said Chabert. “She gave me a phenomenal round cross country and she’s a very, very good jumper. It’s a team effort and we go out of our way to keep her in her happy place and then she rewards us by going above and beyond.”
Price had mixed feelings on her performance. “I was a little frustrated with our dressage result. Faerie is brilliant but also a right little madam. It’s her fourth time in Luhmühlen and she’s already seventeen, so you’d think she knows her job but the dressage was hard work, we had a few mistakes and during today’s prize giving I couldn’t help but think ‘what if…’.
“On the other hand, she gave me lovely rides in the crosscountry and show-jumping phases and she’s always trying to do the right thing. She’s an incredible nice little mare and deserved a podium finish. She’s also quite pretentious, so I’m sure she enjoyed the prize giving today and thinks she has won.”
As for the man of the hour, 32 is already shaping up to be Vogg’s best year yet.