Mumbai wins CSI5* class with Christian Kukuk

  • Christian Kukuk landed Friday’s (24 February) function CSI5* jump-off class at CHI Al Shaqab, Doha, their first large present since eradicating the stallion’s footwear. After an easy clear in spherical one, from final draw the newly barefoot showjumper shaved 0.06sec off Irish rider Mark Mcauley’s time with GRS Girl Amaro.

    “So many issues got here collectively tonight,” mentioned the successful German rider. “I’ve modified a number of issues since December: I now experience him with no martingale, and a unique bit, and he has no footwear.”

    Though the stallion was already profitable at prime degree, Christian felt he hadn’t fairly discovered the important thing to him. However he was sceptical about switching to barefoot.

    “To be sincere I used to be at all times in opposition to it,” he mentioned. “However I used to be sitting at residence watching Geneva and different exhibits, and I saved seeing that the winner and good positioned horses had been at all times with out footwear, so I assumed there should be one thing good in it. I began to look into it and thought perhaps I might do this with Mumbai. I nonetheless imagine it isn’t for each single horse – Mumbai is the one one in my string I’ve tried it with – however he’s giving me an ideal feeling.

    “From the primary day, he confirmed me he preferred it. We gave him a number of days solely strolling so he might get comfy, and as quickly as he began leaping I knew he was pleased. I used to be a bit not sure with the indoor exhibits, however within the final couple of weeks, he’s given me the sensation he doesn’t need the footwear. He’s solely been eight weeks barefoot, so I needed to imagine it really works, come to Doha, and it’s a superb signal he’s already leaping like he did tonight.”

    Analysing how the shortage of footwear has made the distinction, Christian defined that the “breakover is faster”.

    “It’s positively made him quicker. It makes him really feel lighter on the whole, the way in which he strikes – his entrance legs transfer straighter up. I might really feel within the first spherical that I went so simply contained in the time with out making an attempt to be quick, and it was the identical within the jump-off. It wasn’t our quickest, however the way in which he’s rolling over the bottom and in addition over the fences, simply feels lighter and the method has by some means acquired a bit higher.”

    Change of bit and tack for barefoot showjumper

    Christian was additionally relieved to have lastly alighted on a bit that fits this beautiful gray, an 11-year-old by Diamant De Semilly.

    “I’ve tried a hackamore, a standard snaffle, one other sort of pelham, however this time I used a straight leather-based mouthpiece – it’s a pelham however I can change my rein so it’s a little bit bit stronger or lighter,” he mentioned. “I really modified it earlier than the jump-off, I had it a little bit stronger for me for the primary spherical and I modified it up so he could possibly be a bit stronger within the jump-off as I needed him rolling in entrance of me a bit extra. It labored out!

    “I used to be fortunate to go final, and I knew it was attainable [to win] however whereas I used to be using the jump-off it felt like two of the turns I added one stride greater than I anticipated, so I didn’t actually persist with my plan. So, all the pieces is usually a bit higher, however tonight I’m simply very pleased with my horse. There’s a lot to have a good time.”

    Christian added that the horse is simply coming into his prime. The primary time he rode him, “we weren’t falling in love right away”, he admitted.

    “Good relationships are about taking time,” he mentioned. “Mumbai had a unique opinion of working dressage-wise, though the leap was at all times there. However for me it’s essential that the flatwork is a bit conventional within the German approach, which isn’t how he had been educated. However from the primary day, I by no means had the sensation he was in opposition to me or didn’t wish to do it. There have been laborious days however he was at all times making an attempt to enhance and he was easy in his head. Over time, we’ve turn into an excellent match. And I nonetheless really feel he can get even higher as he’s simply coming into his prime.”

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