EQUESTRIAN: Peternell hoping for change of fortune

This Is Wiltshire: Alexander Peternell Alexander Peternell

HINTON-based equestrian rider Alexander Peternell has endured a tough start to the season but he is adamant his luck can change as he heads to Germany.

The 33-year-old has seen two of his horses – Topstar and Not Landing – ruled out so far this year leaving him with only two fit rides in his stable.

But the South African rider still has the services of Asih, whom he rode at the London 2012 Olympics, for the upcoming four-star Luhmuhlen Horse Trials.

With a depleted stable Peternell has had to tailor his schedule around the calibre of the horses he has available but is confident he and Asih can perform in Germany.

“It’s a high-risk sport and you’re asking these horses to perform a dressage test and then the very next day gallop at pretty much top pace for 11.5km and jump big fences,” he said.

“Sometimes they’ll make mistakes over the jumps and land badly but that’s the nature of the sport. With the injuries to my horses, it does impact on the events that I can enter.

“I’ve got Asih, who’s going to Luhmuhlen, but for my other [fit] horse I’ve got to cherry-pick events in order to prepare him for what I want to do with him [in the future].”

Peternell made his Olympic debut at London 2012, finishing 49th with Asih whom he has ridden once this year at the three-star Houghton International last month.

And, while he’ll use Asih in Germany, Peternell is also looking to mount his favourite ride at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September – injury and fitness permitting.

“It does vary for each event as to what horse I use. Because it is so physically demanding you can’t keep on riding the same horse, you have to mix them up,” he added.

“I’ll ride Luhmuhlen on Asih and then potentially Burghley with him too if he doesn’t sustain any injuries.

“The timing is still quite tight as you want to give them a bit of downtime and then take the time to build them back up.

“I’m risking it slightly because he’s older and I don’t know how many events he’s got left in him but I want to take advantage of his good condition.”

The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (4-7th September) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk

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