Mollie Summerland has won the Luhmühlen 5* 2021. Despite having to circumnavigating the travel ban difficulties and having no trainers, Team GB support staff, nor full-time grooms with them Mollie and her horse Charly won their first three day together.
Speaking after winning the event Mollie Summerland said “I’ve never won a three-day, so that’s the first time the national anthem has ever been played for me and I did cry most of the way through it,” she says. “I know my mum would have been sobbing at home watching on the TV. It’s one of those things that you dream about, and I’m very lucky that I got to experience that.” Unfortunately due to the travel restrictions Mollie’s parents have had to follow the event from home.
23 year old Mollie brought Charly van ter Heiden as a five year old and produced him through the levels herself. “He’d never jumped under saddle when I bought him, I just tried him on the flat and that was all that mattered to me,” she says. “So they loose-jumped him for me and he was a good boy — but he jumped once and I said ‘oh, that’s good enough, that’ll do!” Shortly thereafter, Mollie went to train at Pippa Funnell’s Billy Stud, and decided to bring Charly along. “I could only take one to Pippa’s and I decided to take Charly, even though he was younger and really naughty, but I just had a gut feeling about the horse. She helped me kind of work out how his brain ticks and how to get the best out of him and I still really try and run by that philosophy in the way I work him at home.”
Last season the combination were second at Barbury CCI4*-S to Andrew Nicholson, third at Waregem CCIO4*-S, and had top ten finishes in the Nations Cup finale at Boekelo CCI4*-L and at their debut CCI5* at Pau last season.
Mollie and Charly led the dressage at Luhmühlen 5* 2021 , a phase that they often excel in and then jumped the fastest cross country round of the day to retain their lead going into the showjumping, a phase that Mollie says she often finds trickiest.
After the showjumping round Mollie said “It doesn’t feel real. I sent the videos to my showjumping trainer, Jay Malin, this morning – I was walking around the course filming the whole way around and he sent me voice notes back of how to ride it. I really struggle in this phase. I don’t have much confidence in the show jumping at all — I’d much rather would go and do the dressage or the cross-country again! But he was just brilliant. He actually was a bit tapping and touching a few, but he just pulled it out of the bag today. It was enough pressure going in there as it was, let alone with Christoph doing a beautiful clear just before.”
“I know that I can pick up some time penalties where I get nervous and I probably do one too many strides, so I did try to move up to the triple bar and then round to the final combination, but actually for myself I just wanted to jump a clear, so that was my main priority,” she says. “I’ve spoken a lot to my sport psychologist this week, which has been really helpful. And all she’s ever said was ‘you can’t control anyone else, so just go out there and do the best for yourself and concentrate on your performance, and if it’s good enough on the day then that’s the way it goes’.”
Congratulations Mollie Summerland and Charly!