“We have competed in two internationals now and he made a big step forward from the first to the second,” says Will Matthew regarding Grand Prix horse Mysterious Star. “I hope we can keep going like this and by next year start to have all the small details really on point so that we can start to get those higher scores.” The 10-year-old gelding, by Métall out of a Fürst Heinrich mare, is owned by Stephanie Göller and has been ridden by Will since he was a five-year-old.
This season, they’ve stepped up to international Big Tour level and competed at a CDI3* in Tolbert, the Netherlands, where they scored 67.804% in the Grand Prix for 10th place and 67.000% in the Grand Prix Special for 11th. Their second CDI3*, also in the Netherlands at Exloo, saw a marked improvement in scores, with 69.174% in the Grand Prix and 70.894% for third in the Special.
“Mysterious Star is going great, the last test in Exloo he was really fighting for me and started to show how good it will be in the future,” enthuses Will. “With him it’s so cool, I know him so well and I really feel he knows me just as well. He has huge talent for all the collected work and is really always fighting for the rider, so I think he can be a really top horse.”
Will hopes that the horse continues to develop and progress at the level, giving them the opportunity to vie for Paris Olympic team selection. “The plan is to aim for Paris with Mysterious Star. I think he is already on the right track to be able to get good enough scores by next year.”
Mysterious Star is not the only Big Tour horse that Will rides; he’s also competing Madeline Winter-Schulze’s nine-year-old gelding Freischütz 5, by Foundation 2 out of a Del Martino 2 mare, who’s recently stepped up following success at Small Tour.
Earlier in the season, the pair won the Inter II at Schloss Wickrath with 73.991%, and then last month at Horses & Dreams in Hagen, they won the first leg of the Louisdor Prize – a prestigious German championship series for developing Grand Prix horses – qualifying them for the final in Frankfurt in December.
Initially they were second in the first round, the Inter II, on a score of 71.368%, with Isabell Werth and Gut Wettlkam’s Chuck Bass finishing at the top of the leaderboard. However, the tables were turned in the final – a Short Grand Prix test – where Will and Freischütz scored 74.404% to claim first place.
“It was really special, and a little unexpected; I knew Freischütz was in good shape and he has the potential to do well, but that weekend it really came together. Isabell was really proud; it’s her training that got us there! Hagen in general was amazing, just to watch all those amazing riders the whole day it was very inspiring. I think that also helped me with my test.”