Ahlmann finished just ahead of Colombia’s Carlos Enrique Lopez and third-placed Dutchman Harrie Smolders in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping. Kevin Staut’s fifth-place finish pushes him up to the top of the Western European League standings, with the Frenchman leap-frogging Henrik von Eckermann.
But the weekend in Leipzig will be remembered for Ahlmann’s victory alongside the horse that led him to four World Cup finals and the team bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“I really didn’t want to mess it up for him,” said Ahlmann. “This was just a normal World Cup, like we have every week. But it was very special because it was the last class for Taloubet, and we took the risk to jump him so he could say goodbye, here where everyone knows him, and leave the sport in great shape. So to have a good result and to finish with a proper round like that under pressure, it makes me so happy!
“It’s the greatest day of my life for sure, not for the points or for the money, it’s much more than that. It’s because this great horse who still has all this power even at this age is ending his career in a great way, with a great win!”
Despite losing by just two-tenths of a second, runner-up Lopez accepted that the right team won. “Today is all about Taloubet anyway,” he said.
While it was a perfect send off for Taloubet, course designer Frank Rothenberger had a different outlook after seeing 15 horse-and-rider combinations make it to the jump-off. “Yes, for everyone else today was a dream, but for me it was a nightmare!” said Rothenberger.