Swedish double in MERCEDES GERMAN MASTER – Malin Baryard-Johnsson wins ahead of Rolf-Göran Bengtsson

(acm/mps) The far north triumphed on Friday in southern Germany – Swedes Malin Baryard- Johnsson and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson took the top two places in the MERCEDES GERMAN MASTER competition at the 22nd International STUTTGART GERMAN MASTERS Horse Show.

The 31-year-old’s ride in the jump off provided the spectators in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle with ample proof as to why she is not only a crowd favourite in Stuttgart but why she is always seen as being one of the top favourites. Riding the 15-year-old mare Butterfly Flip, on whose back she won the 2003 Grand Prix of Stuttgart, Baryard-Johnsson went clear in 37.48 seconds and left her six opponents trailing in her wake in the decisive jump-off. The well-earned prize for her third major win in the state capital – she won the LADIES GERMAN MASTER back in 1999 – means the team silver medal winner at the Atlanta Olympic Games is now able to drive a brand new Mercedes-Benz B 180 CDI worth 33,000 euro back home to Norrköping. Baryard-Johnsson’s countryman Rolf-Göran Bengtsson had previously posted the time to beat on Mac Kinley. The second rider to go, he cleared all the fences in 37.78 seconds, a time that was only eventually beaten by the winner. Consolation for the world No 2’s narrow defeat came in the form of a large 16,000 euro purse. Third place went to the individual bronze medal winner at the World Championships in Aachen Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Germany), who also went clear on Checkmate in 37.95 seconds. She received 12,000 euro for her efforts.

“I saw that Rolf was very fast but normally Butterfly Flip is that little bit quicker than Mac Kinley,“ said the obviously pleased Baryard-Johnsson when talking about her ride. “But it was very difficult. I knew I had to ride a perfect round. I couldn’t have ridden any faster today without knocking over any fences. And now I’m very very happy.” Horse show Director Gotthilf Riexinger revealed: “We joked a little at midday today. She has never left a show in Stuttgart without having won at least one class. She quipped, ‘perhaps it’ll happen again tonight.’ And she was right.” Hans-Michael Huber, Director of the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Stuttgart also appeared to be highly satisfied: “We are excited, it’s been a fantastic show ever since it started on Wednesday. This evening we’ve seen everything we associate with equestrianism: strength, dynamism, acceleration, great technique, control – it was marvellous.” And when Malin Baryard-Johnsson was asked about her little son Alvar, Huber spontaneously promised: “Then we’ll naturally add a child’s booster seat to the winner’s car.”