Conversations on the sidelines of the Longines Global Champions Tour leg at Riesenbeck

July 23. 2023

Conversations on the sidelines of the Longines Global Champions Tour leg at Riesenbeck

How is it actually Explosion, what type is super mare Indiana and more


A show like Riesenbeck also provides an opportunity for conversations away from the sport. Yesterday, for example, we spoke to Britain's Ben Maher about Olympic champion Explosion W, who suffered a serious injury six weeks ago. And we met Malin Baryard-Johnsson, who celebrated a reunion of sorts with her super mare Indiana in the Global Champions League leg of Riesenbeck.


The 2023 outdoor season had started promisingly for Ben Maher with Olympic champion Explosion W. They competed in their first CSI5* Grand Prix in Windsor and finished second straight away. After that, the Nations Cup in La Baule was on the agenda.

First round of the Grand Prix, Explosion in good form, overcoming the first five obstacles clear and without any problems. But after that he suddenly goes lame. Maher stops immediately, the veterinarians on site rush to take care of the gelding. Later, Maher reports that Explosion W has suffered a soft tissue injury, but is back home in England and doing well under the circumstances.

That was almost six weeks ago. We asked Ben Maher how Explosion W is doing today. "He's doing well. Very well, in fact, better than expected. As far as future plans, we haven't made a decision yet, but he's doing well. I've been traveling a lot the last two weeks, so I spent a lot of time playing with him before we left here. He's feeling good and I think he's of the opinion that he could start again here already. But he's not there yet. He'll have to be patient," says the number eleven in the world rankings with a twinkle in his eye.

Let's hope that the 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Chacco-Blue will enrich the starting field at the second edition of the Longines Global Champions Tour in Riesenbeck next year. In any case, his rider was heavily enthused yesterday at his first own sporting event at Riesenbeck International. "The conditions for the horses - both on the course and the trappings - that's what we hope for every week."



Malin Baryard-Johnsson, the "different" Indiana and life as a "sports mum"

She has never jumped in Riesenbeck, but she probably knows the Westphalian village, Malin Baryard-Johnsson says: "I have been here before. But that was at least 15 years ago, I think. Back then, I had my own TV show and filmed with Ludger." Admittedly, things looked very different here back then, and the large grass arena is new to both horse and rider. It is very well received. "There is nothing better than good grass arenas!" is the opinion of the Swede, and "Indiana loves them too."

Indiana, this 15-year-old Belgian mare by Kashmir van Schuttershof. She plays a big role in the life of Malin Baryard-Johnsson. With her, she became team Olympic champion in Tokyo and team World Champion last year, after winning silver with the team at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon four years earlier. The pair turned clear rounds for Sweden in countless Nation prizes, and when they compete in the Longines Global Champions Tour, they are usually placed in the top ten. Or they don't even finish the course. That happens, too. Indiana has a "somewhat strange character," her rider explains. "She's quite difficult in many ways. But at the same time, she's so talented, which then makes it easy for me most of the time - also because I know her so well."

The two have been a couple for eight years. But it took a long, long time for the aforementioned successes to materialize. "It took me a long, long time to understand her, and it took me a lot of time to make her better grasp what the rider wants. She's grippy, but not in the way a normal horse is. You have to be on her all the time and try to keep her with you a little bit. If that gets lost, nothing works." At the same time, he says, she is incredibly sweet to handle. "But just different. Yes, different is a good word for her." Still, she is the undisputed number one in the stable. "I don't think I'll ever have another horse like Indiana. She's really unique, absolutely special. Sure, I have several good young horses. But only one Indiana. I think she's the best horse I've ever had."

So the number one in the stable is Indiana. In Malin Baryard-Johnsson's everyday life, however, she has to share the spot with Baryard-Johnsson's 14- and 18-year-old sons, among others. "At home, I try to be done riding when the kids get out of school," she says. "They both play sports, and I love being a Sports Mum! They play handball and soccer and for me, the biggest thing is taking them to the games and cheering them on. It's so much fun!" Conversely, she says, her enthusiasm for her mom's sports isn't quite as great. "When they were little, of course they traveled the world with me. But today they have their own lives. They come to the tournaments when it suits them, but basically they do their own thing."

The Longines Global Champions Tour this weekend in Riesenbeck obviously didn't fit into the boys' schedule. Their mother is here alone, but still full of anticipation. "I'm excited to ride competition here this weekend. Indiana likes the course, we are in good shape. From there I hope for good results!"

And of course for the ticket to the Global Champions Playoffs in Prague, where the winners of each season get to go. In Mexico, Baryard-Johnsson and Indiana had already been second, before that fourth in Doha, eighth in Miami and Cannes, seventh in Stockholm. In the overall ranking, Malin Baryard-Johnsson is currently fourth, ahead of double World Champion Henrik von Eckermann. And yesterday after the Global Champions League, where Malin Baryard Johnson and Indiana, together with Olivier Philippaerts, catapulted Stockholm Hearts from twelfth place after the first round to fourth in the final standings in a furious catch-up in round two, Malin said she and Indiana found each other again in this test. "And when she jumps like that, she's hard to beat." We'll see this afternoon.