Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

US Equestrian Announces Charlotte Bredahl Appointed as U.S. Dressage Development Coach

Photo provided by Charlotte Bredahl: Debbie McDonald (left) and Charlotte Bredahl (right)

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has announced the appointment of Charlotte Bredahl as the U.S. Dressage Development Coach, pending final contract negotiations. Bredahl will take over for the newly appointed U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe, Debbie McDonald, who previously held the position of Development Coach. The role of the Development Coach is to work hand in hand with the Managing Director of Dressage, the Technical Advisor, and the Dressage Sport Committee to assist with the development of a sustainable system to produce combinations for the Dressage Elite Athlete Pathway.

The collaboration between Bredahl and McDonald has been longstanding through their work in their previous roles over the past four years, and will continue in their newly appointed positions.

“I have had the opportunity to work closely with Charlotte [Bredahl] over the last few years,” said McDonald. “She is an excellent fit for the U.S. Dressage Development Coach position. She has a great eye, and she is not only experienced as an international rider and trainer, but also as a judge. She will lead this program to the next level, and I’m thrilled to have her as my right hand!”

Bredahl’s standing relationship with the athletes, her strong communication skills, and her knowledge and understanding of the sport made her a strong candidate for the position. She will begin her new position as the U.S. Dressage Development Coach immediately.

Her responsibilities will include assisting and advising on setting and tracking targeted key performance indicators for the Development Program and its athletes and their personal trainers, leading and implementing the Developing Program itself, strategic planning and guidance for the athlete/horse combinations, coordinating educational opportunities for the athletes, and more.

“I am so incredibly honored and humbled by this appointment,” stated Bredahl. “For the past four years, I have had the privilege to serve as the U.S. Dressage Assistant Youth Coach and have worked side-by-side with fellow USEF coaches, Debbie McDonald, Christine Traurig, and George Williams, as well as Technical Advisor Robert Dover. I am thrilled to continue to be part of this great team now led by Debbie [McDonald]. I am looking forward to supporting all our talented athletes and their trainers, and can’t wait to jump right in!”

Christine Traurig will continue to serve as the U.S. Dressage Young Horse Coach, while George Williams will continue as the U.S. Dressage Youth Coach.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Werndl Secures Spectacular Win in Salzburg

Benny Werndl with Daily Mirror. (FEI/ Lukasz Kowalski)

Germany’s Benjamin Werndl (34) threw his hat into the ring for a place at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final next April when producing a spectacular victory with Daily Mirror at the fifth leg of the 2018/2019 Western European League in Salzburg, Austria.

The pair’s performance wasn’t perfect, with a few glitches along the way, but the best bits weren’t just good – they were breathtaking. And with only three riders from each nation allowed into the Final, Werndl is putting intense pressure on his German counterparts for one of those slots after moving to the top of the leaderboard alongside compatriot Dorothee Schneider.

It was Sweden’s Patrik Kittel (42) who lined up second with Delatio while Schneider slotted into third with Faustus on a day when all of the leading partnerships really stepped it up to another level. Werndl was almost speechless with delight after topping both Grand Prix and Freestyle.

“This horse is a gift… I’m having an unbelievable trip with him; he’s developed so much over the last few months and I can’t find the right words to describe how much it means to me!” — Benjamin Werndl (GER)

Werndl, whose sister Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was on the gold medal winning team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) 2018 in September, was already lying second on the league table, following his win in Budapest (HUN) in September and points collected for fifth place at both the WEL opening leg in Herning (DEN) in October and the third leg in Stuttgart (GER) last month. It’s been a strong and steady progression, and it was clear that there’s a lot more to come from Daily Mirror despite the fact that the gelding son of Damon Hill is 14 years old.

“There’s so much more potential in this horse, and now my job is to find out how to bring it out!” said the rider who was on the German long-list for the WEG. “He had a break of two years before he came to us a couple of years ago, so he still feels a bit like a young horse building up experience, and I really wasn’t expecting him to be so cool in this arena today – he’s just the perfect gentleman!” Werndl added.

He was eleventh to go of the 15 starters, and when his test kicked off with a double-pirouette followed by two-tempi changes and another double-pirouette on the centre line, then it was obvious he meant business. Daily Mirror’s ground-eating extended walk earned a 9 from four of the five judges as the daring duo marched to the first over-80% score of 80.790. And then he had to sit back and watch four more formidable contenders.

Australia’s Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil posted 79.330 before Patrik Kittel and his new ride Delatio, which was competed by Great Britain’s Emile Faurie until July of this year and was runner-up for the Swede on their World Cup debut in Lyon last month, put 80.010 on the board to slot into second spot. And that’s where they would remain despite a lovely performance from European and World team gold medallist Schneider and her super-exciting “Grand Prix baby,” the 10-year-old gelding Faustus who scored 79.730 for third place.

Now that he has the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019 in his sights, Benny Werndl really wants to get there, but he knows the battle for one of the German slots is not yet over. “All the other ladies want to go there too, but at least now I have a good chance, and I’m hoping to get to another qualifier in either Amsterdam (NED) or Neumünster (GER) in the new year,” he said.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old Back to Top FEI Dressage World Rankings

Isabell Werth (GER) and Weihegold Old. (FEI/ Leanjo de Koster)

Olympic silver individual and gold team medallist duo, Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old, have topped the FEI Dressage World Rankings once again (2742 points), following their win in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music at the Sweden International Horse Show (“Saab Top Ten Dressage 2018”) in Stockholm (SWE). The famous combination, who were number one for almost two years, from November 2016, only sat in second place for a couple of months behind Laura Graves and Verdades (USA). The American duo now drop back to second place again with 2714 points.

Dressage Queen Isabell Werth can be found three times in the top four of the ranking list, as she holds the third place with Bella Rose 2 (2690 points) and the fourth place with Emilio 107 (2658 points).

A number of other combinations moved up in the rankings, thanks to the Saab Top Ten Dressage 2018 and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier in Madrid (ESP) on 23-25 November 2018. Patrik Kittel with Delaunay Old (SWE) moved from the 97th to the 11th place (2280 points), whilst Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zepter (DEN) jumped from the 175th to the 33rd place (2030 points). Claudio Castilla Ruiz and Alcaide (ESP) also made an enormous leap from the 118th to the 43rd place (1923 points).

With the FEI Dressage World Cup™ season continuing over the next few months there will certainly be more impressive changes in the ranking list.

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations and Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Live TV Coverage of Olympia Set to Feature Heavily over Christmas Period

Taking place from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 December 2018, Olympia, The International London Horse Show will be available to homes across the UK, with extensive coverage from the BBC starting with the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Freestyle to Music at 19:20 on the evening of Tuesday 18 December.

The BBC coverage, which will total almost 14 hours over the course of the week, cements Olympia’s position as the most important indoor equestrian event in the UK and will showcase the world-class competitive equestrian sport that is on offer.

BBC televised highlights include FEI World Cup™ Jumping, in which, last year, seven of the top 10 world-ranked show jumpers featured, including British Olympic gold medallists Ben Maher and Scott Brash. The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound will also be televised this year and is set to welcome Charlotte Dujardin OBE, who will unveil a new freestyle routine. The three-time Olympic gold medallist, who has not competed in London since setting a new world record in 2015, will bring her rising star Mount St John Freestyle, with whom she won team and individual bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon earlier this year.

Show director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “Working with the BBC is always a pleasure and the coverage of Olympia provides a massive platform for equestrian sport. Its coverage is not only important for Olympia but also for equestrianism in general, given that it is broadcasting world-class competition to an incredibly diverse audience. Its importance really can’t be overstated.”

Coverage will also include international classes, such as the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix and the Cayenne Puissance, which last year was won by Britain’s leading lady rider, Laura Renwick, in what proved to be a closely contested affair.

Friday night, also known as ‘Race Night’, will be televised in its entirety and will undoubtedly be a highlight, featuring fan-favourites such as: the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, an exhilarating and competitive event between young and up-and-coming jockeys, along with the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, in which racing legend Sir AP McCoy will be keen to defend his title.

Further coverage includes international displays from La Garde Républicaine and its famous cavalry regiment along with the Azerbaijan ‘Land of Fire,’ a highly-skilled fusion of gymnastics and equestrianism that is bound to get viewers out of their armchairs. For those interested in other four-legged competition, the Kennel Club Dog Agility competition brings the UK’s best canine partnerships to screens as they battle it out for the biggest title of their careers.

International live coverage of the Dressage, Jumping, and Driving FEI World Cup™ competitions will be available on FEI TV and additional post-event coverage will be broadcast on Horse & Country TV and will be accessible from January.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show may be viewed online and on TV. The day-by-day coverage listing is as follows*:

Tuesday 18 December
• FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound
19:20-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, and FEI TV

Wednesday 19 December
• The Cayenne Puissance
21:15-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV

Friday 21 December
• FEI Driving World Cup™ presented By Dobson & Horrell
12:45-13:40 – FEI Facebook Live & FEI YouTube
• The Entire Evening Performance
18:45-22:30 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
Featuring The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund and The Longines Christmas Cracker

Saturday 22 December
• FEI World Cup™ Show Jumping
13:15-16:30 – LIVE on BBC Two HD, BBC Online & connected TV
14.30-16.30 – LIVE on FEI TV
18.40-19.25 – LIVE on FEI TV

Sunday 23 December
• The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix
18:00-20:00 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, FEI Facebook & FEI YouTube

Monday 24 December
• Recorded Highlights
10:00-11:00 – BBC Two HD, BBC Online & connected TV

Horse & Country TV will feature Olympia highlights including the FEI World Cup™ Dressage, Driving, and Show Jumping competitions, along with the Cayenne Puissance, the Longines Christmas Cracker, and the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix.

Horse & Country TV is available on Sky Channel 253, H&C Play, and Amazon Video.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins gjenkins@revolutionworld.com +44(0)7717 776928

Ferrer-Salat Posts Definitive Victory as Madrid Makes Its Series Debut

Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Spanish dressage legend, Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (52), posted a definitive victory with Delgado when the FEI Dressage World Cup™ visited Madrid, Spain for the very first time. Host nation riders dominated at this fourth round of the 10-leg 2018/2019 Western European League series when Claudio Castilla Ruiz (35) finished second with Alcaide ahead of Portugal’s Maria Caetano (32) and Coroado in third.

Showing some lovely work with her 11-year-old Lusitano stallion, the Portuguese rider went to the top of the scoreboard with a mark of 77.655 when sixth to go of the 14 starters. And she stayed out in front despite the best efforts of 2016 FEI Dressage World Cup™ champion Hans Peter Minderhoud from The Netherlands when he posted 76.110 with Zinardi in the closing stages.

But Castilla Ruiz raised the temperature dramatically when next into the ring, starting out with one-handed one-tempi changes down the centre line that drew a gasp of amazement from the crowd. He smiled in delight as his impressive 13-year-old stallion showed great activity in his piaffe/passage, and when the Spanish showman completed his test with another display of one-handed control then the audience rose to their feet and roared with approval as he posted the new leading score of 78.915.

Ferrer-Salat’s style has always been more understated, but the level of excellence shown by this consummate horsewoman has brought her many great moments, including team silver and individual bronze at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with the wonderful Beauvalais and individual bronze at the FEI European Championships 2015 with Delgado.

At 17 years of age, the Westphalian gelding is now in the twilight of his career, but he showed he’s not finished yet when placing 13th in the Grand Prix Special at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA in September. And he rose to the occasion once again, working in complete harmony with his rider as he pumped out his trademark clockwork passage to post the winning score of 81.285 despite a single error in canter.

When the penultimate partnership of Great Britain’s Richard Davis and Bubblingh retired after the 12-year-old Dutch gelding reared in over-excitement at the start of their test, the Spanish rider could be seen walking Delgado on a long rein in the warm-up area as they prepared to enter the arena – cool as a pair of cucumbers.

“Before he does his test, I always let him walk so he can relax and breathe, and then he’s ready to perform. I talk with him a lot and it’s always a wonderful feeling with him; he trusts me and I trust him!” — Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (ESP)

She is thinking ahead to Delgado’s retirement – “sometime next year, depending on how he feels,” she said. And she has a “very nice nine-year-old” who she hopes will begin to follow in his footsteps at the beginning of next year.

But she was delighted that he performed so well in front of her home crowd once again. “Delgado is very fresh lately and willing to perform – he’s very much with me still and I’m very proud of him!” Ferrer-Salat said.

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League now moves on to Salzburg (AUT) in two weeks’ time.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Werth Breezes to a “Special” Victory with Bella Rose in Stuttgart

Isabell Werth with Bella Rose. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

She has won everything there is to win in her sport, many times over, but there was a huge sense of achievement for Germany’s Isabell Werth (49) when she steered Bella Rose to victory in the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at the German Masters in Stuttgart (GER).

“This was her last show before her injury four years ago, so to come back today and to win like this is something special!” said the super-champ who scooped double-gold with the 14-year-old mare at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA two months ago.

On a day when Germany dominated the podium as Werth’s Rio 2016 Olympic gold-medal-winning team-mate, Dorothee Schneider (49), finished second with Sammy Davis Jr and 2013 FEI Dressage World Cup™ champion Helen Langehanenberg (36) lined up third with Damsey, spectators were treated to a feast of top sport. And the fourth-place finish for Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zepter was another highlight. Not only was the 10-year-old stallion competing in his very first World Cup competition, he was also doing his very first Freestyle test, yet he was relaxed, confident and full of promise for even greater things to come.

From the outset there was a big buzz in the Schleyer Halle, with The Netherlands’ Emmelie Scholtens and Desperado, who finished last of the 14 starters in the Grand Prix, bouncing back to set the standard with a nice pathfinding test at 75.365. Marie Emilie Bretenoux and the expression-filled Quartz of Jazz from France kept spectators spellbound with their intriguing floorplan for a mark of 75.225, and then seven-time Olympian, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, pushed the target score up to 79.670 with the veteran Don Auriello.

But Germany’s Benjamin Werndl was the first-half show-stealer when, last before the break with the 14-year-old gelding Daily Mirror, he carried the crowd through a test that oozed energy and excitement to throw down a new marker at 80.340.

With extraordinary accuracy and control, Langehanenberg went into the lead when posting 81.470 when fourth-last to go, and she was still out in front when Bachmann Andersen put 81.190 on the board. But it was compatriot Dorothee Schneider’s 81.840 that Werth was chasing when last into the arena. And she nailed it by a considerable margin, posting 85.660 despite one major blip.

“She was a bit tense in the canter work and I got behind the music, so I had to push it and that was the reason for the mistake in two-tempis!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

But as the athlete who has collected eight World Championship and six Olympic gold medals pointed out, “She was brilliant again for the rest of the test. The piaffe/passage couldn’t have been better and her half-pass extensions were super!” she said, and that was borne out by the number of maximum scores she earned from the judges which put the result beyond doubt.

It was some busy day for the defending series champion who will be going for a back-to-back hat-trick of wins, and her fifth in total, at the Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next April. It began with a practice ride at 06.00 and then a win riding Emilio, with whom she topped the qualifier in Lyon (FRA) two weeks ago, in the German Dressage Masters before flying to Northern Germany for an awards ceremony and then rushing back to compete in the FEI World Cup qualifier.

Werth seems to thrive on pressure, however, and she really wanted to show the home crowd that her precious mare is back to her best after that long four-year injury break during which she was patiently nursed back to full health. “It was a special situation and a special atmosphere here today; the arena was absolutely full of spectators and a lot of horses were tense and spooky, but Bella Rose was fantastic; she really wanted to give everything; she was just brilliant!” Werth said.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Kuhn Weathers the Storm to Win on Second Day of 2018 US Dressage Finals

Friday morning at the 2018 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington dawned with the type of weather conditions more suitable for staying in bed than having the ride of one’s life. Hailing from New Berlin, Ill., Martin Kuhn (Region 4) is no stranger to chilly weather, but when he entered the ring at 10am for the Training Level Open Championship, the persistent rain and 40-degree temperature was admittedly tough to handle. But his mount, Debra Klamen’s five-year-old Hanoverian gelding Ronin (Romanov Blue Hor x Something Royal by Sir Donnerhall I, bred in the U.S. by Marcia Boeing) held steadfast, earning the championship title with an impressive score of 72.803%.

“It was really cold and wet, but my horse seemed unaffected by the conditions – they bothered me much more!” Kuhn laughed. “Situations like this can often be ‘interesting’ with young horses, but even though he’s only five, at this point in the show season he’s been out a lot and in some challenging environments. So when the time came to go down centerline today, he put his head down and did his job. I couldn’t be more happy with him.”

Kuhn is no stranger to success at the US Dressage Finals, finding the winner’s circle with several talented mounts over the last six years. But in his opinion, Ronin stands out. “He’s an amazing athlete – I think he’s the most talented young horse I’ve ever sat on,” Kuhn explained. “I’ve had the privilege to work with lots of horses who have ability, are willing and fun to ride, but on top of that, Ronin is easily the most athletic and elastic horse I’ve ever ridden.”

Also impressed with the maturity of her young partner under adverse weather conditions was Reserve Champion Kelsey Broecker of Celina, Texas (Region 9), who rode Molly Huie’s four-year-old Hanoverian gelding Caelius (Christ x Hauptstutbuch Bonny by Buddenbrock) to a score of 71.818%. “By our ride time, I was ready to be done,” she laughed. “But like Martin’s [Kuhn’s] horse, mine was also unfazed by weather and the overall atmosphere. He doesn’t act like a typical four-year-old – he’s a bit of an old soul, so agreeable and so much fun to ride. He’s just a joy to bring to shows.”

Hometown Girl Laura Crowl Wins Big in Second Level Adult Amateur Championship

Almost 40 competitors from all across the country entered the Claiborne Ring to compete for this year’s Second Level Adult Amateur Championship title, but local eventer and newlywed Laura Crowl of Lexington, Ky. (Region 2) only had to drive a few miles down the road to claim the blue ribbon with her six-year-old U.S.-bred Dutch Warmblood mare Hana (UB-40 x Jolien E by Chronos). After overcoming an untimely hoof abscess right before the Region 2 Championships, Crowl and Hana successfully made it to the Finals and became the only combination to top the 70% mark from all three judges, earning the unanimous victory with 71.585% to earn their first national title.

“I loved almost everything about our test,” said Crowl. “She was really spot on the entire time and did everything I asked. Over the last month I’ve asked her for a little more expression in the movements, and I think the judges appreciated it. She really stepped up to the plate.”

As an eventer who has competed through the FEI 2* level, Crowl originally found Hana in the local barn of her breeder, Reese Koffler-Stanfield, when searching for her next prospect. But the relationship got off to a rocky start. “The first time I rode her she bit me, and it turned out she hated stadium,” Crowl laughed. “But she loved dressage so I had to adjust to what she wanted to do, and along the way I realized it’s fun, not just something you get through to go cross-country. It definitely was a little interesting in the beginning, but we’ve grown to love each other since then.”

In her first trip to the US Dressage Finals, Amanda Lopez of Sarasota, Fla. (Region 3) earned Reserve Championship honors with her nine-year-old Westfalen gelding Rubitanos Dream (Rubitano x Diva by Dream of Glory) with 69.431%. “I like horses with a little character, and we joke that he’s like one of the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz – it has to fit, and we just really ‘click’ with each other,” said Lopez of her mount. “I feel so lucky that he chose me as his person. He aims to please with a heart of gold, and I was so honored to show him today in front of these judges and against this caliber of competition.”

Growing Confidence Earns Sandeman the Third Level Open Championship

Angela Jackson of Henderson, Ky. (Region 2) already knew Sandeman was a nice horse, since earlier this summer the six-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Flora by Florencio, owned by Julie Cook) earned reserve honors at the Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships at Lamplight. But it was the youngster’s ever-growing confidence in himself that carried the pair to the unanimous victory under all judges in Friday’s Third Level Open Championship with a total score of 73.632%.

“It was one of our nicest rides of the year, so to do that here is special,” Jackson explained. “Sandeman has grown up a lot. I could finally ride each movement of the test with a little more confidence today, and everything fell into place. This is definitely ‘the’ show of the season. I’m so thankful for all of the sponsors who support this event, and everyone who makes it possible. It’s the highlight of our year.”

Martin Kuhn (Region 4) participated in his second awards ceremony of the day, this time taking Reserve Champion with 72.265% at Third Level aboard Elizabeth Cronin’s seven-year-old Westfalen gelding Venivici (Vitalis x Sabrina by Sherlock Holmes), who earned First Level Open Reserve Championship honors last year. “It was a little exciting in the cold and the rain, but he stayed with me,” Kuhn noted. “It was definitely a little bit of a conservative ride, but he trusted me and was happy to do his job. He used to be a little bit of a nervous type, but like Angela’s [Jackson’s] horse, as he’s matured, he’s become much more confident.”

Sara Stone Rises to the Challenge in Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship

As Sara Stone of Lake in the Hills, Ill. (Region 4) and her seven-year-old American Warmblood gelding Gotham (Gabriel x Mystic, bred in the U.S. by Indian Hills Stables) prepared for their afternoon ride in the Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship, she knew she was facing quite a challenge. “It was a very tough class, and I didn’t think we had a chance at all,” Stone admitted. “But Gotham was in a great mood this afternoon, and he actually likes this chilly weather. When we came out of the ring, I was so focused on what we were doing that I actually wasn’t sure what to think about our test.”

Not long after, all Stone could think about was how proud she was of her mount as the pair emerged as victors with a winning score of 67.704%. “I bought him when he was just three, and he’s the first horse of my own that I have ridden at this level. He’s my best friend,” said Stone, who works in commercial insurance in addition to raising a family. “As an adult amateur, all of the hard work, passion, sweat and tears that goes into having an everyday job and being a mom all while trying to ride…to be able to come to a show like this and lay it all on the line with so many people supporting you…it’s the icing on the cake at the end of the year, and I can’t wait to come back again next year.”

Reserve Champion Amy Gimbel of Oldwick, N.J. (Region 8), who also works in the insurance field when not in the saddle, was equally delighted with her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Eye Candy (UB-40 x Wednesday by Weltmeyer, bred in the U.S. by Judy Barrett) and their second-place score of 67.407%. “We had some nice moments as well as some tense moments, but overall I was pleased,” Gimbel noted. “We’ve been to the Finals before but took a few years off – Eye Candy had an injury and it’s been a bit of a slow, arduous journey back, something that so many horse people can relate to. Just to be back here is a big accomplishment for us and means a lot.”

Romantico SF Bounces Back to Claim Intermediate I Open Championship

Over the course of more than four straight hours of hard-fought competition on Friday afternoon in the Alltech Arena, competitors battled for top honors in the Intermediate I Open Championship. With a score of 72.157%, ultimate victor Heather Mason of Lebanon, N.J. (Region 8) explained how her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Romantico SF (Romancero H x Wesermelodie by Wenzel I) had already proven to be the winner of a much bigger battle – for his life.

“He was laid up for a year with an injury, and I only had about two rides on him when he went in for colic surgery the week after I returned home from last year’s Finals,” Mason remembered. “But amazingly here we are. He’s not an easy horse, which is how I originally ended up with him for just a dollar. But he was great today: the first medium trot was a little bit tentative, but as we got more comfortable in there he was very good. His canter work is generally strong, his pirouettes were very solid, and his zig zag was good. He’s back and better than ever.”

Finishing in Reserve with 71.373% were last year’s Prix St. Georges Open division champions Nora Batchelder of Williston, Fla. (Region 3) and the 10-year-old U.S.-bred Hanoverian gelding Faro SQF (Fidertanz x MS Rose by Rotspon, bred by Jill Peterson). “He was super brave and ready to go today – there’s always a lot of atmosphere in the Alltech Arena but he dealt with it really well,” Batchelder said of her mount. “The canter work is always his strong suit, and I also thought his trot extensions were nice. It’s even more exciting for him to do well because his co-owner and my cousin Andrea Whitcomb is here to watch this year, which makes it extra special.”

Finals First-Timer Hannah Hewitt Wins Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship

It may have been Hannah Hewitt’s very first time cantering down centerline into the impressive atmosphere of the Alltech Arena, but she and Tammy Pearson’s eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Fidens (Tango x Bliss by United) looked like Finals veterans as they came away with the victory in the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship on a score of 67.745%.

“I’m so excited to be here for my first Finals, and it’s been amazing. My trainer, Karen Lipp, has been here several times and really encouraged me to try for this,” said Hewitt, of Atlanta, Ga. (Region 3), who attends law school and finds time to train by being in the saddle before 7am almost every day. “I was very happy with the energy we had today: a little more expression in the trot, and I loved our pirouettes. He’s still young, but has grown up a lot even in just the last few months, and he surprised me a little bit in that he was unaffected by the Alltech Arena – he was very steady and good. He’s a small horse with a big personality, and is just a joy to ride.”

After claiming the 2017 title at this level, defending champion and director/cinematographer Elma Garcia of Mill Spring, N.C. (Region 1) returned to the Finals to claim this year’s Reserve Championship with her 16-year-old Hanoverian mare Wenesa (Westernhagen x Dancing Girl by Davignon) with 67.696%. “Since this spring I have a new program with Wenesa because we’re preparing for the Intermediaire II, so she’s changed a lot since last year – she’s feeling very powerful and is more sensitive,” Garcia explained. “I love coming here and showing in front of so many top judges, and experiencing the camaraderie among the competitors from all over the country and seeing so many different breeds, all in one place. It’s a special feeling.”

Alice Tarjan Wins Second Straight 2018 Finals Title in Grand Prix Adult Amateur Championship

After emerging victorious in Thursday’s Intermediate II Adult Amateur division, Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, N.J. (representing Region 1) is now two-for-two at this year’s US Dressage Finals with her eight-year-old Hanoverian mare Candescent (Christ x Farina by Falkenstern II). The pair returned to the winner’s circle in the Grand Prix Adult Amateur Championship with a score of 64.203% to claim the new George W. Wagner Jr. Perpetual Trophy (presented by the International Georgian Grande Horse Registry). “She was on fire in the warm-up,” said Tarjan. “Even though we had a couple of mistakes today, I’m thrilled because she’s a young horse and the quality keeps getting better and better. She’s so much better than she was just six months ago.”

Fellow Region 1 rider Kristin Herzing of Harrisburg, Pa. and her Hanoverian gelding Gentleman (Grusus x Rumpelstilzchen by Raphael, bred in the U.S. by Kathryn and Jeffrey Nesbit) have been together for 15 years, and traveled to Kentucky this year for their fourth US Dressage Finals. The pair’s persistence paid off with Reserve Champion honors in the Grand Prix Adult Amateur division with 61.667%. “Coming to the Finals is on my list of goals every year,” Herzing explained. “I’m so pleased with my horse today. He may be 20 years old, but he is a bit of a nervous type. He knows his job and the test, so I just try to keep him calm and steady. I knew I needed to have a clean test, and we did.”

Adiah HP Wows the Crowd in Grand Prix Open Championship

At first glance, the colorful mare Adiah HP may not look like your stereotypical Grand Prix dressage champion. But everyone knows a book can’t be judged by its cover, and this 11-year-old Friesian Sport Horse (Nico x Marije ANT by Anton, owned and bred in the U.S. by Sherry Koella) is no exception. In the experienced hands of James Koford of Winston-Salem, N.C. (Region 1), Adiah HP had the crowd cheering in the Alltech Arena as she claimed the Grand Prix Open Championship and Veronica Holt Perpetual Trophy (presented by USDF Region 5 and Friends) with 69.130%.

“I am so pumped! She’s getting so mature – now she goes in the ring and gets excited, but I can channel that energy,” said Koford after the win. “I saw her in a clinic four years ago and thought she was the most fun horse I’d ever seen, and I had to sit on her. Now she’s gone on to do everything I’ve asked and more. She’s like my dirt bike: I just get to run around and have fun, without stress or drama. It just gives me goosebumps because it’s so much fun to get on a horse like this that loves to go in the show ring.”

Last year’s Intermediate II Open Reserve Champion Judy Kelly of Clarkston, Mich. (Region 2) returned to the Finals with her 14-year-old Hanoverian mare Benise (Breitling W x Rubina by Rubinstein) and added another Reserve title to their resume, this time in the Grand Prix Open division with 67.862%. “This is her second year at the level so she can do everything; I just wanted to be able to guide and direct her and show her off. Now we’ll try to do the same thing tomorrow night in the freestyle,” said Kelly.

To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review day sheets and results, and read daily news releases, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com.

Isabelle Lapierre Captures $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby Victory

Isabelle Lapierre riding Carrera S. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Isabelle Lapierre of Lévis, QC rode Carrera S to victory in the $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby on Tuesday, November 6, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The win marked the pair’s second major hunter derby victory of the Royal Horse Show as they also topped Sunday’s $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby. With riders contesting Tuesday night’s hunter derby finale in reverse order of their standings in Sunday’s class, Lapierre and Carrera S, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Johannie Légaré, were the final entry to navigate the course designed by Rob Carey in the Coca-Cola Coliseum.  Judges Kitty Barker and Rob Bielefeld awarded Lapierre an overall score of 109, including a base score of 93 coupled with handy and high option bonus points, to place the pair at the top of the leaderboard. For the win, Lapierre was awarded the Paddy Ann Burns Trophy.

“With my first horse, I did one less stride everywhere,” said Lapierre, referring to her additional entry in the class, Excellent Balou. “With Carrera S, I added a stride everywhere.  That’s why I like the derbies: it’s not just about the numbers; it’s about the way that your horse goes.  He was very relaxed, and he jumped super.  I think he gave 100 percent.”

As the highest scoring pair in both the Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby and the Knightwood Hunter Derby, Lapierre and Carrera S were presented with the Lorna Jean Guthrie Challenge Trophy as the Canadian Hunter Derby Champion.

“Maybe the best thing is to retire from doing hunter derbies!” joked Lapierre of winning Canada’s highest hunter derby honour.  “To win, it’s like a dream.”

Finishing second in Tuesday night’s class with an overall score of 107 were Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON and Enchanted, owned by Christel Weller.  Not far behind with a score of 103 was Kristjan Good of Campbellville, ON riding Chantilly Lace for owner Shannon Walter, while Ballard also picked up fourth place with a score of 96 aboard ‘Round Midnight, owned by Knightwood Stables.

The Eastern and Western Canadian Hunter Derby Series champions were also recognized on Tuesday evening, with the $10,000 Prince of Thieves Go West Trophy, presented by Jump Canada, awarded to Lapierre and Carrera S as the Eastern Canadian Champions and the $10,000 Represent the West Championship, also presented by Jump Canada, given to Kassidy Keith and Carivero, owned by Miranda Lebeuf, as the Western Champions.

Dressage Dazzles at the Royal Horse Show

Featuring an all-star cast in the Dressage Derby, four riders faced off in a knock-out style competition on Tuesday night.

Esther Mortimer of Guatemala faced off against U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle, while Tom Dvorak of Hillsburg, ON challenged fellow Canadian Dressage Team veteran, Jaimey Irwin of Stouffville, ON. All four riders were competing with borrowed horses and had five minutes to familiarize themselves prior to riding a Prix St. Georges test.

Lyle won her knock-out round, as did Dvorak, to advance to the final. Riding yet another unfamiliar mount, Dvorak went first, earning a score of 66.912% from the panel of highly-respected judges. In her Royal Horse Show debut, Lyle used her skill and was awarded a score of 69.559% to be crowned the Royal Dressage Derby Champion.

“I’m really glad I made the trip to The Royal,” said Lyle, who is based in Wellington, FL. “I have always heard about it and never had the chance to come. It’s an incredible venue and something really special. This is a really fun challenge and I love only having a couple minutes to sort it out. It’s a good test of horsemanship and strategy. These are all really incredible riders and it was really close competition.”

Prior to the Dressage Derby, Canadian Dressage Team veteran and Royal Horse Show fan favourite, Jacqueline Brooks, retired her long-time partner, D Niro, in an emotional celebration. Brooks, who has been competing at the Royal Horse Show since 1999, and the 19-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood gelding affectionately known as ‘Goose’ have represented Canada in international competition around the globe, including at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2013 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

As a special highlight, Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu of St. Bruno, QC performed a grand prix freestyle which sees required movements choreographed to music of the rider’s choice. The highest-placed member of the Canadian Dressage Team at the recent 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in September, Fraser-Beaulieu, and her mount, All In, had the crowd roaring its approval.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.html.

Angela Langen Honored with Sportsmanship Award at IALHA National Championship

Angela Langen and Gabarito Da Cerca. (Photo courtesy of Genie Images)

Katy, Texas (November 6, 2018) – Angela Langen showed judges why she and Gabarito Da Cerca were the most suitable choice to become the Dressage Suitability Amateur National Champions at the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) Nationals, October 9-13 in Katy, Texas, and the German rider (now based in Napa, California) showed such generosity of spirit among her fellow baroque breed lovers that it also earned her the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award.

Angela also rode the seven-year-old Lusitano gelding, owned by Marilyn Hite and trained by Carlos Carneiro (who trained and rode IALHA Horse of the Year and Grand Prix National Champion, Andiamo 2005), to second place in Lusitano Saddle Geldings.

“We were nervous. It was only our second competition, but we felt like a good team. I’ve been in the United States for about a year and a half, so I really appreciate meeting other riders, spending time with them, and competing here. I enjoyed this show and my horse was perfect.”

The optimism that won Angela the JEC Award is reflected in her outlook with her striking bay partner with his big white blaze and socks: “We have only been riding together since May. My goals are to keep feeling this trust between us and go on this adventure together. I’m not about the ribbons but about getting to know each other better.”

Now that’s the kind of winning attitude that can contribute to success in horses, riders, and shows.

For more information, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Werth Gives a Masterclass with Emilio at Lyon

Isabell Werth with Emilio. (FEI/Christophe Tanière)

Defending series champion and equestrian sports legend, Germany’s Isabell Werth (49), kicked off her FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 campaign with a convincing win with Emilio at the second leg of the Western European League series at Equita Longines in Lyon, France.

With two Technical scores over 80 percent and one Artistic mark of 93 percent, the six-time Olympic gold medallist racked up a total of 84.410 that left her well clear of Sweden’s Patrik Kittel (42) in second and Antonia Ramel (33) in third.

Werth, who took triple-gold at the 2017 FEI European Championships and double-gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) just seven weeks ago, is already aiming for a fifth FEI Dressage World Cup™ title, and her third in a row, when the series finale returns to Gothenburg, Sweden next April. However, she only just managed to keep Kittel at bay in the Grand Prix and was deeply disappointed with that performance. But with typical skill and determination, the lady who has three horses in the top four in the current World Rankings just turned it all around again with a sparkling ride that left the result beyond doubt.

“I’m very happy – yesterday Emilio was full of tension, but today he was much better from the beginning, and he got back his confidence step by step during the competition.” — Isabell Werth (GER)

Great Britain’s Hayley Watson-Greaves (35) and Rubin’s Night raised the bar to 77.355 percent in the closing stages and young Spaniard, Juan Matute Guimon (21), slotted in behind her when posting 77.070 for an eye-catching test with Quantico that included a one-handed pirouette. But Werth blew that all into infinity with her massive score, and it was the two Swedes who proved her closest rivals at the end of the day.

Ramel’s 80.060 with Brother de Jeu was hugely impressive and took even her by surprise. But the talented rider who has been on two winning Nations Cup teams for her country this year has been training diligently with three-time Olympian Kittel for the last two years, and he was very proud of her.

He is often coached by Werth, and earlier this week he visited her to ask her advice about his stallion, Delatio. “I was at Isabell’s on Monday because I wasn’t sure if I should take him to Lyon – but she said yes!” said the Swedish star who scored a handsome 80.980 for second place.

Talking about Emilio, Werth said, “It’s his first competition since Aachen (where he won the Freestyle and Special and was on the winning team in July), it’s his first indoor of the season, and it’s a new Freestyle for him, so there were a lot of new things for him to handle and I’m very happy how it went, even though there are still some details to be worked out.” She has exchanged her Freestyle programmes, with Bella Rose now doing Emilio’s floorplan while Emilio does the one designed for her WEG-winning mare. Emilio is looking slimmer and fitter than ever.

“Yes, he has more muscle and less fat! So the canter-work is much better, and I was sad that yesterday I couldn’t show that, but today it came back!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

Werth plans to compete all three of her top horses during the 10-leg Western European League, and Emilio will be back in action for the next leg in Stuttgart (GER) in two weeks’ time where Bella Rose will also line out.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46