Tag Archives: FEI Dressage European Championships

Werth Makes It a Golden Hat-Trick in Fabulous Freestyle Finale

Isabell Werth. (FEI/Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

On a day of breathtaking sport, Germany’s Isabell Werth brought the Longines FEI Dressage European Championships 2019 to a close when claiming her third gold medal of the week in the Freestyle riding her great mare Bella Rose. And on a day filled with personal-best performances, her compatriots Dorothee Schneider and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl clinched silver and bronze, with Schneider only 0.314 off Werth’s winning score.

The competition built to an incredible crescendo as rider after rider excelled themselves in front of a packed stadium of knowledgeable spectators who savoured every moment. Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen drew gasps of delight with spectacular one-tempi changes from his one-eyed stallion Blue Hors Zack to take the temporary lead when eighth to go of the 15 starters. But two horses later the home crowd went wild when Edward Gal and Glock’s Zonik NOP went out in front with 84.271.

Fifth-last into the arena, von Bredow-Werndl and her 12-year-old mare TSF Dalera blew the competition wide open with a personal-best score of 89.107, showing beautiful rhythm and balance and the softest of contact in their one-tempi changes. Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy, who took bronze in Thursday’s Grand Prix Special, followed with a fabulous test that slotted them in behind on 87.771, and then it was time for the lady recognised as the Queen of international Dressage, Werth, with the great love of her life, the mare she calls Bella.

And the crowd was in for a treat, the extraordinary horsewoman working them into a frenzy of excitement that had them clapping wildly as the turned the centreline for their final halt. But the battle wasn’t over yet, because Schneider threw down the best score of her career with Showtime who showed his great power and presence when putting 90.561 on the board. Last to go, Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K ended a superb week that saw her post three new Irish record scores when finishing fifth, behind Dufour, on a mark of 85.589.

Bronze medallist von Bredow-Werndl described this as “the most exhausting week ever; it was a roller-coaster of emotions but it had the happiest ending I could have wished for, and Dalera was just extraordinary today. At the very beginning she was a little bit nervous and I was a bit nervous before I entered the arena, but I took some deep breaths and I was completely with her and she was with me for the whole test; there was no second we lost each other and it was just a phenomenal dance!” she said.

Schneider had every reason to be elated by her score too, because her mark sees her join an elite group that includes only five other riders who have achieved over 90 percent in Freestyle. “When Showtime came into the arena and saw the audience, he said let’s dance now, and we danced together… we really enjoyed ourselves! I wasn’t thinking about scores; I just wanted to enjoy this Freestyle… it’s an emotional bond between Showtime and me and today he had fun and I did too!” she said.

This has been a great week and a very long week and I’m so happy and so proud of Bella!” said Werth. “She gave me a super feeling in all three competitions, and she was always doing her best.

“There were so many exciting performances here in Rotterdam, and for a few of us it was a real roller-coaster which reminds us that, in Championships, anything can happen. For me and Bella there were things today that we could improve on, but there were also so many highlights, and in the end to come up the centreline and hear the audience start to clap – I’m just so happy; it has been a super week for Germany!”

The most successful athlete in the entire history of international equestrian sport, Werth collected the 24th European Championship medal of her astonishing career but she said that her medal collection is not what drives her.

“The most beautiful thing is the many different horses, and different kinds of horses I have had – that’s why I’m still motivated to ride. To wake up and go in the saddle every day, it’s a privilege when you can do what you love, and you love what you do, and Madeleine (Winter-Schulze, her patron) gives me all the freeness I need to do the sport… this is why I’m still here!” she said.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Werth Takes Back-to-Back Grand Prix Special Gold

Isabell Werth. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Team-mate Schneider pushes her all the way

In a mighty battle between two of the sport’s true greats, Isabell Werth, the lady recognised as the reigning Queen of international Dressage, won through once again in the Grand Prix Special at the Longines FEI Dressage European Championships 2019 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Two years ago in Gothenburg, Sweden, Werth pinned team-mate Sonke Rothenberger into silver medal spot, and this time around it was her other German compatriot, Dorothee Schneider, who had to settle for second place. But Schneider chased her right to the line with a brilliant performance from Showtime, and was overwhelmed with emotion afterwards.

“This is the greatest day of my life – my first individual medal!” said the double-Olympian. “I had one mistake in the flying changes because I lost a stirrup – I have to talk to my trainer about doing some lunging again! I’ve been riding this horse for 10 years now and he is so amazing. I’m really proud to be sitting in second place tonight behind Isabell!” she said.

She established the lead with just five left to go on a mark of 85.456 but Werth overtook her with another of her show-stopping rides on the mare she most adores, posting the winning score of 86.520.

“I know that with Bella Rose everything is possible and it is up to me to make it happen. The piaffe/passage could not be better than it was tonight; the feeling was outstanding and the atmosphere was really special!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

Bronze went to Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy, the pair who really put themselves onto centre stage when also third in the Grand Prix Special and Freestyle at the 2017 Europeans. They posted 81.337 just before Schneider came into the ring but, typically modest, the Danish rider didn’t think that was good enough for a podium placing and headed back to the stables with her little chestnut gelding only to get the call-up to return to the arena. And that took a bit of reorganisation.

“I didn’t think I would get a medal so I told my groom to unplait him, so we had to put the plaits back in again – it was a bit of a surprise – but I’m so happy with Cassidy; he’s now 16 but he’s in such great shape!” she said.

Age is but a number to the horses competing this week, and there was huge excitement in the Irish camp when Judy Reynolds and her 17-year-old gelding Vancouver K separated the two remaining members of Tuesday’s gold-medal-winning German team, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl who slotted into fourth with TSF Dalera BB and Sonke Rothenberger and Cosmo in sixth place. Scoring 78.252, Reynolds finished fifth and set her second Irish record score of the week having helped secure an Olympic team qualifying spot for her country with another brilliant performance on Tuesday.

The evening’s competition had a real buzz about it and Judge a C, Susanne Baarup, said the Ground Jury enjoyed every moment of it. “It was an amazing class and also very exciting to judge because a lot of riders had some problems in there. I think as a judge it’s very emotional; we get goosebumps, and we give 9s and 10s and we think my god where do we end here! It’s really just the small details that separate the riders. We talked afterwards and said we want to do it again, we want to see them again, and of course we will do that on Saturday in the Freestyle, and we are really looking forward to it!”

Results here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Germans Already in Command after First Day of Dressage

Dorothee Schneider. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Team Germany took the first step on the road to their 24th team title when Dorothee Schneider and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl posted the two best scores on the opening day of the Longines FEI Dressage European Championships 2019 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Von Bredow-Werndl’s 76.894 with TSF Dalera BB topped the leaderboard until the closing stages when Schneider overtook her with a mark of 80.233 for a fabulous test with Showtime FRH. And with team-mates Sonke Rothenberger riding Cosmo and the legendary Isabell Werth riding Bella Rose still to come when the competition resumes, it seems the destiny of gold is all but already assured.

“I’m very happy to be in this team; I’m proud to be here and I’m very happy with my test!” said double-Olympian Schneider. Talking about her horse’s performance, she said there were “some very, very good parts, and in other parts he was a bit nervous, but altogether I am happy to have this result for the team and to be here and to have a fit horse!”

That’s because the 13-year-old gelding with which she won team gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is making a very significant comeback.

“Showtime was two years out, but at the beginning of this year we started him again and he’s getting better and better – in his concentration he was very good at the German Championships (in June) and he was very, very good in Aachen (in July) so it’s very emotional for me to have this horse under me again, and to feel how motivated he is!” — Dorothee Schneider (GER)

A superb personal-best Grand Prix score of 76.351 from Gareth Hughes with Classic Briolinca helped put Great Britain into silver-medal-spot going into the second day. “I couldn’t be happier!” he said.

“She’s had her injuries as well; she’s had a stop-start career at Grand Prix so she’s still quite inexperienced, but we’ve had a good season up to this. She suffers sometimes from nerves; she’s usually not very good at halting or walking, but today she was excellent; she was focused so I just had to point, keep her head up and use my leg when I needed to, and she took care of the rest!” said the rider who was a member of Britain’s silver-medal-winning team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Caen, France.

His compatriot, 23-year-old Charlotte Fry, produced a stunning senior championship debut to put 74.317 on the board with Dark Legend earlier in the day, and Hughes said, “Lottie did a great job – her first championship and she’s so young; she has nerves of steel… she’s another Charlotte (Dujardin)! She laid down a really good score to start with, and that always gives the second rider confidence. It’s a long day to hang around and wait; it’s a big build-up to going into the arena but we’re in a good position, and now it’s up to the two famous Brits to come out tomorrow and show what they can do!” he pointed out, referring to the remaining two British team members Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester.

And Sweden lies third going into the second day of action following a 74.224 for pathfinders Antonia Ramel with Brother de Jeu and 75.466 from Therese Nilshagen riding Dante Weltino OLD. This leaves Nilshagen in individual fourth spot behind Hughes, “but I’m not super-happy with my own ride today because I made a very big mistake in the one-tempis,” she said. “I think I must have done something wrong, and that cost us a lot of points and that’s a pity… but the rest was quite good and I hope that my team-mates will be much better than I was so we’ll see!” she added.

It’s still all very much to play for, with The Netherlands lying a close fourth ahead of Denmark in fifth, Portugal in sixth, Switzerland in seventh, Spain in eighth, and Russia in ninth place. And apart from the European medals up for grabs there is massive tension between the countries as yet not qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games who are battling for the three places on offer in this European team contest.

Chasing down those three spots are Denmark, Portugal, and Switzerland along with Ireland, France, Austria, Belgium, and Finland – the latter five nations holding 10th to 14th places on the team leaderboard going into the medal-deciding second half of the competition. A total of 15 nations started but the three-member side from Luxembourg are now out of contention after elimination for their pathfinder, Nicolas Wagner (Quater Back Junior).

Results here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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