Tag Archives: Isabell Werth

Werth Proves Unbeatable One More Time

Isabell Werth. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

In a competition that built to an incredible climax, Germany’s Isabell Werth (49) stood firm to win the FEI Dressage World Cup™ title for the fifth time in her extraordinary career. They came from all around the globe to take on the most successful equestrian athlete of all time and gave it everything they had, but she didn’t buckle under the pressure. That’s not her style.

As she entered the arena, second-last to go of the 18 starters, the crowd held its breath in anticipation. They had watched rider after rider throw everything they had at her, piling on the pressure as they also bid for the trophy they all want to win. The spectators were in a frenzy when Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Don Auriello drew the first half of the competition to a close with a breathtaking ride on her great Don Auriello, and they went into complete over-drive when it re-started with a new leading score from their own Patrick Kittel and Delaunay OLD.

But Laura Graves (31) blew the competition wide open when strutting to a score of 87.179 with just five left to go. As the American pointed out, her gelding Verdades, one of the five stunning 17-year-old horses who have graced this Final, is just getting better with age and she stayed out in front despite a spectacular ride for Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen (28) who didn’t hold anything back when steering the stallion Blue Hors Zack to a score of 85.468.

With a beautifully balanced test during which her elegant horse Goerklintgaards Dublet looked like he could do one-tempi changes all day, another of the strong American contingent, Kasey Perry-Glass, slotted in behind him. So, Graves was still holding court at the head of the leaderboard as Werth set off. But it wouldn’t be for long.

“My ride was really fantastic; my mare did a perfect test and she really deserved the win!” said the lady whose trophy cabinet is laden with gold medals, including six from Olympic Games, eight collected at World Games, and 12 from European Championships who put 88.871 on the board. Werth is never altogether pleased when asked what still drives her, at almost 50 years of age, to still be hungry for success, but she replied simply, “I live what I do… and this is what keeps me so competitive!”

Reflecting on her performance she said, “I could take all the risks at extended canter and take her back and the pirouettes were great. We could not have been better!” Except, as she admitted, in the one-tempi changes where there was a little blip. “I was arrogant there, so that was my fault!” she said.

She may have been brilliant once again, but the prize for the most exciting test went, without a shadow of doubt, to her compatriot and 2013 champion Helen Langehanenberg who finished third on a mark of 86.571 after a performance that, quite literally, ended with onlookers gasping in disbelief. None more than Judge at C, Magnus Ringmark, whose expression was priceless as the German rider’s 17-year-old stallion Damsey FRH exploded down the centreline in a massive extended trot, halting only inches from his table. “I thought he was going to end on my lap!” the Swedish Ground Jury member laughed afterwards.

“The sport has changed a lot since I won my first Final,” Werth reflected. That was 27 years ago, also in Gothenburg riding a horse called Fabienne. “We now have such a professional team around us, and there are great improvements on all sides. It is very important for us to keep the respect for the horse for the future and it’s great to see so many older horses still performing at this level; it shows how well they are cared for and how much respect their riders have for them,” she said.

Both runner-up Graves and third-placed Langehanenberg were riding two of those 17-year-olds, still full of the joys of life and still intensely competitive. Langehanenberg said of the hard-pulling Damsey FRH, “I am thankful and really proud of him. The clapping motivated him at the end of the test and I think he would have been quite happy to start all over again!”

This didn’t just mark Werth’s fifth victory; it was also her third in succession and, each time over the last three seasons, it has been Graves who she has had to pin back into runner-up spot.

“Like Isabell said, it is our duty to take care of our horses and try to keep them healthy. My horse likes his job and never puts a foot wrong when I ride him, although at the barn he knows he’s the boss! He was so rideable today, the crowd was amazing, and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as me!” said the American.

The greeting the riders received in the prizegiving suggested that the crowd most certainly did.

Result 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

Werth Wins Grand Prix, but Runner-Up Graves Looks a Powerful Threat

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

The legend that is Germany’s Isabell Werth (49) steered her wonderful 13-year-old mare, Weihegold OLD, to victory in the Grand Prix as the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019 got underway at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE).

But the World No. 1 rider, and the most decorated athlete in the history of equestrian sport, is taking nothing for granted as she chases down her third consecutive, and fifth overall, World Cup title.

“I can feel the breeze on the back of my neck!” she admitted, after the World No. 2 combination of America’s Laura Graves (31) and Verdades slotted into second place on a day when US riders were highly impressive.

Indeed, the deciding Freestyle competition looks set to be another thriller, and the sold-out stadium will be throbbing with excitement. Third-placed Dane, Daniel Bachmann Andersen, said it suited his stallion Blue Hors Zack when the crowd clapped enthusiastically as they came into the ring. But Judy Reynolds’ Vancouver K didn’t feel the same way, spinning around with fright and boiling over at times when they were first to go. The Irishwoman, whose Freestyle programme is a big crowd favourite, just shrugged it off after finishing 14th of 18 starters. That blip is already confined to history as far as she is concerned.

It was America’s Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet who headed the leaderboard with a score of 77.267 at the halfway stage after a performance that oozed partnership between horse and rider. And when Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey posted 76.957 as the second-half action began, the US rider was still out in front. But then Werth set off with Weihegold and the big scores just kept coming in, the precision and quality of the mare’s work seeing them post 81.755 to soar out in front.

Bachmann Andersen’s Blue Hors Zack did a lovely test. “He’s just getting better and better!” said the Danish star who temporarily slotted into second when putting 78.152 on the board, but Werth’s lead looked very vulnerable when Graves followed him into the ring, fourth-last to go. Some big early scores suggested the American just might oust the defending double-champion, but there was a little mistake in extended trot and the final scoreline of 80.109 left Werth in pole position.

The German superstar and multiple champion knows the story is far from over, however, and Graves reminded her of that at the post-competition press conference. You could tell that the American meant it when she said, “I’m incredibly hungry to be at the top of the podium and I’ll do my very best tomorrow. I know there is a real chance; I believe in this horse – he’s 17 but in the best shape ever!”

But Werth has been to battle, and won, so many times before, and as she said, “Gothenburg holds great memories for me.” It was here that she posted her very first FEI Dressage World Cup Final win with Fabienne in 1992. Can she do it again 27 years later? As she said, “Tomorrow is a whole new game – we will have to wait and see.”

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Can Graves Go One Better in Gothenburg?

German superstar, Isabell Werth, returns to defend her title at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2019 Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next week. She’ll have to fend off many powerful opponents, including America’s Laura Graves. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Demand for tickets for the FEI Dressage World Cup™ and Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals has been so incredibly high that the show organisers are providing a big-screen experience for those who can’t access a seat in the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE) on the deciding days. “The tickets have long been sold out and we have been working for a long time to come up with a solution that makes it possible for more people to take part in this year’s horse party!” said Gothenburg Horse Show Project Manager, Patrik Fredriksson. So, in co-operation with EuroHorse, all visitors can watch Saturday and Sunday’s thrilling Final action live on-screen in the adjoining Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre which hosts a hugely popular equestrian fair.

The excitement is already palpable with just days to go before the doors are opened to many of the best horse-and-rider combinations in the world next Wednesday, 3 April. For Germany’s Isabell Werth, it’s a matter of taking on all challengers in her bid to add a fifth Dressage title to the extraordinary list of achievements that has confirmed her status as the most successful equestrian athlete of all time.

Stalking her every inch of the way will be America’s Laura Graves who, partnering the now 17-year-old Verdades, has come dangerously close to ousting the German star over the last few seasons. They were runners-up at the Finals in 2017 and 2018, and, at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA last September where they helped clinch team silver, only Werth and Bella Rose stood between them and individual gold.

Graves has to be hungry to go that one step further which would see her become only the third American FEI Dressage World Cup™ title-holder in the 34 editions of the series.

It was in Gothenburg in 2003 that Debbie McDonald claimed the USA’s first victory partnering Brentina, and Steffen Peters steered Ravel into pole position in Las Vegas six years later.

Look at the line-up though and there are many other hopes and dreams to be realised. Could Patrik Kittel and Delauney OLD become only the second-ever Swedish champions? It’s 21 years since Louise Nathorst and LRF Walk on Top triumphed on home soil in Gothenburg, pipping the legendary duo of The Netherlands Anky Van Grunsven and Bonfire, while Isabell Werth and Anthony FRH finished third.

Can Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen produce the same level of expertise that saw him win the final leg of the Western European League at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) two weeks ago with the one-eyed stallion Blue Hors Zack? What an amazing story that would be: only one other Dane has ever done it and that was Anne-Grethe Jensen with Marzog who pinned Great Britain’s Christopher Bartle, now one of the world’s most celebrated coaches, into second place with Wily Trout, while Switzerland’s Christine Stuckelberger finished third with Rubelit von Unkelruf. That was at the inaugural FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final staged in ’s-Hertogenbosch in 1986 – all of 33 years ago but, like all great sporting moments, embedded into the memory of those who witnessed it.

And then of course there’s Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K, a horse purchased for the price of a second-hand car who has broken Irish records like it’s going out of style in recent years and who, at 17 years of age, is better and fresher than ever. This pair has a big fanbase – Reynolds has achieved every little girl’s dream in finding a horse to take her to the top of the sport, and the diminutive and super-talented rider has been consistently threatening for a podium placing at majors over the last few seasons. Gothenburg holds good memories for them because they finished eighth at their first FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final there in 2016 before moving right up to fourth in Omaha (USA) the following year. They’ve been achieving personal-best scores in quick succession over the last few months and their “Riverdance” themed floorplan and music will get the toes tapping and the hands clapping for sure – the Gothenburg crowd are guaranteed to fall in love with them. Could they completely break the mould and become the very first Irish winners? What a story that would be.

Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city, located on the west coast of the country with a stunning archipelago just around the corner. It’s a great city to visit and it’s already starting to fill up with fans wanting to get a glimpse of their favourite equestrian stars and waiting for the action to kick off with warm-up classes and national events on 3 April. The first competition in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final, the Grand Prix, will take place at 13.00 on Thursday 4 April and the deciding Freestyle will hold centre stage on Saturday 6 at 16.00. It’s going to be a week of spectacular sport, and for Dressage fans the biggest question is: can anyone beat Isabell? We’ll have to wait and see.

Check out all the details here.

Gothenburg Horse Show website here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Wonder-Woman Werth Faces Stiff Opposition as She Chases Down Fifth Title

USA’s Laura Graves (left) and Germany’s Isabell Werth (right). (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

German legend must hold back a rising tide of top talent

She may be the only rider to have qualified two horses for the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019, but Germany’s Isabell Werth has an army of opponents hoping to snatch the crown from her head when the action gets underway at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE).

A total of 18 combinations from 12 countries are now confirmed for this 34th annual contest, with representatives from Belarus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, and USA, as well as two of her own compatriots, all ready to take on the undisputed queen of their sport.

The most medalled athlete in equestrian history will need to be on her toes, but if ever there was a lady who knows a thing or two about rising to the occasion and upping her game when it’s really needed, then that is the doyenne of dressage whose massive medal haul includes six Olympic and eight World Championship golds.

It seems a lifetime ago since she first held the FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy aloft after a brilliant performance with Fabienne in Gothenburg back in 1992. How nice it would be to do it all again in the same Swedish city 27 years later, especially since another victory would also secure a three-in-a-row hat-trick after proving unbeatable with Weihegold in both 2017 and again last year.

The only other rider to have secured three consecutive titles is The Netherlands’ Anky van Grunsven who was unbeaten with the great Bonfire between 1995 and 1997, and whose spectacular total of nine wins over a 13-year period is unlikely ever to be challenged.

With a superb series of results on the Western European League circuit, Werth has qualified both Weihegold and Emilio this time around, but Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen threw a shot across the bows of all his rivals when coming out on top at the last leg of the series in ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) 10 days ago. Werth and Emilio had to settle for third that day behind fellow-countrywoman Helen Langehanenberg, who produced a personal-best from Damsey FRH. Bachmann-Andersen was last to go and swept them all aside, however, when laying it all on the line with the extraordinary one-eyed stallion Blue Hors Zack.

The complete line-up from the Western European League includes Bachmann-Andersen, Langehanenberg and fellow-German Benjamin Werndl (Daily Mirror), Sweden’s Patrik Kittel (Delauney OLD) and Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (Don Auriello), The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud (Dream Boy NOP), Portugal’s Maria Caetano (Coroado), Morgan Barbancon (Sir Donnerhall) from France, and Ireland’s Judy Reynolds (Vancouver K).

Central Europe will be represented by Russia’s Regina Isachkina (Sun of May Life) and Olga Safronova (Sandro D’Amour) from Belarus, while Yvonne Losos de Muniz (Aquamarijn) will fly the flag of the Dominican Republic. The FEI Extra Starting places have gone to German-based South African Tanya Seymour (Ramoneur), America’s Adrienne Lyle (Salvino), and The Netherlands’ Emmelie Scholtens (Apache), but one of the biggest threats to Werth’s supremacy may well come from Laura Graves (Verdades), who, along with Kasey Perry-Glass (Goerklintgaards Dublet), has qualified through the North American League.

Confirmed Dressage entries list here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Werth Wins, but Reynolds Prevents German Whitewash in Neumünster

Isabell Werth with Weihegold. (FEI/Stefan Lafrentz)

The undeniable queen of Dressage, Isabell Werth (49), won the ninth and penultimate leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League on home ground at Neumünster (GER) with her multi-medalled mare Weihegold. On a day when the German star and her accomplished compatriots claimed six of the top seven places in a super-hot competition however, Ireland’s Judy Reynolds (37) lifted the hopes and dreams of enthusiasts around the world when snatching third spot with her brilliant little gelding, Vancouver K.

Werth and her super-mare are defending FEI Dressage World Cup™ double-champions having stormed to victory in Omaha (USA) in 2017 and again in Paris (FRA) last season. They took the lead with a score of 86.810 when fourth-last to go, and their closest challengers were the 2018 Neumünster winners Helen Langehanenberg (36) and Damsey FRH, who were last into the arena, posting a mark of 83.825 for second place.

That pushed Reynolds and the little Dutch-bred gelding she calls JP down to third, but this was a sensational result for the pair who fly the flag of a horse-loving country that is really only waking up to the excitement of the sport of Dressage. After becoming the first-ever Irish partnership to take a podium placing in a Western European League Grand Prix, they broke the Irish international Freestyle record score they set in Amsterdam (NED) last month when putting 82.750 on the board.

“I was in the arena training this morning at 6am, and Patrick [her husband] and I were chatting before we got down to work. We were wondering, do people say, ‘If she can get into the middle of the Germans, then maybe I can too!’” — Judy Reynolds IRL (3rd)

“JP is a relatively normal pony but he’s getting in there and shaking them up a bit!” Reynolds added with a laugh.

She temporarily slotted into runner-up position behind Werth whose performance was met with a roar of approval from the knowledgeable Neumünster crowd. You could hear a pin drop during every test in the compact Holstenhallen.

“It’s outstanding – it’s like riding in a hot-spot and there’s a special emotion here, special people, special spectators, supporting us all the time,” Werth said after posting her fourth winning score of the season and her fifth victory at this German venue.

The crowd clearly enjoyed every moment, and the lady who won the first of her four World Cup titles in Gothenburg (SWE) in 1992 with Fabienne is now planning to give Weihegold a break, but will bring her other top ride, Emilio, to the last leg of the series at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) next month as a kind of insurance policy. “Just in case – it’s always good to have two horses qualified!” said the multiple champion who has a super-talented string to choose from and who will be returning to the Swedish city where she posted that first memorable win 27 years ago to defend her title in April.

Langehanenberg’s second-place finish leaves her lying second on the Western European League leaderboard, behind compatriot Dorothee Schneider who lined up fifth with Sammy Davis Jr and who is celebrating her 50th birthday. The biggest dilemma that German team manager Monica Theodorescu has now is to decide which two of the five German riders currently in the leading pack will join Werth at the Final, because each nation is only permitted to field three horse-and-rider combinations.

This result leaves Reynolds on the edge of the qualification zone, with only the top nine from this league making the cut. One more good run at the last leg in ’s-Hertogenbosch should seal it for the Irishwoman whose new Freestyle music and floorplan are going down a storm with both judges and spectators alike. This was only the third time for them to perform to their “Lord of the Dance” soundtrack and, at 17 years of age, the sometimes quirky Vancouver K looks to be still growing in comfort and confidence in the ring.

“JP is in the best form he’s ever been in! It was never our plan to do so many shows so close together but it seems to suit us better and he’s loving it!” said the rider who, as Ireland’s sole representative at the very top end of the sport right now, is inspiring many others in both her own country and elsewhere to strive to also be the best they can be.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Werth and Weihegold Are Untouchable in Amsterdam

Isabell Werth with Weihegold OLD. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

Germany dominates podium with Schneider in second and Langehanenberg in third 

Four-time series champion, Isabell Werth (49) from Germany, stamped her authority all over the opposition with another superb win at the eighth leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League in Amsterdam (NED).

Having lifted the trophy for the last two years, Werth is automatically qualified for the 2019 Final in Gothenburg (SWE) in April. Her only task throughout the season is to compete twice with the horse with which she intends to defend her title, and after winning in Lyon (FRA) with Emilio and stealing the show in Stuttgart (GER) with Bella Rose, she showed just how spoiled she is for choice when coming out on top once more, this time with the brilliant mare Weihegold OLD who carried her to victory in both 2017 and 2018.

The most medalled athlete in equestrian sport, who is targeting her fifth title and her third in a row, was delighted with Weihegold’s performance, especially following some unexpected shenanigans on their way to pole position in the Grand Prix.

“Today she was much more calm – yesterday she did the first part of the test nicely, but she really turned it on in the canterwork and we couldn’t manage the two-tempis! Today she was much more cool. The thing about her is that sometimes she just wants it all too much – but this is a mistake I can live with!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

On a day of total German domination, her compatriots Dorothee Schneider (49) riding Sammy Davis Jr and Helen Langehanenberg (36) partnering Damsey FRH finished second and third, while fourth place went to popular Swede, Patrik Kittel (42) with Delauney OLD. Schneider has now moved to the head of the Western European League leaderboard from which the top nine will qualify for the Final.

Langehanenberg, series champion in 2013, set the first half of the competition alight with a technically tough but superbly executed Freestyle from the 17-year-old Damsey, who was with her every inch of the way to take the lead with a score of 82.440 that would not be easy to catch. Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen posted 80.400 with the lovely 11-year-old stallion Blue Hors Don Olymbrio, but the pair who topped the previous leg in Mechelen (BEL) last month, The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Dream Boy NOP, squeezed them out of temporary second spot when putting 81.380 on the board.

And then, with four left to go, Schneider’s Sammy Davis Jr swaggered his way to the top of the scoreboard with a brilliant test that included spectacular trot-work and perfect passage. Their mark of 82.675 was now the one to beat, and Kittel came close when Delaunay OLD was awarded 82.440 for a very difficult floorplan, while the penultimate partnership of Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K danced their way to 80.290. On a day of competition that was of championship standard this would slot her into seventh place and set a new Irish international record score, so her support crew were already celebrating as she left the arena.

Last in, however, Werth and Weihegold were in a league of their own, the mare producing a near-seamless test that clearly demonstrated her extraordinary skills and those of her truly exceptional rider. “She was full of focus and motivation today – really fantastic,” the German legend said of her horse whose beautiful big ears were standing to attention all the way through their test.

Werth plans to do both of the two remaining Western European League qualifiers, on home ground at Neumunster (GER) in three weeks’ time and ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in March, giving both Emilio and Weihegold another outing each. And she’s really looking forward to the Final in Gothenburg.

It’s 27 years since she won her first FEI Dressage World Cup™ title in that same Swedish city in 1992, “and it’s very special to go back. I always really love going there because it’s a fantastic show!” she said. But, typically modest, she wouldn’t be drawn on the prospect of posting that fifth series success.

“I would never say I’m going there to win – I’ve been doing this job for a long time now and you never know what’s going to happen. You know me – I always like to keep both feet on the ground!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Isabell Werth Master Class & Clinic to Take Place at AGDF on Thursday, February 7

Wellington, FL – January 18, 2019 – The Adequan® Global Dressage Festival is excited to announce the first-ever Master Class and Clinic with dressage sensation Isabell Werth (GER), one of the most decorated equestrians in history and current leader of the FEI Dressage World Ranking List. The clinic will take place on Thursday, February 7, during week five of AGDF at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), located at 13500 South Shore Boulevard Wellington, FL 33414.

Gates will open to the public at 5:00 p.m. and the first clinic session will begin at 5:30 p.m. An autograph signing with Werth will take place prior to the start of the clinic with posters provided. Three clinic sessions are set to be featured, showcasing up to six horse and rider combinations, ranging from Young Horse through Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix levels.

Tickets are required for the event. To purchase tickets, click here or visit www.globaldressagefestival.com. General Admission tickets for the event are priced at $50/ticket, while Covered Seating ticket holders will have upgraded seating and access to a cash bar for $75/ticket. Premier VIP seating, including a buffet dinner and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, are available for $175/ticket. Tickets will be scanned prior to entry into the venue. Ample food and beverage options will be available throughout the grounds for General Admission tickets, as well as for those purchasing Covered Seating tickets. Parking for the event will be free of charge.

Werth remains one of the most decorated equestrians of all time, amassing a tremendous ten medals in her five Olympic Games appearances (1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2016), including six Gold. Currently the number one-ranked Dressage rider in the world, Werth has competed at the top levels of the sport for over four decades and has an extensive list of accomplishments, both Team and Individual, for her home nation of Germany in international competition. Most recently Werth took Team Gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and was the highest placed individual rider throughout the competition, earning two Gold medals.

“We are honored to host Isabell in what is sure to be a spectacular evening for our dressage community here in Wellington,” said Thomas Baur, Director of Sport for AGDF. “Isabell’s talent and ability to educate are incredibly valuable and we couldn’t be more thrilled to host a clinic opportunity like this at AGDF during our CDI 5* week.”

For riders interested in submitting interest to participate in the clinic, please send your competition history, horse details, and brief description to clinics@equestriansport.com by Wednesday, January 23. A selection committee will review applications and directly contact riders chosen to participate.

There will be a strict no videoing or streaming policy enforced for the entirety of the clinic.

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

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

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

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