Tag Archives: Isabell Werth

FEI Dressage World Cup: The Clash of the Queens

Their male counterparts had better watch out! The FEI Dressage World Cup leg in Lyon, organised as part of the Longines Equita Lyon Concours Hippique International (30 October to 3 November), will offer its loyal public a line-up of riders, and in particular of lady riders, which has rarely been seen at a French dressage show.

Charlotte Dujardin at the FEI World Cup leg in Lyon for the first time
The last (and only) time she appeared in the main arena at Lyon-Eurexpo was back in 2014, at the FEI Dressage World Cup Final, organised by Sylvie Robert’s team. And it was in Lyon that the English rider, at that time partnered by her legendary Valegro, won her first Final. Charlotte Dujardin, two-time winner of the title (Lyon 2014, Las Vegas 2015), three-time Olympic champion (team and individual medallist in London in 2012 and individual medallist in Rio in 2016), World champion in 2014, and five times gold medallist in a European Championship between 2011 and 2015, has made the 2019-2020 FEI Dressage World Cup her objective this winter. After a curtailed European Championship in 2019, where with Mount St John Freestyle she nevertheless beat her own record in the Grand Prix (81.91%), ‘Queen Charlotte’ is aiming to qualify her young ten-year-old mare for the 2020 Final in Las Vegas. Since her titles in Lyon in 2014 and Las Vegas in 2015, Charlotte Dujardin has only competed in three FEI World Cups: London in 2015 and in 2018, and Amsterdam in 2016. This season she should appear on at least three occasions, including Lyon.

Isabell Werth, one of our most loyal riders, heading for a fifth victory in Lyon?
Just as the Lyon ring brought success for the English rider Charlotte Dujardin, other riders have succeeded her since 2014 and in particular Germany’s Isabell Werth. Winner of the FEI World Cup leg in Lyon in 2010, then in 2016, 2017, and 2018, this legend of equestrian sport has nothing but praise when speaking of the only French leg on the circuit. She was also the ‘patron’ of the candidacy of the show when Sylvie Robert’s team was applying to the FEI to organise a Dressage World Cup.  In 2019, the German team is sending another of its brilliant ambassadors in the form of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who won the bronze medal this summer at the European Championships, and will also be appearing at the Longines Equita Lyon Concours Hippique International. She will be riding Zaire-E, the horse with which she came second at the FEI World Cup leg in Budapest, at the end of September.

Serious competitors also to be found on the men’s side
Dutchman Hans Peter Minderhoud, the winner of the FEI Dressage World Cup Final in 2016, is expected in Lyon, along with his fifteen-year-old stallion, Glock’s Zanardi.  Sweden’s Patrik Kittel, another horseman loyal to the Lyon leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup, will be riding his gelding Delaunay OLD, the horse with which he leapt up the world rankings this month (from the twentieth to the thirteenth position). The combination also won the FEI World Cup leg in Budapest, ahead of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl.

French riders headed up by Morgan Barbançon-Mestre
In the Hungarian World Cup leg in Budapest, Kittel was the winner, Germany’s Von Bredow-Werndl was second and Mestre came third. Riding Sir Donnerhall II OLD, she finished in the Grand Prix Freestyle with a record score for the combination: 77.75%!  Morgan and ‘Gus’ (the affectionate nickname given to the stallion by his rider) will head up a major French delegation in Lyon. The audience at the Longines Equita Lyon Concours Hippique International will have the chance to show their support for Stéphanie Brieussel and Amorak, Anne-Sophie Serre and Actuelle de Massa, and Alexandre Ayache with Zo What.

In order to showcase dressage to as many people as possible, the organisers of the Longines Equita Lyon Concours Hippique International have decided to open the FEI World Cup leg in Lyon to all the visitors. On Thursday 31 October in the morning and on Friday 1 November in the afternoon, spectators who have “trade show” tickets will discover the best dressage riders in the world, during performances worthy of the greatest specialists. On Thursday, the doors of the trade show will open at 7.30am to let spectators be comfortably seated in the stands at 8am.

  • The FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix presented by the Comité Régional d’Equitation Auvergne Rhône-Alpes: Thursday 31 October, at 8am
  • The FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle presented by FFE Generali: Friday 1 November, at 4pm

Press contact: Blizko Communication
Daniel Koroloff, Juliette Feytout – Mob.: +33(0)6 11 02 18 12
Email: daniel@blizko-communication.com

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

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.