Tag Archives: Isabell Werth

Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old New World Dressage Number One

Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old. (Richard Juilliart/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 1 November 2016 – Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old are now top of the world Dressage rankings thanks to their stellar win at last week’s FEI World Cup™ Dressage in Lyon (FRA), where Werth produced a personal-best Freestyle score of 90.09.

The 47-year-old athlete and her 11-year-old mare, who won team gold and individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, now top the world Dressage rankings with 2869 points, ahead of Kristina Bröring-Sprehe (GER) and her 15-year-old Hannoverian stallion Desperados FRH (2813 points) who had held the lead since February this year.

FEI World Cup™ Dressage – making its mark

The FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 series, which is now heading to the third qualifier in Stuttgart on 18-19 November, is certainly making its mark in the world Dressage rankings.

Great Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck, who placed second at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage in Lyon last week, after winning team silver in Rio, have now jumped into fifth (2448 points) behind fourth-placed Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades (2462 points), and Dorothee Schneider (GER) and Showtime FRH (2679 points) in third.

Spain’s Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez and Lorenzo, who won the opening leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Odense (DEN) just two weeks ago – and placed fifth in Rio while grabbing global headlines for their love of Santana and Bon Jovi – has also jumped four places into the top ten (2355 points).

Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED), who won the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Final in Gothenburg in March with Glock’s Flirt is now not only eleventh in the world Dressage rankings with this same horse, but has also made a phenomenal leap from 176th to 32nd in the world rankings with Glock’s Johnson TN N.O.P thanks to their third place in Lyon.

Bettina de Rham, FEI Dressage Director, said: “Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old blew the competition away at the FEI World Cup Dressage in Lyon. We now have seven more qualifiers in the Western European League, and if the competition stays this tight we will have an incredible Final in Omaha next March.”

View the full FEI World Dressage Rankings here.

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Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Werth and Weihegold Produce Spectacular Win in Lyon

Isabell Werth riding Weihegold. (Pierre Costabadie/FEI).

Lyon (FRA), 28 October 2016 – German superstar, Isabell Werth, produced a personal-best Freestyle score of 90.09 to win the second leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League at Lyon in France. The 47-year-old rider and her 11-year-old mare simply blew the competition away with an outstanding performance that seemed to take even this multi-medalled athlete by surprise.

The pair, who claimed team gold and individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, was always favourites, especially after winning Thursday’s preliminary Grand Prix. But the scale of Friday’s victory was exceptional. “I was expecting she could do a super job, but to get more than 90 percent – now that was amazing! She has really improved since Rio!” Werth said of her talented horse.

Big score

Britain’s Carl Hester and his Olympic ride Nip Tuck finished second with a big score of 85.02, while defending FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion, The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud, slotted into third with Glock’s Johnson on a mark of 80.22. In an all-German battle for fourth it was Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Zaire-E who edged out birthday girl Fabienne Lutkemeier and D’Agostino FRH by just 0.01 marks when posting 79.63, while Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Deja filled sixth place on 77.97.

Kittel led the world-class 15-strong field at the halfway stage, but once Werth set sail with four left to go, the result never seemed in any doubt, Weihegold’s confidence and self-carriage complimenting delightful passage, piaffe and pirouette. In essence it all seemed effortless, and as she left the arena the six-time Olympic gold medallist had the broadest of smiles.

More power

“Since Rio my mare has even more power and more muscle, and I know we can be even better. I need a few more competitions to make it really come together but it’s so exciting!” said the athlete who secured the first of her two FEI World Cup™ Dressage titles in 1992 and who has the 2017 Final at Omaha (USA) firmly in her sights.

Hester has the same target, and joked that he felt he had a great chance now that his protégés, the world-beating partnership of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, are retiring. “I thought this season might be my opportunity, but now that Isabell is getting so much better it’s going to be a tougher fight!” he said.

The nine-leg series now moves to Stuttgart in Germany next month.

Detailed result here

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER (1st): “My plan is to compete Weihegold in Stuttgart, then she has a break and I will bring out Johnny (Don Johnson) and we will see how it goes. Of course she (Weihegold) should be my first choice for the Final.”

Carl Hester GBR (2nd): “I’ll compete at Olympia and Amsterdam and I’m hoping that in December/January, I will get enough points so I can relax after that, but we’ll have to see how it goes. We’re all competitors and we all want to win, but we all have our limitations, the horses and the riders, so coming second today felt like winning!”

Hans Peter Minderhoud NED (3rd): “I had an easier ride today than yesterday; there was a small misunderstanding on last centreline when my horse thought we were finished but we had to do a bit more. Having an audience like this in Lyon is great; my horse counts the spectators and the bigger the crowd the better he is! As I’m already qualified it’s going to be a fairly relaxed season. I plan is to ride Glock’s Flirt in London and then go to Amsterdam and den Bosch. I’ll ride Flirt at one of those shows and Johnson at the other so will have ridden both horses twice in the season, so I have two to choose from for the Final.”

Isabel Judet (FRA), Ground Jury President, when asked about her thoughts on the high score of 90 percent, which is so rare: “Lyon is lucky to have some of world’s best riders and when you have them then you have good scores! I’m very happy the French public was able to enjoy dressage at this level – you don’t get to see it every day!”

Karen Tebar FRA (7th): “This was my best score ever! I’m very happy. I have this horse for 18 months and this is our first indoor of the season. This is quite an impressive show for riders and horses but it is nice and well organised.”

Bettina de Rham, FEI Dressage Director: “Lyon is a magnificent show and using the new judging system was a positive thing. Dressage is continuously developing and moving forward.”

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Social media: #FEIWorldCupWEL #RidetoOmaha #FEIWorldCupFinals #TwoHearts

Rider biographies: view online and download from www.fei.org/bios.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Lyon:

Daniel Koroloff
Press Officer
presse@equitalyon.com
+33 478 17 3073

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Normal Order Restored as Germany Takes Olympic Dressage Team Gold Once Again

L to R – Isabell Werth, Dorothee Schneider, Sönke Rothenberger and Kristina Bröring-Sprehe. (Richard Juillart/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 12 August 2016 – Like re-booting to re-establish a connection, Germany clinched team Dressage gold in considerable style at the Olympic Equestrian Park in Deodoro. Germany has now won eight of the last nine Olympic team Dressage contests – with only Great Britain spoiling the party on home soil in 2012 – and the result brings the Germans overall tally to 13 sets of Olympic team golds.

Already looking like the ones to beat after topping Thursday’s Grand Prix, they stamped their authority all over Friday’s deciding Grand Prix Special with a team total of 81.936. Great Britain had to settle for silver with 78.595 while Team USA, posting 76.667, fended off the Netherlands for bronze. It was a tough day for the Dutch who lost out on a podium placing by a margin of just 1.15 percentage points. And with last-to-go German team member, Isabell Werth (47), posting the highest score of the day – 83.711 – with the fabulous mare Weihegold and pinning Britain’s 2012 double-champions Charlotte Dujardin (31) and Valegro into second place in the individual standings, the stage is set for a fascinating battle for the individual title in Monday’s Freestyle.

This was Werth’s sixth Olympic gold medal, her first two collected in Barcelona (ESP) in 1992 where she claimed team gold and individual silver. And she has now matched the record set by the Netherlands’ Anky van Grunsven with nine Olympic medals in total. If she picks up another on Monday she will hold a whole new record.

Sönke Rothenberger’s pathfinding ride for Germany with Cosmo was only good enough for 10th place at the end of a day on which many riders exceeded even their own expectations. The judges were unrelenting, however, in punishing mistakes and, already reduced to a team of three, Dutch chances of overtaking the Americans slipped away when Edward Gal and Voice posted 73.655. “I wanted to take some risks, but there were too many mistakes,” he admitted afterwards. Going in the latter stages of competition the Americans knew what they had to do, but it came down to the final rider to ensure the bronze, and Laura Graves and Verdades really nailed it with a personal-best score of 80.644.

In silver medal spot as the day began, the British felt the pressure, but Carl Hester wasn’t prepared to take any monkey-business from his naughty gelding, Nip Tuck, who lost marks with silly spooking in Thursday’s test. “There was no way he was going to do that again today!” he said after posting 76.485. And even though Dujardin’s performance wasn’t quite what she wanted due to a mistake in the first half-pass which cost her dearly, she still earned a massive 82.983.

But Dorothee Schneider and Showtime had already scored 82.619, and world number one Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Desperados were only a little short of that with 81.401, so when Werth threw down 83.711 after a magical and confident test with the lovely mare Weihegold the German win was in the bag. Werth knew she had produced something extra-special. “Today’s performance was near the optimum. I don’t think it will be easy to repeat it – this was a day of days!” she said.

Result here

Quotes:

Edward Gal: “He (Voice) showed much more expression but with the mistakes the scores were really low. He felt sharper than in the Grand Prix; we had a mistake in the two-tempis and then he felt like he wanted to run away. I had to take some risks but I made too many mistakes and that was a pity.”

Diederik van Silfhout NED: “I’m really happy; he didn’t make any mistakes he just got a little bit tired at the end. It was a long trip and he’s been here now two weeks. You do best but I was hoping for 78/79. I had a good feeling coming out of the arena so I was a bit disappointed with the result. He was really sharp and up; he always wants to fight and to go brilliantly. After yesterday we just said we would give everything today and do our best.”

Hans Peter Minderhoud NED: “It was much better than yesterday, more freshness and energy; there were some small things but I was disappointed with the score – it’s two points less than yesterday. We (the Dutch team) talked together as a group yesterday and agreed we didn’t want to go home without a medal so we would fight, so we had to take some risks today and now we have to wait. The new draw in the group is not good for us; there is only one percent difference with the Americans but it’s quite tough how it works. They all have a number four rider too; it hasn’t been an easy time for us at this championships but we did what we could – we will wait and see.”

Dorothee Schneider GER: “My horse did an amazing job; he felt easy. I was so delighted. In passage I had so much power in the hind end. Going into Freestyle I’m 50 kilos lighter! He’s fit and he wants to do it, so I won’t do too much with him before Monday.”

Steffen Peters USA:  “There were a couple of little fumbles but 74.198 was the score we needed before I went in and I got 74.622. I’ve been waiting for this since 1996!”

Fiona Bigwood GBR: “She (Orthilia) spooked at a camera; they are flight animals so what can you do – it was just one of those things.”

Laura Graves USA: “To get that elusive 80 percent and to do it at the Olympic Games! I knew it was going well and you hope that is reflected by the marks from the judges. I had no idea what I needed to do; there was pressure but it doesn’t achieve anything to let it get to you. He (Verdades) gets pretty wound up in the warm-up but he is a great performer when he comes into the ring; he really likes it!”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

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

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Werth and Weihegold Make It Two-in-a-Row at Neumünster

Isabell Werth and Weihegold. (FEI/Stefan Lafrantz)

Neumünster (GER), 21 February 2016 – Germany’s Isabell Werth steered the 11-year-old mare, Weihegold OLD, to their second successive victory together at the penultimate leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League on home ground in Neumünster (GER). Last time out in Amsterdam (NED) at the end of January, the pair posted a great score of 83.450, and they passed the 84 percent mark for another sparkling performance which has lifted Werth to the top of the League leaderboard by a considerable margin.

Runner-up was Jessica von Bredow-Werndl with Unee BB who scored 80.900, three percentage points less than their second-place score at the Dutch fixture last month. However, this German duo was big favourites with the Neumünster crowd who had a significant influence on the sport all weekend. The proximity of the spectators to the field of play contributed to the intense atmosphere in the ring, and proved too much for some. In yesterday’s Grand Prix, Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak decided to retire when her 16-year-old horse Hoennerups Driver simply couldn’t cope with the excitement.

Even Werth admitted that she felt the tension. “I couldn’t have expected such a good result in this electric atmosphere!” said the multiple Olympian and two-time FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion, who now has her sights firmly fixed on the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016 Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next month.

Set the target

League leader, Patrik Kittel from Sweden, set the early target in today’s Freestyle when scoring 74.350 with the 10-year-old Delauney, and this was followed by 74.275 from Australia’s Kristy Oakley.

Kristy is a cousin of Kittel’s wife, Lyndal Oatley, who was also in action, finishing eleventh with Sandro Boy. Kristy’s father, Rainer Nist, was a German Young Rider champion and her grandfather, Robert Oatley, won the world-famous Admiral’s Cup yacht race in 2003, so the cousins come from a family filled with sporting genes.

The host nation contenders began to flex their not-inconsiderable muscle when Fabienne Lutkemeier went out in front when eleventh to go of the 15 starters. Her mark of 75.575 would only prove good enough for fifth place in the final analysis, however, and her dominance was short-lived when von Bredow-Werndl followed her into the ring. The 30-year-old athlete, who finished third at the 2015 Reem Acra Final in Las Vegas (USA), wasn’t entirely satisfied with her leading mark of 80.900. “Unee was a little shy and introverted today, so he was not so expressive,” von Bredow-Werndl said afterwards.

Poland’s Beata Stremier and Rubicon D then put an impressive 76.325 on the board before Werth blew the competition apart with her score of 84.600. And when 2012 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage champions, The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival, were awarded 78.775, then she nudged Stremier down to fourth spot and Werth was the confirmed winner once again.

Confident of victory

When asked afterwards if she felt confident of victory going into today’s class, Werth replied, “I was hoping for a good score, but you never know until the end. My horse is in good shape but I was not expecting this electric atmosphere so I’m completely happy that she dealt with it. There was one mistake, but were more with the music today; the whole thing had more shape to it and it was more experience for my mare. We are getting more confident with each other and with the music, and that was the whole thing basically. I’m very happy,” she explained.

Second-placed von Bredow-Werndl said she couldn’t believe the reception she got from the spectators. “They were amazing. I live at other end of Germany; I’m from Bavaria so these are not people I know but I think they must love my horse!” she said. Talking about today’s performance, she pointed out, “I felt in Amsterdam that Unee was in very, very good shape, athletic with lots of power, very supple and with me all the way. I’ve been having so much fun working with him and he has improved a lot over the last few weeks, but it was not as good as Amsterdam today or yesterday, because the crowd is so close to the arena.

“Usually he loves that but this is a very special atmosphere here,” she continued. “There was no noise, but there is a lot of electricity so he didn’t show himself in the same way. I wanted him to be more self-confident and convinced. I wanted us to be at least as good as we were in Amsterdam, so I am a bit disappointed because of the bigger difference in points between Isabell and me. In Amsterdam there was only one point; today it was three percent, but I know what we can improve on that,” she added.

Looking forward to the final

She is looking forward to the Final in Gothenburg now. “There are just four weeks left and that’s perfect. We will have one week of holiday (for Unee) and then start to train again,” von Bredow-Werndl explained. Her next trip will be to Doha (QAT) with Zaire – “she’s also in the top 30 of the world rankings and she is my next superstar!” said the rider who also has the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in her line of sight.

“I will probably do Hagen (GER) as my first outdoor competition in April and then we will do the two official qualifiers for Rio, at Balve and Aachen,” she explained. When asked if she felt confident of selection to represent her country in Brazil next August, she replied, “You never know in Germany because we have so many strong combinations. All I can do is focus on my own performances and do my very best!”

Werth also has her plans in place for the coming months, and is looking forward to the return of the mare, Bella Rose, who helped to clinch team gold for Germany at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA) in 2014, and who she hopes to bring to Rio.

In work already

“Bella Rose is in work already and I will bring her out later in season. We are really focused, but it is step by step and fingers crossed,” she said, referring to the horse’s return to the top level of the sport after a long injury break. “It will be a really slow build up for her; I don’t want to put pressure on her by bringing her out in a Freestyle; I want her to come back and relax. She has so much temperament, it would be crazy to bring her to an indoor and it was never the plan to put her in the World Cup anyway. She feels more free and relaxed outside, so that’s the plan,” Werth explained.

With Weihegold growing ever-more confident and Don Johnson also in flying form she may be spoiled for choice this summer. But first she will bid for another FEI World Cup™ Dressage title in Sweden next month.

It is 24 years since she first claimed the trophy with Fabienne at Gothenburg in 1992, and nine years since she stood top of the podium in Las Vegas after victory with Warum Nicht. When asked if she thinks she could make it a hat-trick in a few weeks’ time, she replied, “I’m so long in the sport that I know that the next show is a new day and a new situation. We will try our best; yes I am in a good situation, but nothing more. I will go to Dortmund in two weeks and then to den Bosch (s’Hertogenbosch, NED) with Don (Johnson) and then the Final. We will see,” she concluded.

For further information on the eighth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League in Neumünster (GER), visit reitturnier-neumuenster.de or contact Press Officer Andreas Kerstan, andreaskerstan@comtainment.de, +49 4307827973.

The ninth and last qualifying round of the 2016 Western European League series will take place at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) on Saturday 12 March 2016. For details of the Dutch fixture, visit www.indoorbrabant.com or contact Press Officer Denise van der Net, info@denisevandernet.nl, +31 6270 31674.

Detailed result here.

Facts and Figures:

The Holstenhallen in Neumünster, Germany was the venue for the second-last qualifying leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League series.

The host nation’s Isabell Werth secured her second victory in a row with the exciting 11-year-old mare Weihegold when scoring 84.000 percent.

A total of 28 horse-and-rider combinations competed in the preliminary Grand Prix yesterday, and the top-15 went through to today’s points-gaining Freestyle.

Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak retired during the Grand Prix when her horse, the 12-year-old Hoennerups Driver, was overwhelmed by the intense atmosphere in the arena.

Competitors from 10 nations – Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine – competed in today’s Freestyle.

The Ground Jury consisted of: At E, Dr Dietrich Plewa; At H, Dr Evi Eisenhardt; At C, Ghislain Fouarge; At M, Yuri Romanov: At B, Susanne Baarup.

The winning score for Werth and Weihegold was 84.600.

The German rider has now ousted Sweden’s Patrik Kittel from the top of the Western European League leaderboard while fellow-German, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl who was runner-up with Unee BB, lies second ahead of Kittel in third going into the final qualifier.

The last qualifying round will take place at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) on Saturday 12 March 2016.

The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2016 will take place in Gothenburg (SWE) from 23-28 March 2016.

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER (1st), when asked which horse she intends taking to the Reem Acra 2016 Final: “The plan is Don Johnson; he was great in the Europeans and deserves to go to Gothenburg.”

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER (2nd), talking about today’s performance with Unee BB: “Although this wasn’t as convincing as our performance in Amsterdam, it was still very good, and I love this Freestyle!”

FEI TV: Unfortunately technical issues meant that it was not possible to live-stream the Neumunster leg on FEI TV. This has now been corrected and the competition can be watched in full here.

FEI YouTube here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

At Neumünster:

Andreas Kerstan
Press Officer
andreaskerstan@comtainment.de
+49 4307827973

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

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

Olympic Superstar Werth Wins Reem Acra Leg at Amsterdam with Weihegold

Germany’s Isabell Werth won the seventh leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at the sold-out RAI Arena in Amsterdam (NED) today riding Weihegold. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

Amsterdam (NED), 30 January 2016 – Isabell Werth created quite a stir when winning the seventh leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at the sold-out RAI Arena in Amsterdam (NED) today with Weihegold. The lovely mare was competing in her very first international Freestyle, but in the hands of the 46-year-old German athlete who includes six Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles amongst her career highlights, the 11-year-old horse posted a spectacular score in the early stages of the competition and could not be beaten.

The pair’s success was all the more remarkable for the fact that today’s class was of an exceptionally high standard, with top riders really raising their game in the battle for points towards the Reem Acra Final in Gothenburg (SWE) in March. Werth admitted afterwards that her victory was unexpected.

“It was a surprise because the Freestyle is really difficult here in this atmosphere in Amsterdam, and there was an outstanding field of competitors. You know how it is in Freestyle – we did not have the best starting order so I was not expecting to win, but at the end of our test I felt really sure and safe. I’m so very, very happy!” she said.

Germany also claimed runner-up spot when Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB pushed The Netherlands‘ Diederik van Silfhout and Arlando down to third, while Olympic, European and defending Reem Acra champion Charlotte Dujardin slotted into fourth for Great Britain with Uthopia.

Home contingent

Yesterday’s Grand Prix was dominated by the home contingent, 2010 FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion Edward Gal leading the way with Glock’s Voice followed by van Silfhout in second and Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt in third. This was also a tough day of sport, with a total of 22 starters and only 15 qualifying spots on offer for today’s Freestyle. Werth and Weihegold had to settle for sixth place yesterday, so they had it all to do when they stepped into the arena this afternoon. But they posted an amazing 83.450 when sixth to go, their score boosted by artistic marks of 90.00 from judges Francis Verbeek van Rooy (NED) and Stephen Clarke (GBR).

In an intricate test that oozed willingness, energy and focus, Weihegold showed effortless piaffe, lovely extended trot and passage and strong canterwork. And the big smile on the face of Werth’s great patron, Madeleine Winter-Schulze, as she watched from the sidelines was reflected by the rider who could be seen to go “Oh Wow!” as she drew to a halt with the black mare which is owned by Christine Ams-Krogmann.

Werth knew she had put it up to the rest of the field, but there was still a long way to go and she had a tantalising wait as they tried to overtake her.

Rejuvenated

Sweden’s Patrik Kittel produced an extraordinary test from the rejuvenated 17-year-old Watermill Scandic who looks super-fit and is still clearly enjoying his work at this late stage in his career. Bouncing off the ground during his trademark passage, the chestnut stallion posted 79.950 to go into second place, but there would be a lot more movement on the leaderboard before the end of the day.

Gal and Glock’s Voice demoted them from runner-up spot when scoring 82.100, only to be overtaken by van Silfhout and Arlando NOP who posted 82.750 when next into the ring. But it was the penultimate partnership of von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB, third-place finishers at last year’s Reem Acra Final in Las Vegas (USA), who would finally earn that second spot when awarded 83.250 for a charming performance.

“Unee is in very good form, and one day I will manage to get everything from the warm-up into arena – that’s my goal!” said von Bredow-Werndl afterwards.

Spotlight

The spotlight, however, belonged to Werth and the mare who has been ridden for most of her career by the German rider’s assistant trainer, Beatrice Buchwald. Werth explained today that it was always planned that she would take over the ride when the horse had enough experience.

“She (Weihegold) is a clear option for the German team and the Olympics now. I ride her to give her my experience, but Bea will continue to ride her as well and we will try all options to find the strongest combination for Rio. I’m really happy to have such a strong team of horses,” Werth said.

She talked about the arrangement that has been reached between the mare’s owners and her long-time patron. “They have found a solution together with Madeleine (Winter-Schulze) to keep the horse for me to ride. There have been many offers to buy her, but in the end there is a good solution between the owners and Madeleine who is always very happy to help – it’s all about team-work. With Madeleine I am very close – she is always at our side, and at my side,” said the German star.

Werth is now considering taking Weihegold to the penultimate Reem Acra qualifier in Neumunster (GER) in three weeks’ time before bringing Don Johnson, with whom she topped the fifth qualifier in Salzburg (AUT) last month, to the last qualifying leg in s’Hertogenbosch (NED) in March.

“My goal with Weihegold is to improve more and more. She is only 11 years old, she is very elegant and she has lots of room for improvement – she is a very exciting horse,” Werth said today.

For further information on the seventh leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League in Amsterdam (NED), visit http://www.jumpingamsterdam.nl/ or contact Press Officer Charlotte Gunnink, media@jumpingamsterdam.nl, +31 638325326.

The next leg of the series will take place in Neumunster (GER) on Sunday 21 February. For details of the German fixture, visit http://reitturnier-neumuenster.de or contact Press Officer Andreas Kerstan, andreaskerstan@comtainment.de, +49 4307827973.

Detailed result here.

Facts and Figures:

The RAI Arena in Amsterdam was the venue for today’s seventh qualifying round of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League.

German super-star and multiple Olympic gold medallist, Isabell Werth, came out on top in today’s Freestyle when scoring 83.450 with the 11-year-old mare Weihegold who was making her international Freestyle debut.

A total of 22 horse-and-rider combinations competed in yesterday’s preliminary Grand Prix which was dominated by riders from the host nation headed by Edward Gal and Glock’s Voice.

The top 15 qualified for today’s Freestyle in which points were on offer towards the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Final 2016 which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 23 to 28 March.

The Ground Jury consisted of: At E, Eduard de Wolff van Westerrode (NED); At H, Isabelle Judet (FRA); At C, Francis Verbeek van Rooy (NED); At M, Katrina Wuest (GER); At B, Stephen Clarke (GBR).

This was Werth’s second victory in the current Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League – the 46-year-old rider also won at the fifth qualifying round in Salzburg, Austria in December riding Don Johnson FRH.

Germany also claimed second spot today when Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB posted a mark of 83.350.

There are two remaining qualifying rounds in the series, at Neumunster (GER) on Sunday 21 February and at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) on 12 March 2016.

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER – 1st, talking about her performance with Weihegold: “Yesterday (in the Grand Prix in which they finished 6th) we had three little misunderstandings, but today we really worked it out. This improvement is good for me, first of all to have other options (of horses for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games) and secondly it is great to prepare the horse for my rider (Beatrice Buchwald)”.

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER – 2nd, talking about her performance with Unee BB: “It’s still not the same inside the arena as it is in the warm-up but he has improved a lot. It was easy work today; it was like dancing; it was really cool! I’ve settled on this freestyle now, and I’m thinking about whether I will go to Neumunster or just Goteborg (for the Final), but I won’t decide about that today.”

Francis Verbeek van Rooy, Ground Jury President: “It was an honour to be on the judging team for this competition. It was top sport, a full house and an amazing atmosphere – what more do we need for the sport? I was on the judging team for Las Vegas (Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2015) last year and this felt even more of a Final than that did!”

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl: “It’s a special feeling when you perform like that but we still have room to improve. Unee really was with me today and I really enjoyed it.”

Diederik van Silfhout NED – 3rd, talking about being the top Dutch rider in such a strong field: “Yes, it was very nice to be on other side – to be third instead of sixth! I’m very happy; my horse is getting older and more steady and relaxed and it felt like that today when I was competing.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

At Amsterdam:

Charlotte Gunnink
Press Officer
media@jumpingamsterdam.nl
+31 638 32 5326

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

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

Johnny Gives Isabell the Perfect Reem Acra Christmas Present

Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH. (FEI/Thomas Holcbecher)

Salzburg (AUT), 6 December 2015 – Germany’s Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH produced one of the finest performances of their career together to win today’s fifth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Salzburg in Austria. From a distinguished field of starters that included many of the sport’s top stars, they emerged for a convincing victory ahead of The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Glock’s Voice while the only other German contender, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, lined up third with Unee BB.

“I’m feeling really, really happy; Johnny was fantastic today and I’m very proud!” Werth said after claiming the maximum 20 points and moving into equal-seventh spot on the league leaderboard alongside Gal and Portugal’s Goncales Carvalho.

Raised the bar

The start-list from nine nations included Palestine’s Christian Zimmermann and Cinco de Mayo who got the competition underway with a score of 68.875. But, sixth to go, Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Romanov raised the bar considerably when posting 75.875 which would eventually be good enough for seventh place. It was a pleasing test from the Dutch duo, as the 15-year-old stallion is not long back in work after more than a year of an injury-break and looks set to return to top form.

It was Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke-Susmelj who led the way before the interval, however, when scoring 77.225. And she stayed out in front until von Bredow-Werndl set off with Unee BB who was first to break the 80 percent barrier. The German horse-and-rider partnership who finished third at last season’s Reem Acra Final in Las Vegas, USA threw down a score of 80.075 which was always going to be competitive.

Italy’s Valentina Truppa and Fixdesign Eremo del Castegno were also highly impressive when posting 79.400 which would earn fourth spot at the end of the day. There is something very different about this pair since they have returned to action following a very nasty accident suffered by the Italian rider earlier this summer. Everything looks lighter and more relaxed, and the 14-year-old horse is showing much more expression, and this is being reflected in higher marks this season as they continue to sparkle.

Chasing

It was Gal’s score of 80.900 that Werth was chasing when she entered the arena as last rider to go, the Dutchman producing powerful trot extensions and great elevation in passage and trot half-pass from the 13-year-old stallion with which he won the opening leg of the current Reem Acra series in Odense, Denmark in October.

But from the moment Werth set off she had winner written all over her, the often-naughty Don Johnson completely under her spell and responding to every instruction with enthusiasm and accuracy as he racked up a massive score of 84.125. High artistic marks were the order of the day, with the Ground Jury recognising the harmony between this pair who have sometimes missed out on the big moments because Johnny was in cheeky mood and just wouldn’t concentrate. It seems those days are over now, and at last the 46-year-old rider is being repaid for her patience.

She said today that she has now enjoyed three great performances with this horse, at the FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) this summer, at the third leg of the new Reem Acra series in Stuttgart (GER) where they finished second behind Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado, and then again today. She puts it all down to maturity in the horse in which she never lost faith.

More serious

“He has a bit more experience with age so he has become more serious. He has settled down and he and I are growing together now – we know each other really, really well,” said the 46-year-old athlete whose extraordinary list of career accomplishments includes double-gold at the Atlanta and Beijing Olympic Games, five gold medals from the FEI World Equestrian Games™ and eight from FEI European Championships.

She said the horse she calls “Johnny” has matured in both body and mind. “He’s in great shape and he’s much easier to ride now because he has become one horse. A year ago it was difficult for him to carry his whole body in balance, but now he’s really one complete horse and the picture is totally different to how he was two years ago,” she added.

“I said it felt really good two weeks ago in Stuttgart and now we have done three great Freestyles in a row which is just fantastic. I’m especially happy because Johnny has often been in the shadow of my other horses but now he’s standing in his own light! He has a very strong personality and he’s really special. He is always positive, and yes he has been a bit naughty but he can always make me laugh. It has been a case of trying to balance his big character with his body so that he could do his best work. He’s right there now, and he feels settled, so for me this feels just great!”

Don Johnson FRH can now look forward to an eight-week holiday before Werth brings him back out for a run or two ahead of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next March. With 37 points on the board she’s now confident she’s going to get there and she’s already looking forward to it. But today she was just feeling happy and grateful – “Johnny’s given me the very best Christmas present!” Werth said.

For further information on the fifth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League in Salzburg, Austria, go to http://amadeushorseindoors.at/ or contact Press Officer Ruth Büchlmann, rb@uppercut.at +43 676 844180222.

The next leg will take place at Olympia, London (GBR) on Wednesday 16 December. For details of the British fixture, go to www.olympiahorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Jo Peck, jopeck@hpower.co.uk, +44 1753 847 900.

Detailed result here.

Facts and Figures:

The Mevisto Amadeus Indoor Horse Show in Salzburg presented the fifth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League today.

Salzburg was making its debut as a venue for the Reem Acra series.

The winning rider was two-time FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion Isabell Werth from Germany riding the 14-year-old Don Johnson FRH.

The German partnership’s score of 84.125 gave them more than three marks of an advantage over runners-up Edward Gal and Glock’s Voice from The Netherlands.

The Ground Jury for today’s Freestyle competition was: At E, Katrina Wuest (GER); At H, Francis Verbeek von Rooy (NED); At C, Thomas Lang (AUT); At M, Stephen Clarke (GBR) and at B, Hans Christian Matthiesen (DEN).

15 horse-and-rider combinations from 9 nations – Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Palestine, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland – competed.

There are four remaining qualifying rounds in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League, at Olympia in London (GBR) on 16 December, Amsterdam (NED) on 30 January 2016, Neumunster (GER) 21 February and at s’Hertogenbosch (NED) on 12 March.

The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Final will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 23 to 28 March 2016.

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER (1st): “There has been a great atmosphere here in Salzburg and I would love to come back here again next year. The facilities at the show were fantastic and it allowed the horses and the riders to be completely relaxed so we could put on our best performance.”

Josef Goller, Salzburg OC: “We’ve had a great show and a great competition and we very much hope we will get the Reem Acra FEI World Cup back here in Salzburg again next year!”

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER (3rd), talking at the post-competition press conference and referring to winner Isabell Werth and second-place Edward Gal: “I’m trying to get better so I can beat the other two next to me! I was fortunate enough to train with Isabell for five years and I really admire her. I’ve been working on my warm-up routine recently. I can’t quite replicate what I can do in the warm-up when I go in the arena, but I know it will come!”

Isabell Werth GER (1st), when asked what was the difference between finishing first and fourth today: “In the end it’s just tiny margins, but everything was perfect at this show so Johnny was great and for me the scores with him are just getting better and better!”

Full standings here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

At Salzburg:

Ruth Büchlmann
Press Officer
rb@uppercut.at
43 676 844180222

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

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

Isabell Werth Wins US Open Dressage Freestyle at Rolex Central Park Horse Show

Isabell Werth on El Santo.

New York, USA, 26 September 2015 – Isabell Werth produced an electrifying dressage performance on El Santo to the delight of the passionate New York fans who packed the stands to watch the world’s best riders compete in the U.S. Open Dressage Freestyle, Presented by Axel Johnson Group, at the 2015 Rolex Central Park Horse Show.

Competing under the lights in one of the world’s most iconic locations, dressage took the spotlight in Central Park, as returning champion Isabell Werth defended her title, while first-time competitor and six-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén rode in New York City for the first time. With a score of 80.33 Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth topped the scoreboard following her stunning performance aboard El Santo.

“I am really, really happy that we could do it twice and come back here at this beautiful arena under this outstanding skyline. Always when I start with the music and the pressure, I feel the spectators are awake and coming with me. I was really happy with ‘Ernie’ – it was a completely good test,” said Werth.

Decorated dressage rider Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén of Sweden came second on Paridon Magi competing at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. “I’m incredibly excited to be here. As a kid I always loved New York City and enjoyed coming here, but I never imagined that one day I would have the opportunity to ride here,” said Tinne. “That was a lot of fun [tonight] and I am going to remember it for a long time. I am extremely proud of my horse.”

Summing up the night, third placed Catherine Haddad Staller said, “Everybody has already put it all into a lot of great words but I think ‘magic’ is the best word to describe it riding here; it’s a magical feeling to ride in this atmosphere; it’s a magical arena and the crowd response is fantastic.”

EXPANDED EVENT

After the 2014 debut of the sold-out Rolex Central Park Horse Show, Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group, was delighted to see the reach and impact of the thrilling event expand to more international talent this year. “We work hard to make sure the show itself is as special as it can be, but it is the riders who truly make it unforgettable,” he said. “We are very proud to present the best in sport across so many disciplines in the heart of New York City.”

FINAL RESULTS OF U.S. OPEN DRESSAGE FREESTYLE, PRESENTED BY AXEL JOHNSON GROUP

1. Isabell Werth (GER) riding El Santo, 80.333
2. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén (SWE) riding Paridon Magi, 76.587
3. Catherine Haddad Staller (USA) riding Mane Stream Hotmail, 74.240
4. Karen Pavicic (CAN) riding Don Daiquiri, 71.125
5. Charlotte Jorst (USA) riding Kastel’s Nintendo, 71,792
6. Juan Matute Jr (ESP) riding Don Diego Ymas, 70.708
7. Lauren Sammis (USA) riding Whitman, 66.750

For more information, visit http://centralparkhorseshow.com.

Media Contacts:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 22 302 2761

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 7770 647 662

Isabell Werth Dominates US Open $75,000 Dressage Freestyle

Isabell Werth and El Santo NRW. Photos by Josh Walker for The Chronicle of the Horse.

Jennifer Alfano, Giavanna Rinaldi and Sophie Gochman win in U.S. Open Hunter Debut

New York, NY – The final day of competition at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show celebrated international dressage on Saturday in the U.S. Open $75,000 Dressage Freestyle, presented by Axel Johnson Group. Germany’s Isabell Werth and El Santo NRW gave the crowd a commanding performance with a final score of 80.333% and her second win after taking top honors at the event in 2014. Also on Saturday, the U.S. Open Hunters made their debut in Central Park with wins for Jennifer Alfano, Giavanna Rinaldi and Sophie Gochman in their respective classes. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show wraps on Sunday, Sept. 27, with admission-free demonstrations and activities from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and a ticketed Dressage Master’s Class with Charlotte Dujardin at 1:30 p.m.

Seven riders representing five countries participated in the U.S. Open Dressage competition in Central Park with the top four riders all hailing from different corners of the world. Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Paridon Magi scored a 76.587% to take home the red ribbon for Lövsta Stuteri South. Catherine Haddad Staller was the top-placing rider for the U.S. in third on a score of 76.587% aboard Rowan O’Riley’s Mane Stream Hotmail. Fourth was presented to Karen Pavicic (CAN) and her own Don Daiquiri after a score of 72.125%. Charlotte Jorst (USA) capped the top five in the irons of Kastel’s Nintendo for Kastel Denmark with a score of 71.792%.

After Werth and her 14-year-old German-bred gelding (Ehrentusch x Rythme) boasted the top score from Friday’s U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix exhibition competition, they returned to Wollman Rink with even more focus and drive on Saturday.

“Ernie [El Santo NRW] did a really great job today and improved from yesterday. We could take risks and I’m really satisfied,” said Werth. “I’m really happy that we could come back here and do it twice. It is an outstanding and special atmosphere and beautiful venue. The skyline is brilliant – never have I seen a skyline like this for a competition.”

While winning was the highlight of her week, Werth’s experience in New York City was made all the richer with the presence of Pope Francis as he passed through Central Park on his recent visit to the U.S. “I was standing on the roof of the steward trailer and caught the eye of the Pope,” she said. “It made this show a double highlights in my life. It was really amazing and a feeling I will never forget.”

An impressive crowd turned out to watch the cast of dressage riders that traveled to New York this week. For Werth, their excitement made her job that much more rewarding.

“When I start my music, I feel like the spectators are awake and coming with me,” she said. “I think the special thing about this freestyle is that you have a lot of transitions and a lot of combinations between extensions, half pass, passage and piaffe. There’s no break and no time to think. But, now after a while I feel really at home in this freestyle and together with this music.”

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Paridon Magi
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Paridon Magi

Second-place rider Vilhelmson-Silfvén was onsite in Central Park all week to experience the event and admits it was something she will never forget. “I think to ride in here tonight is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done,” she said. “This whole week has almost been unreal.”

Vilhelmson-Silfvén had never competed Paridon Magi before Saturday evening and was proud of his performance. “I’ve known him for a long time, but it was my first time competing him and the first time riding this freestyle. Walking from the warm-up area, he was like ‘let’s do this’.”

The U.S. was well-represented by Catherine Haddad Staller, who described her experience at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show as “magical.”

“I have to say it makes me very, very proud of my country because we are moving into the big time when it comes to horse sports,” she said. “New York City proves that for us. You need a promoter, you need a sponsor, you need a venue like this, and then the riders will come and it makes me very proud.”

Number-one dressage rider in the world Charlotte Dujardin participated in the U.S. Open Dressage with a demonstration performance aboard Evi Strasser’s Renaissance Tyme. They performed Dujardin’s wildly popular freestyle based on Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon and will present a Master’s Class on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

“For me, this week has been completely different because I’ve had no pressure,” said Charlotte. “It’s been complete fun to be here in New York. I’ve done some sightseeing and it is brilliant to be here and to see the show, the backdrop and how everything is set up. It was like learning new buttons with Evi’s horse. I rode him once yesterday before today. For tomorrow, hopefully I can go through the basics of how I train and bit more of what I do. I’ll have another day on my riding and feeling of this horse. It will be good fun.”

Antonia Johnson is fourth generation Chairman and Owner of Axel Johnson Group, as well as the Founder and Owner of top equestrian breeding and training farm, Lövsta Stud Farm. She was in the stands watching as not only her rider – Vilhelmson-Silfvén – but also her vision for dressage in America experienced success.

“Years and years ago I was born on Park Avenue. I grew up in NYC and this is really my home. I moved to Sweden when I was around 10 years old, but I have an unbelievable passion for Central Park,” said Johnson. “When Mark called me and asked if I was willing to support dressage I just felt we could do it together. This is just the start of something that will be really exciting over the years.”

Bellissimo stated that a show like the Rolex Central Park Horse Show takes a great deal of energy and vision, a combination he says Axel Johnson Group has plenty of. “Antonia’s confidence in this has been spectacular and it really meant a lot that she and Axel Johnson Group stepped up to support it,” he said.

U.S. Open Hunters $50,000 Duchossois Cup, presented by The Gochman Family

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy
Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, were the ones to beat in the U.S. Open Hunters $50,000 Duchossois Cup, presented by The Gochman Family. Alfano led both the first and second rounds on scores of 89 and 90 for a guaranteed victory over courses built by Bobby Murphy of Lexington, KY.

Ten riders were part of U.S. Open Hunters debut at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show with all riders competing in each of the two rounds. Scott Stewart and David Gochman’s Empire sat in first on scores of 85 and 87 before Alfano entered the ring. Stewart was bumped to second, while third went to Maggie Jayne and Alex Jayne’s All Wrapped Up with an 86 and 83.

Kelley Farmer and Mindful took fourth for owner Kensel, LLC on scores of 83 and 81, while Louise Serio and Autumn Janesky’s Temptation rounded out the top five on an 80 and 82.

“It’s so exciting to be a part of this,” said Alfano. “To be in this atmosphere with that crowd is really special. I have to say thank you to Becky [Gochman] and Mark [Bellissimo] for putting it on and inviting me – what a great day.”

For the course, Murphy implored the help of street artist Max Collins to give the U.S. Open Hunter fences some New York City flair. Brush boxes were spray painted to resemble graffiti, and Manhattan-inspired images imposed on standards and jumps. For Collins, the experience was like nothing he ever dreamed he would be a part of.

“I know nothing about horses,” he said. “It seemed like a unique experience and I got excited to be involved in something so different. It’s been interesting to see how these guys have their own artistic approach to designing the jumps.”

For Murphy, the collaboration was a long-time coming after meeting Collins three years ago. “To take a photo and paste it on a jump makes your horse look like it’s jumping anything,” he said. “We designed the back side of the jumps for the horse and the front side for the photographers. We saw the ring as a canvas and I think we created some really beautiful art.”

Despite the unfamiliar obstacles, Alfano’s confidence in Miss Lucy never wavered. “Lucy is fearless. She thrives in places like this and she walked in today and looked around like ‘Cool, all these people came to see me,'” she said. “I knew she’d be great – you can jump her in any ring over any jump. Bobby always makes a beautiful course. It was nice to ride and he got some really nice rounds.”

The U.S. Open Hunters was born from the inspiration of both Mark Bellissimo and sponsor Becky Gochman, and sprung from the success of last year’s first-annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show.

“During the first day of the show last year, I ran into Becky and she stopped me and said, ‘We have to bring hunters to New York City.’ She shows great passion, and without her support it would be hard for us to do this,” said Bellissimo. “This whole show is an opportunity to elevate equestrian sport in the world’s largest city. The level of competition that we saw was great and we sold over 800 tickets for the hunter competition.”

“This event was a long time coming because I believe hunters should have just as much play in country as jumpers and I’m very proud that this discipline was brought to light in the great city of New York,” added Gochman. “Thank you to the great riders and thank you to Mark for accepting this idea.”

$2,500 Junior/Amateur Hunter Classic, presented by Meralex

Junior and Amateur Hunter riders took their turn in Central Park’s spotlight with a one-round classic, crowning Giavanna Rinaldi the winner aboard Taken for owner Jessica Stitt. Their score of 87 was four points higher than second-place finisher Stephanie Danhakl and her own Enough Said on an 83.

“Taken has done a lot of derbies over the summer and done really well, so he was used to the big crowd, big ring, scary jumps and he handled it really well,” said 16-year-old Rinaldi. “I really wanted to show here after watching last year and was really excited I got the opportunity to come.”

Annabel Revers and MTM Hands Down rounded out the victory gallop in third for owners Beechwood Stables, LLC on a score of 80. Kelly Bauernschmidt and her own Legato were fourth with a 73, and Samantha Kasowitz capped the top placings with a 72 aboard Mon Ami for Fair Play Farm.

$1,000 Pony Hunter Freestyle

Pony Hunter competition was presented with a twist at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. Run as a freestyle set to music, the class for small and medium ponies played a song of each rider’s choice during their round. Sophie Gochman used the opportunity to pick a song to calm the nerves of an easily-excited Bit Of Love, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. The strategy paid off and Gochman scored an 83 in the one-round classic for the win.

“It was amazing with the towers surrounding you and such a big crowd. It was so fun and I loved it,” said Gochman. “I chose the song Royals because it’s calming and Chester [Bit Of Love] can sometimes get excited in situations like this. I was surprised at how relaxed he was. He was confident, so I felt good about it.”

Mimi Gochman was runner-up to her sister by a single point with a score of 82 aboard Love Me Tender, also owned by Parker.

“For me as an old horseman, it’s nice to come back to New York,” said Parker. “The last time I was here was the last year The National Horse Show was at Madison Square Garden. Both girls did a wonderful job today.”

Stella Propp and her own Heart To Forget scored a 77 for third, while Tessa Downey and her own Grand Jete’ took fourth with a 76. Francesca Calamari rounded out the top five on a 70 in the irons of Sophia Calamari’s Empire’s Paris.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show concludes Sunday, September 27, with free equestrian demonstrations, Land Rover Mini-Car Driving Experience for Children and a ticketed Dressage Master’s Class with Charlotte Dujardin, presented by Chronicle of the Horse and Breyer.

About Rolex Central Park Horse Show

Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. In its second year, Rolex Central Park Horse Show will make its triumphant return from September 23 to 27, 2015 and will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, U25 Jumpers, and Arabians. For more information, visit http://centralparkhorseshow.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow, and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contact:
Shin-Jung Hong
Nicholas & Lence Communications
ShinJung@nicholaslence.com
Tel: 212.938.0005

Equestrian Media Contact:
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Lindsay Brock
lindsay@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Daniel Bluman’s Patience Pays Off for a Win in $212,000 U.S. Open CSI 3* Grand Prix

Daniel Bluman and Conconcreto Believe. Photos by Josh Walker for The Chronicle of the Horse.

Jennifer Gates stakes claim on $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Speed Class, presented by PwC

New York, NY – Show jumping returned to Wollman Rink as it played host to the third day of competition at the second-annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show with the $212,000 U.S. Open CSI 3* Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, on Friday evening. Colombia’s Daniel Bluman has been waiting to win a coveted Rolex watch since the start of his career in show jumping, but the wait is over after he piloted Conconcreto Believe to a win Friday night under the lights of New York City. Also highlighting Friday competition in Central Park was a win for Jennifer Gates in the $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Speed Class, presented by PwC, and the start of U.S. Open Dressage.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show continues through Sunday, Sept. 27, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport in the heart of New York City.

In addition to the 3* victory, Bluman was crowned the U.S. Open’s leading rider after scores from his third-place finish in Thursday’s U.S. Open $40,000 FEI Speed, presented by Canadian Pacific Railway, were combined with Friday’s win. For the inaugural U.S. Open title, Bluman was presented with a $25,000 rider bonus in addition to his share of the grand prix purse.

International designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil built a 15-effort test for 26 contenders, but only two jumped clear for a two-horse duel in the jump-off. Bluman won over Sharn Wordley, of New Zealand, with the fastest of two double-clear efforts. Wordley notched a clear ride with Sky Group’s Barnetta from fifth in the original order before Bluman and his nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Ukato x Larista) guaranteed a tie-breaker for owners Blue Star Investments.

Returning first, Wordley was clean and tidy in 43.35 seconds, but Bluman stopped the timers almost two seconds faster in 41.39 for the win. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm’s Chaqui Z picked up a single time fault in the first round to finish third. The top-placing American rider, Candice King, also left the ring with one fault on the clock just one second slower than Sweetnam for fourth on Bellissimo, LLC’s Kismet 50. After a win on Thursday night, Ireland’s Conor Swail rounded out the top five aboard Simba De La Roque as the fastest four-fault pair for owner Susan Grange.

“To win the U.S. Open title and that watch in Central Park – it’s a crown for a champion, so I’m very pleased tonight,” said Bluman.

While Bluman was all smiles with his Rolex in hand, he admitted that he felt the pressure after Wordley’s clean trip over the short course.

“I got to see Sharn go and he had a really beautiful round. My horse is naturally fast, so I pretty much just wanted to do the same thing that he did and keep the jumps up. She’s been having a great week and felt fantastic in the warm-up. I knew if I did my job she was going to do hers and it was going to be a good opportunity for us,” he added.

Sharn Wordley and Barnetta
Sharn Wordley and Barnetta

Wordley didn’t leave the door open for Bluman and planned to use Barnetta’s skill in the corners to force him into the inside turns. “My strategy going in was to go medium fast and make Daniel do the turns and hope he slipped up and had a rail,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t outrun him and I just wanted to go clear.”

Conconcreto Believe’s speed was paramount, however, and delivered Bluman the win.

Sweetnam’s single time fault left him out of the jump-off, but he was proud to jump his nine-year-old Zangersheide stallion – Chaqui Z – to a top-three placing. “The atmosphere was great last year, but I think it was even better this year,” he said. “I’m delighted with my horse. The time fault was my fault and the course jumped world-class.”

A two-horse jump-off still proved to be exciting for the onlooking crowd and Jorge admits he was pleased with how the riders approached his track. “This happens in top show jumping – the level of the competitors are very high and if I had added a second in the time allowed we may have had eight or nine in the jump-off,” he said. “This venue calls for a horse that can pull from their experience, rise to the occasion and understands the situation.”

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group (IEG), spearheaded the U.S. Open format for the Rolex Central Park Horse Show and was happiest to see the excitement that filled Wollman Rink for its unveiling. “When Daniel won, he took off his helmet and showed great emotion. That is what the sport needs to get to the next level: athletes who are out there excited about winning,” he said. “We have a great international representation here tonight, and we believe that this U.S Open will turn into something spectacular.”

In its second year in an iconic location, the Rolex Central Park Horse Show won’t be the last competition of its kind for IEG, according to Bellissimo.

“This is a sport you have to bring to the people and I think you infiltrate that in large American cities and unique locations in order to elevate the interest,” he said. “This show was a dream many years ago and we brought it to a reality last year. Rolex took a very blind bet on us and it is very rare that they put their brand on anything that is unproven. I think on the banner out front there are 32 sponsors, most of which are corporate sponsors. We’re starting to see a transition from this being an exhibitor-financed sport to a corporate and commercial one. This could be the birthplace of modern, American, commercialized show jumping. It’s going to take a couple of years, but we’re well on our way.”

$5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20M Speed Class, presented by PwC

Jennifer Gates, at 19 years old, impressed in front of a New York City crowd earlier in the day on Friday with a win in the $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20M Speed Class, presented by PwC, in the irons of her own Everest De Muze.

The speed class converted faults to time and Gates’ clear effort in 58.817 seconds was good enough for first. Amateur Joyce Green and her own Cassidy were just shy of the lead to finish second on 61.09 seconds, while 14-year-old New York City native Francesca Dildabanian and her own Catika Van De Helle settled for third in 61.50 seconds.

Gates and her 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (For Pleasure x Walnut De Muze) topped 17 combinations, but she admitted she was battling nerves before riding into Wollman Rink beneath the Manhattan skyline.

“To be perfectly honest, I was a little bit nervous coming into the ring,” she said. “He’s generally a pretty hot horse and we were a little worried to bring him here, but I’m so proud with the way he handled himself.”

“He was very hot walking down, but once he got into the ring he put his game face on and was very good. He’s a high-energy horse and we knew he would get excited with the environment, but he gave it all to me, so I was thrilled,” she added.

Junior and Amateur riders took their turn in the spotlight amongst a week full of competition, and it’s a plan that show organizers will continue. “It’s great to see the young talent fly around the ring,” said Mark Bellissimo. “I really want to thank the riders for their participation, and PwC for being such a great supporter of the sport.”

Patrick Corridon, Director, Marketing and Sales at PricewaterhouseCoopers, shook the hands of the top three riders to mark their second year sponsoring the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. “We are super proud to be a part of this iconic New York event,” he said. “Mark came to us last year and we had a lot of faith based on his track record and we were totally on board to come back this second year. It seems to grow and grow and we’re very proud of that.”

U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix, presented by Breyer

Isabell Werth and El Santo NRW
Isabell Werth and El Santo NRW

Dressage also made its debut at the 2015 Rolex Central Park Horse Show on Friday with the U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix, presented by Breyer. The event was an exhibition competition showcasing some of the world’s best dressage talent, including Germany’s six-time Olympic Gold Medalist Isabell Werth and her mount El Santo NRW, which she owns with Madeleine Winter-Schulze.

Werth and El Santo NRW danced their way to top honors at the 2014 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and returned to familiar territory on Friday. Werth was one of seven dressage riders to perform in front of full grandstands in preparation for Saturday’s $75,000 Dressage Freestyle, presented by Axel Johnson Group. The Dressage Freestyle will serve as the pinnacle of Saturday competition, taking the stage at 7 p.m. and streaming live at www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

“It is amazing to show here – I don’t know how to explain how special the feeling is,” said Werth. “Today was a warm-up and I didn’t take the full risk of course. The weakest point of the test was the second piaffe, but I think the rest was serious and safe without any big mistakes. The changes were really nice and the zigzag was great.”

Werth joins fellow dressage stars, including the likes of number-one in the world Charlotte Dujardin, in Saturday’s Freestyle. “I hope tomorrow evening that we can take a little bit more risk, make the most of the atmosphere and have a really nice go,” added Werth.

The U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix was proud to feature Breyer as the sponsor of expanded dressage offerings at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show this year. Jaime Potlalesky of Breyer Horses unveiled the latest additions to the Breyer collection with their new Valegro model, as well as a talking George H. Morris action figure. “We’re really happy to be involved – dressage has always been near and dear to Breyer’s heart and the level of competition here is just incredible,” she said. “We’re showcasing our new George Morris Action Figure, which came out of a nice collaboration.”

The 8-inch George Morris Talking Action Figure, an idea created by Mark Bellissimo, in association with George Morris and Stephanie Macejko of Breyer, was launched as a special edition as a means to raise funds for equestrian-based charities. With 20 of George’s classic quotes recorded, the model is being sold with 100 percent of the net proceeds going to the Chronicle Support Network’s Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show continues through Sunday, September 27, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport. In addition to Arabians, the schedule includes the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, and U25 Jumpers. Select classes will be streamed live at www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

About Rolex Central Park Horse Show

Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. In its second year, Rolex Central Park Horse Show will make its triumphant return from September 23 to 27, 2015 and will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, U25 Jumpers, and Arabians. For more information, visit http://centralparkhorseshow.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow, and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contact:
Shin-Jung Hong
Nicholas & Lence Communications
ShinJung@nicholaslence.com
Tel: 212.938.0005

Equestrian Media Contact:
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Lindsay Brock
lindsay@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Rolex Central Park Horse Show Returns to New York

Georgina Bloomberg Aims to Defend Her Title

New York, USA, 16 September 2015 – From 23-27 September, top equestrian athletes will gather at one of the most stunning venues worldwide for the second annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show. Attempting to defend her Rolex Grand Prix title will be Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

New York City’s Rolex Central Park Horse Show was a smash hit in its inaugural year in 2014. The enthusiastic New York audience was gripped by the spectacular performances of top-class horse and rider combinations in this unique setting – and this year’s expanded renewal is set to be even more impressive. Rolex’s longstanding relationship with horse sport is well-known, which made it the automatic first choice as title sponsor for 2015.

The showpiece class will be the Rolex Grand Prix on the Friday night of the event (25 September), where the world’s finest horsemen and women will battle it out in the heart of the city. Bloomberg was a highly popular champion last year in front of her home crowd, and will most likely be set on maintaining her champion status.

CENTRAL PARK VISIONARY

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the brainchild of Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner and the largest shareholder in Wellington Equestrian Partners LLC, which stages the annual three-month Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Florida.

Bellissimo wanted to bring the thrill of equestrian sport to a wider audience and conceived the daring idea of staging a show in Central Park – in the Trump Rink.

Mark Bellissimo said, “The Rolex Central Park Horse Show made a spectacular debut and is poised for an even greater year as we introduce the U.S. Open for Equestrian Sport. We will be welcoming more equestrian disciplines to the heart of New York City as a showcase for equestrian sport in the United States.” He added, “Showcasing the many facets of the horse world in the heart of New York City is an exciting endeavour for us and the equine industry in general. We are also very proud to continue our relationship with NBC Sports and we will be broadcasting the event to equestrian enthusiasts across the nation and the world.”

FIVE DAY SHOW

The five-day Rolex Central Park Horse Show will feature action from several equestrian disciplines, including Show Jumping, Dressage, Hunters and Arabians, and is the perfect showcase for equestrian sport in the United States.

The luxury Swiss watchmaking brand has been associated with the very best equestrian athletes, through its family of Testimonees and international shows for more than 60 years. The attributes of precision, performance, courage and sportsmanship for which equestrian sport is recognized resonate through Rolex’s approach and philosophy.

Rolex Show Jumping Testimonee Kent Farrington was among the winners of the inaugural show, and said, “I think this is one of the best venues we can have to showcase our sport. It is really exciting to be here and be a part of this event.”

DRESSAGE SUPREMO ISABELL WERTH

Rolex’s Dressage Testimonee, the incomparable Isabell Werth, travelled from her home country of Germany to take the show’s maiden Dressage challenge, and has recently confirmed that she will return to compete in 2015.

She said, “Central Park is such a nice show. There have been some great improvements for this year and horses are now allowed to stay in the park overnight. This will make it more of a real competition and adds excitement to the show and the sport.”

When asked which of her top horses she will take to New York, the former Olympic gold medallist said, “I will probably take El Santo; he is very experienced with large arenas and flying to events. It is a very special atmosphere, heightened by the great crowd.”

Many more of the world’s most illustrious equestrian athletes have already announced their intention to compete in this special venue. There is no doubt that the Rolex Central Park Horse Show will join the select list of the most desirable equestrian events for both spectators and competitors.

Media Contacts:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 22 302 2761

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 7770 647 662