Tag Archives: Isabell Werth

Wonderful Werth and Weihegold Take World Cup Dressage Title by Storm

Jubilation on the podium as Isabell Werth celebrates her win. (Jim Hollander/FEI)

When she’s got her game face on, you ain’t messin’ with this lady. But the sometimes seriously scary world no. 1, Germany’s Isabell Werth, really let her hair down during the prizegiving ceremony after clinching her third FEI World Cup™ Dressage title in Omaha (USA). Drenching American runner-up Laura Graves (29) and third-placed British star Carl Hester (49) in a fountain of champagne, she celebrated big-time on the podium.

“It’s special to win again after ten years, to come back with a different kind of horse and after a really great season. I’m very happy and I’m also thankful, because I know what it’s like to be downstairs, and I’m really happy and grateful to be upstairs again!”

Werth has indeed experienced all the highs and lows that accompany a long and extraordinarily successful career.

The undisputed doyenne of the sport, and the most decorated equestrian athlete of all time, was last into the arena and chasing Graves’ target score of 85.307 with Verdades. The American created a frenzy of excitement when finishing her test with a spine-tingling extended trot – “I wanted to add a little surprise today and I think it paid off, and the crowd loved it!” she said after raising the roof of the Centurylink Centre.

But Werth and the mare with which she claimed Olympic team gold and individual silver at the Rio Olympics just cruised through a fabulous Freestyle full of grace, poise and elegance for the winning mark of 90.704. Hester too was happy with third place. “I think he gave his maximum so I can’t be disappointed when he did his absolute best,” he said of his horse Nip Tuck who scored 83.757.

Isabell Werth GER – 1st, talking about the performance of her horse Weihegold: “I knew her day could be today, and Laura pushed me to show what we could do. I’m so happy! Tonight we’ll definitely have a party!”

Laura Graves USA – 2nd: “I didn’t realise how badly I wanted to win. I said on Thursday I’d give it a run for the money, and today I thought ‘Oh I want that so badly,’ but finishing second to the no. 1 in the world still feels a lot like winning. This is my first time on a podium as an individual and that was very special. I won’t forget it; that’s for sure!”

Carl Hester GBR – 3rd: “Nip Tuck is so thin because he hasn’t eaten for a week. He’s really missing Valegro who he’d normally be travelling with, and when he’s not there he frets. He has no-one to grab hold of but he’ll have to get used to it. He’s been eating hay at least, but you need some petrol to do these competitions. Alan (his groom) has had to hand-feed him for the last few days.”

By Louise Parkes

Press contacts:

At FEI:

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

At Omaha:

Marty Bauman
marty@classic-communications.com
+1 508-698-6810

Queen Isabell Reigns Supreme in Dressage Grand Prix

Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old (Cara Grimshaw/FEI)

She’s 47 and formidable, an exquisite horsewoman and a long-time legend as the most medalled athlete in her sport. Despite a few glitches in her performance with the fabulous mare Weihegold, Germany’s Isabell Werth won the opening Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha, Nebraska by a comfortable 2.5 mark margin when scoring 82.300.

“I’m completely happy, but I’ll have to calm my horse down before Saturday because she got so excited in the prizegiving!”

Werth includes five Olympic and three World team golds amongst the massive medal haul she has accumulated during her amazing career. She also has two FEI World Cup™ titles under her belt, the first collected 25 years ago in Gothenburg (SWE) and the next in Las Vegas (USA) in 2007, and she’s hungry for a third.

But it isn’t going to be a walk-in-the-park because the home side’s Laura Graves (29) was breathing right down her neck when posting the runner-up score of 79.800 with Verdades, and is bidding to become only the third American ever to take this prestigious title.

“I think anything is possible!” Graves replied confidently when asked if she thought she could beat Werth in Saturday’s medal-deciding Freestyle to Music competition, and she has to be taken seriously after finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics with this horse who was so difficult as a youngster that she almost gave up on him.

Britain’s Carl Hester (49) finished third with Nip Tuck and will be another strong challenger on Saturday. New Zealand’s Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH were eliminated when blood was found in the horse’s mouth post competition and Hanna Karasiova (BLR) and Arlekino failed to make the 60% cut-off mark.

FULL RESULTS can be viewed here.

Isabell Werth GER – 1st: “I was well prepared but you never know what to expect! It was my fault we made mistakes in the two-tempis but I always felt safe. It wasn’t easy at the start of my test though because the crowd went crazy when they announced Laura’s score!”

Laura Graves USA – 2nd: “I came here to win, and to finish second to Isabell today feels a lot like winning! It’s my second World Cup Final; we competed in Las Vegas (in 2015) and this has proved how much my horse has developed over the last two years. He felt very honest and I’m very excited about competing on Saturday!”

Carl Hester GBR – 3rd: “I always give my horse an easy ride in the Grand Prix so that he’s perfectly rideable for Saturday. I don’t expect to be too far behind on Saturday.”

By Louise Parkes

Press contacts:

At FEI:

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

At Omaha:

Marty Bauman
marty@classic-communications.com
+1 508-698-6810

Isabell and the Horse That Nearly Went to Heaven Win in Gothenburg

Isabell Werth and Emilio. (Stefan Lafrentz/FEI)

Gothenburg (SWE), 24 February 2017 – He was once so frightened and unmanageable that no one could get on him as a young horse. But in the hands of one of the most celebrated equestrian athletes of all time, the 11-year-old gelding Emilio gave Germany’s Isabell Werth her fifth victory in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017 Western European League qualifier at Gothenburg in Sweden. Her score of 84.200 put her well ahead of Swedish runners-up Patrik Kittel and Delaunay (80.910) while Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB (80.845) slotted into third.

Werth (47) only had a two-day turnaround after winning the previous leg of the series with Don Johnson at Neumunster (GER). “So I asked my rider at home to prepare Emilio in the right way – and I think she did that!” she said after her Grand Prix success. However, she said the horse lost a bit of confidence in the Freestyle. “I realise now that he needs more training because he didn’t always know what to do and we had two mistakes, in the pirouette and tempi changes,” she explained. However, that has just inspired her ahead of the last qualifying leg in ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) where she will again compete Emilio in two weeks’ time. “I’m really excited about going there now,” said Werth who holds an unassailable lead at the top of the league table.

Her preferred ride for the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha, Nebraska (USA) next month is her Olympic mare Weihegold, but she now considers Emilio a strong reserve. Werth’s perseverance with this horse is really paying off. “He has great potential; already his piaffe and passage are fantastic!” she said.

Talking about the erratic behaviour that left Emilio with something of a reputation in his early years, she explained, “It was as if he could see something out of the corner of his eye when you tried to get in the saddle; he was terrified and would go crazy.” There seemed no future for a horse with such a dangerous and debilitating level of inexplicable fear. “He nearly went to heaven,” Werth said of the gelding for whom she now has very high hopes.

“Emilio was lucky to come to Isabell; not all horses find the right people!” said Kittel (40), who was thrilled with his result with the ever-improving Delaunay. The Swedish star has now moved up to ninth place on the league table from which the top nine will qualify for the Final. He won’t be travelling, however; “it was never in my plan,” he said, but von Bredow-Werndl (31), who holds sixth place, certainly will. She has the next few months carefully mapped out. “I will go to Omaha, then do two more shows and then I take a break,” said the rider whose is expecting her first baby in August.

Detailed result here

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER (1st): “For Omaha (FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017 Final) Weihegold is my first choice and Emilio is my second choice, but there is no need to put pressure on him (Emilio) so we will see how it works out.”

Patrik Kittel SWE (2nd): “I’m not going to Omaha – we all make plans and my plan is different. This year my goal is the European Championships here in Gothenburg. Delaunay has blossomed here this week. I wasn’t sure he could cope with the atmosphere in there today but he was great; he has matured a lot and I’m really happy with him.”

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER (3rd): “I’m happy even though at first I was better than Patrik (a higher mark), but then the score was changed! I’m happy with my ride and it’s super to be in top three.”

Annette Fransen Iacobaeus, Ground Jury President: “Today’s competition was very exciting; we saw some really good riding. We had a mixture of less experienced and top riders today.”

Isabell Werth GER (1st), when asked to rank Emilio amongst the horses she has competed during her career: “That’s like asking a mother which child she loves the most! Horses today are different. Gigolo was a wonderful horse but breeding has changed and so have the horses. Emilio is definitely one of top ones; he has great passage and piaffe.”

Full standings here

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

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

At Gothenburg:

Mayvor Thorin
Press Officer
mayvorthorin@gotevent.se
+46 705 82 8420

At FEI:

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

Incredible Isabell Posts Fourth Victory of Season in Neumunster

Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH. (Stefan Lafrentz/FEI)

Neumunster (GER), 19 February 2017 – With consummate ease, and more than a little style, Germany’s Isabell Werth claimed her fourth victory of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League at Neumunster (GER), scoring 82.455. She already had a hat-trick under her belt following wins at Lyon (FRA), Stuttgart (GER) and Amsterdam (NED) but those were all achieved with her sensational 12-year-old mare Weihegold FRH. However, it was the 15-year-old Don Johnson who claimed the limelight for the 47-year-old rider whose never-ending list of accolades includes two World Cup titles.

Runner-up was 2013 champion Helen Langehanenberg (34) with the 15-year-old Damsey FRH whose enthusiastic final extended trot almost brought him eye-to-eye with Ground Jury President Dr Hans-Christian Matthiesen. The close encounter didn’t prevent a strong score of 79.150 however, pinning The Netherlands’ Madeleine Witte-Vrees (44) into third on a mark of 77.765 while, last to go of the 15 starters, Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke-Susmelj (51) finished fourth with Smeyers Molberg.

The cosy fit of the Neumunster arena is always a character-test for horses, with the judges and spectators only a whisper away from the action, so Werth was delighted that “Johnny” held it together after tension in the Grand Prix which they won by a relatively slender margin ahead of Witte-Vrees. “He was really super today, really happy and focused so I enjoyed it and could take a lot of risk. The atmosphere here is always difficult but I was fairly confident, even though you never know exactly what’s going to happen – especially with Johnny!” she said.

The knowledgeable crowd was so accurate with their scores in the spectator judging that show organiser, Paul Schockemohle, joked, “Maybe we don’t actually need judges all the time!”  Witte-Vrees said the spectators “showed great respect and gave almost a standing ovation for every rider!” but the intensity of it all saw Judy Reynolds’ 15-year-old Vancouver K bubble over to leave the Irish pair well down the order in tenth place.

It was all good news for Werth, however, and she knows she is spoilt for choice as she heads to Gothenburg (SWE) for the penultimate qualifier next week with Emilio and then brings Don Johnson to the last leg in ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) ahead of the series Final in Omaha (USA) next month. “It’s great to have so many horses in good form at the same time and I’m delighted with Johnny today. He’s like a good red wine: he keeps getting better!” she said.

Detailed result here

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER (1st): “The crowd here goes crazy after each test, so a lot of horses get a bit crazy with all the applause and the prize-giving can be very intense! Sometimes Johnny bucks when he’s excited but mostly he tries to take care of me. He has a lot of character and he doesn’t mean to be mean!”

Helen Langehanenberg (2nd): “I won here in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and it’s very emotional to be back! The crowd was fantastic and welcomed me back so it’s been a great day. I’ve had this horse for a year but we are still getting to know each other. His previous rider was very tall and I’m small so we both have to adapt. Today I felt we were really working together so now it’s time now to start making some plans.”

Madeleine Witte-Vrees NED (3rd): “My next show is Den Bosch, and with today’s points I may be qualified for Omaha so if it stays that way I will definitely go. I changed things in my test today and it was good; I’m happy. There were three major mistakes during the test too, but my horse is still quite young, only 10, so it’s okay to make mistakes, we know we still have work to do.”

Dr. Hans-Christian Matthiesen, Ground Jury President, talking about the new judging system introduced this season: “The judges having to concentrate even more. It’s a challenge and a different way of thinking than in the past. We have a meeting at each show before the competition to discuss things, but I know once we all get used to it then it will be easier.”

Show organiser Paul Schockemohle: “We have had 38,000 spectators at Neumunster this week and today we have a full house!”

Full standings here http://reitturniere-live.de/2017/neumuenster/c-9_pdf_doc1.pdf.

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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 Neumünster:

Andreas Kerstan
Press Officer
andreaskerstan@comtainment.de
+49 1777 532 624

At FEI:

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

Werth and Weihegold Make It a Hat-Trick in Amsterdam

Isabell Werth and Weihegold. (Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI)

Amsterdam (NED), 28 January 2017 – As if to further cement their absolute supremacy, the world no. 1 partnership of Germany’s Isabell Werth and the fabulous mare Weihegold secured their third win of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League in Amsterdam (NED). Having produced a personal-best score to top the line-up at the second leg of the series in Lyon (FRA) in October, they fell just short of that when also securing pole position at the next round in Stuttgart (GER) the following month. However, their Freestyle mark of 90.720 percent is the highest ever achieved by the 47-year-old rider who is widely acclaimed as the most medalled equestrian Olympian of all time.

Runners-up were the winners of the previous leg at London Olympia, Great Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck, while Sweden’s Patrik Kittel produced an inspired ride with the delightful mare Deja to slot into third. Dutch riders filled the next five places, headed up by 2010 FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion Edward Gal who slotted into fourth with Glock’s Voice and 2016 title-holders Hans-Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt in fifth.

Gal was first to post a score over 80 percent when 11th to go of the 15 starters. And, next into the ring, Minderhoud looked set to overtake him with some wonderful work from his 16-year-old gelding until it fell apart for this pair in the closing stages. Kittel’s test just bubbled with excitement as his magical mare danced to the strains of Stevie Wonder to go out in front with a mark of 80.269 but then, with consummate ease, Werth raised the game with a performance that was in a class of its own. She said afterwards that this was her “very best Freestyle”, and that’s quite a statement from the six-time Olympic gold medallist who took the first of her two FEI World Cup™ titles back in 1992.

The roars of approval for her score were still ringing out as, last to go, Hester entered the arena with Nip Tuck who gave him “the nicest feeling I’ve had in a test with him – ever!”, posting 83.325 for second spot.

But it was Werth who stole the hearts of the crowd who gave her, and her 12-year-old mare, a noisy standing ovation. “I’m so happy; this is our best form ever and I hope to save that for as long as I can! We are becoming safer with the music, more confident and together with it; this was really a perfect day!” she said. Werth has now moved to the top of the Western European League table ahead of Hester in second and Ireland’s Judy Reynolds in third, and the German rider looks a hot favourite for the title when the series Final gets underway in Omaha, Nebraska (USA) in eight weeks’ time.

Detailed result here

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER (1st): “My mare will have a little break now and in the meantime, I will try to qualify Johnny (Don Johnson) or Emilio so I have a second choice of horse if I need one for the Final.”

Ground Jury President, Mariette Sanders van Gansewinkel: “This was a great competition and an amazing day! The competition level was extremely high but Isabell was exceptional! And this is an amazing show with a great atmosphere and a sellout crowd!”

Edward Gal NED (4th): “The first day is always hard because the horses are sharper but today was much better; my horse felt good and I’m very happy. I will now compete at Den Bosch for sure, and maybe Gothenburg, because I’d like to make it to the Final.”

Patrik Kittel SWE (3rd): “My mare was absolutely fabulous and I love competing here! I think today was the strongest field of the World Cup qualifiers so far.”

Carl Hester GBR (2nd): “I always save everything for one day; I had to be reserved yesterday (in the Grand Prix). I had a great feeling today; when we came into the arena and the crowd went crazy because of Isabell’s score, I just thought I might as well just go for it!”

Full standings here

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By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

At Amsterdam:

Charlotte Gunnink
Press Officer
media@jumpingamsterdam.nl
+49 4307 827 973

At FEI:

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

Werth Makes It a Double as She Leads German Whitewash at Stuttgart

Isabell Werth and Weihegold. (Stefan Lafrentz/FEI)

Stuttgart (GER), 19 November 2016 – Germany’s Isabell Werth and the lovely mare Weihegold showed exactly why they are the no. 1 partnership in the world rankings when sweeping to their second consecutive victory in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League on home turf at Stuttgart. This third leg attracted 15 riders from eight nations but the host country completely dominated the podium, with world no. 2 Kristina Broring-Sprehe slotting into runner-up spot with Desperados FRH ahead of Fabienne Lutkemeier and D’Agostino in third.

Werth produced a personal best Freestyle score of 90.09 when topping the previous leg at Lyon, France last month and the winning mark of 89.416 was just a little short of that. But the 47-year-old rider felt this performance was even better.

It was the German Olympic reserve partnership of Hubertus Schmidt and Imperio who were leading at the halfway stage with a score of 77.645 before The Netherlands’ Madeleine Witte-Vrees went out in front with a very nice effort from the promising nine-year-old, Cennin, who posted 78.415. Werth was next into the ring, however, and the result never looked in doubt after her big score went up on the board. “There was just one little thing when I stopped in the one-tempis and she gave me one more jump, but the rest was really super!” said the athlete who added yet another team gold along with individual silver to her massive haul of Olympic medals at the Rio 2016 Games this summer.

The remaining four enjoyed mixed fortunes, Spencer Wilton’s Super Nova producing an edgy performance that left the Briton last despite the pair’s third-place finish in Friday’s Grand Prix. Lutkemeier moved into second spot with a solid test from the 16-year-old D’Agostino when posting 78.886 before Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K, struggling a little with their brand new music and floorplan, put 74.780 on the board.

Last to go, Broring-Sprehe and Desperados FRH were elegant and foot-perfect for a mark of 86.306 which saw them overtake Lutkemeier for second place, but Werth was in a class of her own. Describing the mare who looks well set to earn a third FEI World Cup title for the rider who is already a legend in her own lifetime, Werth said, “She’s fantastic; she’s always very polite and very uncomplicated, never spooky or tense. She is the perfect competition horse!”

Werth now lies second on the Western European League leaderboard, just one point behind Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke-Susmelj, going into the next leg in Salzburg, Austria on 11 December.

Detailed result here

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER (1st), talking about her mare, Weihegold: “Yesterday she was really relaxed and easy; this morning she was more alert, not tense but concentrated.”

Kristina Broring-Sprehe GER (2nd): “This is my first show since Rio and I’m very happy. I had a great feeling today. My horse is 15 years old but still really wants to compete and has plenty of energy. Now he goes for breeding for six weeks. I’m not sure about my plan for him; my main focus is on the European Championships next year. We had a great team in Rio and I think we have a good shot at the European Championships next summer.”

Fabienne Lutkemeier GER (3rd): “I’m super happy; my horse gave everything! The spectators here are great and my horse loved the show; his ears were pointed all the time and he was enjoying himself!”

Standings following round 3 of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League at Stuttgart (GER) here.

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

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Stuttgart:

Joerg Klopfer
Press Officer
joerg.klopfer@in.stuttgart.de
+49 711 955 43128

At FEI:

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

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.”

Don’t miss a hoofbeat! Watch it all LIVE on www.feitv.org.

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