Tag Archives: Jessica von Bredow-Werndl

Von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera Triumph, while Werth Retires Weihegold in Style

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

There’s nothing like a big win on home ground, but there’s also nothing like retiring a superstar horse in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd, so the Freestyle finale had it all when Jessica von Bredow-Werndl steered Dalera to victory at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2022 where the sport said a rousing farewell to Isabell Werth’s great mare, Weihegold OLD.

The Leipzig Messe was electric with excitement all night, and some of the equine stars shrank under the intensity of the noisy atmosphere during the first half of the competition.

But when it came down to the wire the big names really rose to the occasion, and it was Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour who lined up second with her new young star Vamos Amigos, while Werth and Weihegold finished third.

Raised the bar

Werth raised the bar when putting a score of 85.921 on the board when fifth-last to go in the field of 17, Weihegold producing a stunning test that was full of energy and beautifully ridden by the lady long known as “The Queen” of dressage. The knowledgeable crowd was with them every step of the way, knowing that this was their last performance together as the mare was to be retired. When they came to a halt, the crowd rose to their feet with an enormous roar to acknowledge them.

Team gold and individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, European team gold in 2017, three FEI Dressage World Cup™ titles in a row including the last one in 2019, and team gold at last year’s European Championships in Hagen (GER) amongst their many achievements – their record has been extraordinary.

Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald followed with an impressive performance from the big-moving Atterupgaards Orthilia, who posted 81.239 for second place temporarily; next in was her compatriot, Carina Cassøe Krüth, whose ride on the light-footed, loose-limbed Heiline’s Danciera included fearlessly forward one-tempi changes. The crowd held their breath until the scoreboard showed 84.971 – Werth was still out in front.

Looked threatening

However, the last of the Danes had yet to come, and Cathrine Dufour always looked threatening when steering Vamos Amigo through a brilliant test, although clearly she wasn’t pushing the 10-year-old to the limit in extended canter. It was no wonder because, as she said afterwards, “He was a bomb today for sure!” He certainly looked explosive but contained himself to the very end and, once his rider relaxed the rein, wandered out the arena like he’d heard a crowd like this a million times. He certainly hasn’t though.

“He’s never been in a ring as full as this before; he was really brave today!” Dufour said with delight.

But the story certainly wasn’t over yet because the lady who has dominated the podiums at both the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the European Championships last summer was yet to take her turn.

Crest of a wave

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl arrived in Leipzig for this week’s Final on the crest of a wave but, as she pointed out, a little “rounder” than usual because she is expecting her second baby to arrive in a few months’ time. However, the little bit of extra weight wasn’t bothering Dalera as the pair executed yet another exquisite test that demonstrated the delightful harmony between these two.

The balance, rhythm, accuracy, and lightness, and the drama of their tempi changes all came together to present the loveliest picture, and as they pranced up the final centreline, it was clear the result was done and dusted. When their score of 90.836 was announced the crowd erupted yet again.

Winner von Bredow-Werndl said afterwards, “I just wanted to come here and of course it was my goal to show what we have shown the last couple of months, but it couldn’t have been better to take a little break now and come back soon!”

Dufour joked that she shouldn’t rush returning to the sport after her baby arrives – “Just stay away for a while!” she suggested with an enormous laugh.

The Danes had every reason to be on a high, Dufour filling second spot, Cassøe Krüth finishing fourth, and Skodborg Merrald lining up in fifth place, while Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg had to settle for sixth. It was a show of mighty strength from Denmark, and it’s a real shot in the arm ahead of this summer’s World Dressage Championships on their home ground in Herning in four months’ time.

Really fantastic

“It’s really fantastic to see how the system in Denmark has gone so well over last four or five years, and you clearly see what has been produced – riders bringing young horses to the top; the two girls that are here are really cool and they can perform under pressure, myself included, and of course we love to put pressure on the girls sitting here!” she said, looking at Werth and von Bredow-Werndl.

“But there is still some way to go; we saw that in 2020 suddenly things change, so for now we are going to keep the horses sharp, try to make a good plan, and then really just enjoy that the Championship is going to be on Danish soil. That is quite fantastic in itself, and we are looking forward to inviting everyone for a great battle and great sport,” Dufour added.

When asked about the Ukrainian flag she had pinned to her tailcoat, she explained, “There is an awful situation going on right now, so I’m wearing it to show support to the people affected by this crazy war.” Newly-crowned champion, von Bredow-Werndl, leaned forward in agreement and added, “We all carry that flag in our hearts.”

Flowing again

After the prizegiving, the emotions were flowing again when Werth and Weihegold entered the arena for the mare’s retirement ceremony. “When you are in a competition you are focused on that, and of course the last line (of their Freestyle) was also quite emotional and when they gave Weihe the standing ovation that was very great. But to go in with the team of people who have been around for the last seven or eight years – that was really emotional, to feel the atmosphere,” Werth said. However, she felt it was the perfect send-off in the end. “It was what you wish for a horse like her, to give her the last honour – it was just super!” she added.

Meanwhile, von Bredow-Werndl reflected on the performance from Dalera that made success possible. “There are no words! She was phenomenal – she always leaves her heart for me in that square (in the arena), and it is not natural at all, and at the same time she does it again and again. I have the feeling even now that we are not yet at the end of our journey together!” said the athlete who believes her mare has even more room for improvement, and who became the sixth German athlete to win the coveted FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy since the first Final took place back in 1986.

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Short Grand Prix Win Goes to Dalera and von Bredow-Werndl

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

It was no surprise when the reigning Olympic and European gold medallists, 36-year-old Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and her 15-year-old mare TSF Dalera BB, strutted their way into pole position in the Short Grand Prix when the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2022 got underway in Leipzig, Germany.

Drawn in prime last-to-go position, the German duo soared ahead of the opposition to post a score of 84.793, pinning Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Vamos Amigos into second place and their German counterparts and defending three-time champions Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD into third.

A strong test from Denmark’s Nanna Skodberg Merrald and the 17-year-old Atterupgaards Orthilia put them top of the leaderboard on a score of 75.752 when fourth to go, and that proved unbeatable until Werth posted 79.756 to go out in front when twelfth into the arena.

But then Dufour broke the 80 percent barrier with a great performance from the 10-year-old Vamos Amigos to put 80.019 on the board, only for von Bredow-Werndl to deny her the top step of the podium with her winning ride.

Freestyle

It’s now down to Saturday night’s Freestyle to decide the fate of the 2022 FEI Dressage World Cup™ title, and for Werth, this entire week is filled with emotion because her great mare will be officially retired that evening in a special ceremony. She couldn’t hold back the tears in her post-competition TV interview.

There was emotion for von Bredow-Werndl too. “As you know, I’m six months pregnant and I feel super fit and so does Dalera, but from a sporting point of view it’s a little bit sad because this is my last big competition before a break,” said the rider who has swept all before her over the last ten months.

Dufour was elated with the result she achieved from her relatively young horse. “I was surprised and super happy with his performance. He was really on fire in the ring and the audience started clapping in the first extension, and I thought, ‘No!’ because he had legs everywhere! But he’s only done a few indoor shows so the fact that he kept his mind in the right place and performed like he did today – that is really fantastic!” she said.

In the shadow

When asked if her Olympic ride, Bohemian, might find himself in the shadow of this new young star, Dufour laughed and said, “No, you don’t know how big Bohemian’s ego is!  Of course, Vamos has plenty of quality and there is way more in him, but Bohemian has more experience so far and I feel very lucky I have two horses that are currently ready for a team position – obviously with the World Championships coming up in Denmark. And I also enjoy every competition because you never know what happens,” she pointed out wisely.

Werth said she was pleased and proud of her great mare. “She did a super job, just a little mistake. I think a one-tempi was a bit short in the beginning; she was so focused and especially the highlights were piaffe/passage and the pirouettes were really good. So I’m just happy and looking forward to Saturday and it’s a pleasure for me to present her in that way. She’s done so many great competitions; from the beginning to the end she always tries to give her best and that makes her a very special horse,” she said.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to Saturday’s Freestyle, von Bredow-Werndl said she loves her current one “and I think Dalera does too; she feels the rhythm, she knows it’s her music, and maybe that gives her even more confidence.”

It still feels like she’s improving and always giving 100% and when there are mistakes it’s because of me. She’s always on fire and always willing to do her very best.”

Dufour said she is “borrowing bits and pieces from Bohemian’s Olympic Freestyle and since I’ve only done two World Cups, I haven’t had time to make one of his very own (for Vamos Amigos). So I’ve stolen the music and played with the choreography. It’s a super high degree of difficulty, and I think the music suits really well and it tells a story about my life at the moment. I feel like I’m living the dream back home and I just enjoy every day with the horses, and I think the music sums it up really well. It’s a really powerful Freestyle and I’m just excited to ride it. He’s still young and it’s my first World Cup Final, so I’m just here to enjoy it and have fun!” she explained.

Werth is determined that Weihegold will go out in style on Saturday night.

“I hope we can show a very good test like she deserves, and it will be pleasure to be here with a loud crowd in a competition. I think it’s just great to retire her not in an empty arena; she really deserves this atmosphere, so I’m really looking forward to it and I will try to enjoy it. And of course, I have the pressure of showing her as best as possible, more than ever before because it is the last one!”

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Fairytale Finish in Freestyle for von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera

(L to R): Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (silver), Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (gold), and Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin (bronze). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was filled with emotion after clinching her third gold medal of the week when topping the Freestyle at the FEI Dressage European Championship 2021 in Hagen (GER).

“It’s like a fairytale; the ride today was the best I ever felt!” said the 35-year-old athlete who also swept all before her at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer. “It may not have been the highest points ever, but for me it was the best feeling I ever had with Dalera. I was very emotional after finishing. No matter what points or what place I got, I was so happy!” she added.

Scoring 91.021 when third-last to go, she finished almost three percentage points ahead of Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour who took silver with Bohemian, and it was Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Gio who grabbed the bronze.

Going fifth from last, Dujardin put 87.246 on the board, and she might have expected that would not be enough for a podium placing with the final German partnership of Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD still to come. But second-last into the arena, Werth’s multiple medal-winning mare was clearly lacking energy and power, and their score of 84.896 left them in fourth place.

Pleased

Dujardin was hugely pleased with her result. At only 10 years of age, Gio is still very much on a learning curve, with little exposure to top sport other than his sensational results at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where he won double-bronze. This performance was even more impressive.

“I’m so proud of him; it’s only his second time through that music and as you could see the degree of difficulty is immense. The Olympics was the first time I rode it and it was mistake-free there; unfortunately I made a mistake in the ones on the centre line today – rider error, not horse error – and I thought that would have cost me a medal. It’s still frustrating that I made that mistake and I’m so cross with myself because he tried so hard – but obviously we have medalled!” said the 35-year-old athlete.

She really pulled out all the stops, including taking all the risk in extended canter. “All week I hadn’t pushed him full out because he is a young horse and I want him for the future and he did the Olympics. He tried for me every day here; he did a great Special (on Thursday where the pair finished fourth). I was so proud of him, and we just missed out on a medal. So I thought today, I’ll just put that extra bit in,” she said.

Competitiveness is in Dujardin’s DNA. “I went in there wanting a medal for sure. I wasn’t going down without a fight! And being the first of the last five combinations, you know you have to give it a good go, set the standard. I felt we did that, even with a mistake. We got 87 percent with those mistakes; without those mistakes, who knows what it might have been? I asked him to step up and he sure did! she added.

And having finished his test, the little horse, whose rider calls him Pumpkin, was completely relaxed as he left the ring.

“That’s the thing with him: he just gets more and more confident and that’s his first time in an arena with that atmosphere; he’s not used to crowds. He’s just brilliant; he switches on and does his job, and then he switches off and off he goes home!” she said.

A joy

Dufour was equally pleased with Bohemian, whose test was a joy to watch, filled with energy and power.

‘I’m really happy, first because I had a super ride – almost flawless – we had a tiny mistake in the ones at the end and that was totally my mistake. We have grown a lot since Wednesday this week and today he felt so happy, so ready to deliver. It was just so super-easy going. I was back to no pushing, no forcing, just enjoying and dancing with him!” said the dynamic 29-year-old Dane.

Her emotional music from Les Miserables added a poignancy to her performance. “It expresses something about where I am in my life. It delivers a kind of message – that I’m really enjoying life and I’m in a good place now and that my horse and I have found our path together. I feel really comfortable with what I’m doing with my team, with the people I have around me. I have a super family, an extra family, and it feels fantastic!” she pointed out.

But the new European Freestyle gold medallist was happiest of all.

Talking about Dalera’s magical Freestyle performance, von Bredow-Werndl said, “She was 100 percent focused, she was light, she was on fire, but not too much. Two days ago (in the Grand Prix Special) she was a bit too hot so I couldn’t ride for example the extensions fully, and then it looked a little bit tense sometimes, but today it was a perfect, perfect kind of energy.

“She loves what she does, and I feel it in every second and every movement. Even my collected walk felt super today. The feeling was the best I’ve ever had so far, in my whole life, on any horse!

“That’s why I was pretty emotional when I finished because this is not normal – that a horse improves during a competition. Today she had no wet hair (sweat), either in the warm-up or after the competition, and that’s crazy!” she said.

Atmosphere

The spectators at Hagen certainly added to the great atmosphere and the new European triple champion, who also has two Olympic gold medals in her trophy cabinet after this extraordinary summer, commented on the difference it makes to have them there.

“It’s so great to ride in front of an audience again; it feels completely different; we were carried by them I think, and they were so supportive of all the riders during the week. I hope it will stay like this; it’s so good to have this back!”

Von Bredow-Werndl has led Germany to a glorious summer of gold, and now has next year’s FEI World Equestrian Games in her sights. However, Dufour gave her fair warning that she and her Danish compatriots will be ready and waiting when the action begins on their home ground in front of their home crowd in Herning next August.

She intends narrowing the gap between herself and the German star over the next 11 months.

“Right now, we can only aim at Jessica’s marks, and congratulations to her on a great season this year. It’s exciting with the WEG next year in Denmark. I’m sure the Danish audience will put pressure on the Germans!”

For now, however, the Hagen hosts can continue to bask in a golden glow.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media Scontact:

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

Von Bredow-Werndl Untouchable for Special Gold

(L to R): Germany’s Isabell Werth (silver), Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (gold), and Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (bronze). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl scooped her second gold medal of the week when coming out on top with TSF Dalera BB in the Grand Prix Special at the FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 in Hagen (GER).

Firm favourites after their spectacular performances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer, the 35-year-old rider and her 14-year-old mare produced the highest score to help their country claim the team title for the 25th time. And they won again, this time pinning team-mates Isabell Werth and Weihegold into silver while Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Bohemian took the bronze.

Team silver medallist, Britain’s Carl Hester, set the early target score when posting 77.310 with En Vogue. “That was as good as Tokyo, if not maybe a little bit better – I got the ride I really wanted to get,” said the man who also took team bronze in Japan a few weeks ago.

“He was steady, relaxed, and calm. I always know that if he’s going to be funny, it will be in the piaffes. That’s what he did yesterday (in the team competition) and he gets wilder and wilder. But tonight he was fine. All you want in a championship really is for the horse to grow. I don’t expect to win when he’s this young, but I do it in the hope that he gets better every day.

“The changes tonight were spot on; the piaffes were showing the future of what he can do, because I think there’s a 10 in there for those – not tonight, but they were going the right way, so I was just pleased they are progressing. And the pirouettes,” he pointed out.

In front

Hester was still in front when Werth set off with her mare, fifth-last to go. It was clear from the outset that the German pair who took European Special and Freestyle gold in Gothenburg (SWE) four years ago meant business again. Before starting, Werth made sure Weihegold was listening, practically galloping down the long side of the arena before beginning her test.

“It gives her the fire, and me too!” she said. “I knew I had to fight and take all the risk I could; she’s so experienced in this business, more in the Freestyle than the Special, but this was one of her best Specials, no big mistakes, and I’m very happy with her,” said the lady who won her first European Grand Prix Special title with the great Gigolo back in 1991 in Donaueschingen (GER).

Big marks for piaffe, passage, and pirouettes put her on a score of 81.702 for a strong lead going into the closing stages.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin followed with 79.787 from her sweet little 10-year-old chestnut Gio, slotting temporarily into bronze medal spot. “It’s only his third Special and I couldn’t ask for much more. He needs more time to strengthen up; he’s getting better and better at every show, and he went in there and tried and did his best, and that’s enough for me,” said the rider who took all the European Individual titles in both 2013 and 2015 with the record-breaking Valegro. However, Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour immediately overtook her with a cracking test from Bohemian that was filled with power, energy, and excitement.

Dufour looked well set to oust Werth from pole position but, although quickly rectified, a mistake on the final centreline proved costly. The quality of the performance was so strong, it still earned a healthy mark of 81.079.

Reflecting

The 29-year-old Dane has been reflecting over the last few weeks. “What I felt in the last few tests was that I had to push him a bit too much in Tokyo, and that’s not at all the way I want to ride him. Today I wanted to build more trust so he doesn’t feel that I push him one thousand percent every time he goes in the ring, because I had the feeling he might not continue to perform with me if I continue to ask for more. But today he was so confident. I could have asked for more, but I want to rebuild that trust and show him that it’s super-nice to be in the ring.

“What Tokyo has taught me is that less is more,” Dufour said. “He will give me the moon as long as I offer trust and space for him to grow, which I feel I forgot the last few times. Yesterday I had a nice feeling but today was even better,” she added.

Britain’s Charlotte Fry was second-last to go with Everdale whose 78.146 slotted them in behind Dujardin, and then only von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera stood between Werth and the tenth Individual European title of her long and illustrious career. But the new world number one was placed first by all seven judges. With marks ranging from 81.277 to 86.596, their final tally was 84.271 for victory.

“Winning in front of the home crowd was great; we’re not used to it anymore.

“When we entered the arena, Dalera became even bigger, put her ears up; she was really excited and when I did the trot extensions, I tried not to move because it could have brought her out of balance, because she was so on fire! It’s a great feeling, especially after the Olympics, that she’s so fit and so happy again,” said von Bredow-Werndl, who seems to have the world at her feet right now.

Leading combinations

While the leading 15 horse/athlete combinations go through to Saturday’s Freestyle, only three can represent each country. However, the new Grand Prix Special champion certainly won’t miss the cut. Von Bredow-Werndl looks set to make it a golden hat-trick, with Werth chasing her all the way.

Werth admitted that the last couple of days have been a huge strain for a different reason entirely. Her beloved mare Bella Rose, who took triple-gold at the European Championships in Rotterdam two years ago, has taken ill. But fortunately, there’s good news.

“I’m glad to say she’s fine,” Werth said, when asked about the mare who was due to be officially retired at the CHIO Aachen next week. “Yesterday I got a call from my vet to say she had a colic, so I was really worried. Yesterday evening we had to take her to the clinic because this kind of colic meant you have to operate, because something is in the wrong position. It’s just bad luck; it’s not a typical colic situation. So I’m really happy and very thankful to the vets. She woke up yesterday evening and this morning she ate some grass and looked really good and like normal. She will stay at the clinic a few days and if everything is normal, we will then bring her home. I didn’t get much sleep last night!” Werth admitted.

She should rest well in the knowledge that Bella is fine. And she and Weihegold are likely to come out with all guns blazing when the Freestyle begins.

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media Scontact:

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

Germany Grabs Team Gold Yet Again

(l to r) Isabell Werth, Helen Langehanenberg, Dorothee Schneider, and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

In the history of the FEI Dressage European Championships, Team Germany has a formidable record. There have been 29 editions, and they clinched the team title for the 25th time.

Dorothee Schneider (Faustus), Helen Langehanenberg (Annabelle), Isabell Werth (Weihegold OLD), and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (TSF Dalera BB) joined forces to pin Great Britain into silver and Denmark into bronze. It was the same side that took team gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games less than two months ago, but Langehanenberg was an alternate there and didn’t get to compete. Only von Bredow-Werndl was riding the same horse, and she posted the biggest mark in this Grand Prix to put the result beyond doubt.

The British were in the lead as the action resumed, and Carl Hester was first into the ring for them, partnering En Vogue who earned a score of 74.845.

Brilliant in parts

“The test was brilliant in parts and disappointing in others,” he said. “Last night (leading the scoreboard) it actually looked quite exciting! That horse gets very big scores, so we did think it would be good to have a really good shot at it; it doesn’t always work like that and it didn’t work like that today, but he’s come right back from the Games where he did three amazing tests with no experience. Some of the things he does are so brilliant that he makes himself a bit nervous,” the British rider explained.

“I didn’t deserve more points; there were too many mistakes, and I’m just disappointed I made mistakes because they weren’t huge mistakes,” he added, but he sees great development in the 12-year-old bay gelding now that he is getting more competition exposure. “What he’s done in one year – he’d never have gone into that arena a year ago!”

It might have been a nervous night for some teams in Germany’s situation, lying third after Schneider and Langehanenberg took their turn when Denmark slotted into silver medal spot. Daniel Bachmann Andersen was the first Dane to go, producing a lovely test for a score of 76.366 with the gelding Marshall-Bell who is only nine years old.

But then Werth and her mare Weihegold came into the ring, and you could feel the changing tide even though the German legend clearly wasn’t happy with her score. She had ridden a technically brilliant test for a mark of 79.860.

Superb

“We had just a little mistake at the end of the two-tempis where she was bit quick at the end, but the last centreline was superb, so I was really happy. But a score under 80 percent. In the last three years I had just one competition with her under 80 percent and that was in Paris at the World Cup Final. But of course, you have to take it sportingly,” she pointed out.

Denmark’s Cathrin Dufour and Bohemian came really close to Werth’s leading score, always forward and brave and chasing every mark. A blip in the first canter pirouette held them back from an even bigger result, however.

Dufour was a bit like Britain’s Hester, happy and frustrated all at the same time. “It might be the best warm-up I’ve ever had; he felt fantastic, and it was almost hotter than Tokyo, but he felt really super!” she said. Several riders commented on the incredible heat that descended on the showgrounds at Hof Kasselmann.

“We had a little misunderstanding earlier and I just managed to save it, and then in the canter pirouette left, he wanted to turn a tiny bit too much and I tried to correct him, maybe a little bit too roughly – he’s a hot horse so he reacts really quickly, but I think I managed to sort it quickly and we had a really nice second pirouette,” she explained. The mark for the first was 3.6, but she was awarded a whopping 8.9 when the second pirouette came off really nicely.

“Overall, I’m really happy, of course a bit annoyed with that big mistake, but we always have to try something new every time we go into the ring because we always want to develop. If you do the same you get the same so we have to try to push ourselves,” she pointed out wisely, adding, “My team-mates have been great here; it’s been a pleasure to watch them and it’s a pleasure to have three of our riders above 75 percent – I can’t remember when that happened last time for Denmark!”

Brilliant mark

Germany’s von Bredow-Werndl was fourth-last to go in the final group and sealed the German deal with a brilliant mark of 84.099 for a test that oozed the kind of class that spectators have come to expect from her 14-year-old Olympic double-gold mare.

“She is amazing! She was on fire but still so focused and concentrated that I couldn’t have asked for more. From the very first second to the very last second she didn’t give me any doubt!” said the lady who has recently been named world number one.

When asked if she felt under pressure because her team really needed a good score, especially with Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin yet to start, she admitted she did, because the margins were still a little too close for comfort.

“It was not as easy as it was in Tokyo because in Tokyo, I only had to achieve 72 percent to win gold for the team. Today was a little bit more, but anyway I’m always giving my best and so is Dalera!” she said.

Like so many of the other horses competing at the Championships this week, Dalera returned from Tokyo full of beans and still rearing to go, so much so that von Bredow-Werndl had to sit tight when starting her back in work after a short break.

“I had to make her keep walking for a few days because she was really bucking when we were hacking out!” she said. As Hester explained earlier in the day, the trip to Japan certainly didn’t seem to take much out of the Tokyo equine athletes. Peden International got permission for the horses to fly over Russia, so their travel time was reduced by almost seven hours. “It made it so much easier for them,” he said.

A huge pleasure

Last of the British to go, Charlotte Dujardin and her super sweet little 10-year-old, Gio, produced a lovely test that put 79.829 on the board. It slotted her into third individually, behind Werth in second and von Bredow-Werndl at the top of the order. Germany finished on a final tally of 238.944 and Britain’s closing score was 232.345, while Denmark finished a very close third in bronze on 231.165.

Britain’s Hester insisted his silver medal finish was “a huge pleasure for all of us. Last night Charlotte did talk about the gold and hopefully it will happen again one day, but looking at the top you can see how experience carries the horses. Our team (of horses) at this age – we are thinking of the World Games in 2022 and Paris (Olympics in 2024) and we are just feeling so lucky to be winning medals!” he said.

With the team medals now out of the way, attention turns to the Grand Prix Special. The rivalry is going to be really intense again, especially since the horses are now much more familiar with the lovely Hagen arena. There’s lots more history to be made, and while von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera look set to sweep all before them, you could sense her senior compatriot’s trademark determination to continue in her role as the Queen of international Dressage.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media Scontact:

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

Tears and Cheers as von Bredow-Werndl Takes Individual Gold

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

Everything about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been a journey into the unknown. But there was a ring of familiarity combined with a spirit of great sport when Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl claimed the Individual Dressage title with the lovely mare TSF Dalera at Baji Koen Equestrian Park where compatriot Isabell Werth had to settle for silver and Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin took the bronze. It was the perfect end to four fabulous days of competition in this first of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines.

The new champion was always on song, throwing down the biggest score in the opening Grand Prix and then setting a new Olympic record in the Grand Prix Special to secure the team title for her country. She produced another performance that oozed such class and elegance that once she left the arena, with a score of 91.732 on the board, it seemed impossible she could be beaten.

But the game is never over until it’s over, and the tension and emotions in the closing stages were extreme. Of four remaining combinations still left to take their turn, three of them were a real threat, and as she was trying to engage in a post-competition media interview, von Bredow-Werndl’s eyes were glued to the nearby screen, because, third-last to go, her compatriot Isabell Werth was in the ring.

Longtime legend

Werth is a longtime legend with more Championships and Olympic medals in her trophy cabin than any other equestrian athlete. Never the shrinking violet, she is not used to playing second fiddle to her own team-mates and with her much-loved mare Bella Rose, she produced one of her typically spellbinding performances that kept onlookers glued to every move. However, when her score of 89.675 was posted, von Bredow-Werndl burst into tears and fled back to the stables, overcome by the possibility that Olympic gold was now within reach.

Second-last to go was defending double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin from Great Britain, but not with the now-retired superstar Valegro with whom she dominated the sport in recent years, but instead with a 10-year-old gelding who knows nothing about the world.

Von Bredow-Werndl’s mare took team gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA in 2018 and individual bronze at the European Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands the following year. Werth’s mare is a veteran of two World Championships in which she medalled and also those Europeans where she also took gold. On the other hand, Dujardin’s little chestnut, Gio, had previously only ever competed at one international show, at Hagen in Germany in April. Unaware of the level of exposure he was now getting, however, the little chestnut gave his all for a score of 88.543, which put him in bronze medal position.

Only the last of the German riders, Dorothee Schneider, could change the podium places now and under normal circumstances she might well have ensured it was an all-German one, but it didn’t happen when her horse, Showtime, was right off form.

Spectacular

Talking about the spectacular ride she enjoyed on Dalera that earned the coveted gold, von Bredow-Werndl said, “I felt from the very first second to the last that she was 100% with me – listening so well that I had to be careful not to do too much or too little!” She’s been riding the 14-year-old mare for many years now, but she’s had a new level of belief in their potential since producing a great performance at the 2019 European Championships.

“We didn’t have such a lucky start in the Grand Prix or the Special there, but in the Freestyle, we showed that anything is possible and from then on I began believing the Olympic dream could come true.” Now it has…

Meanwhile, silver medallist Werth was asked what it was like to no longer be the number one German rider, and replied with her usual wisdom. “If you follow the results of the last 30 years, I have not always been number one; it has been up and down all the time and I’m happy today because Bella felt fantastic. This was a tough sporting competition and that’s what we all want to have and love to have. You can’t have ten winners; you can only have one – that is sport,” she pointed out.

Dujardin, in the meantime, who in winning her sixth medal has overtaken rower Dame Katherine Grainger to become Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian of all time, was delighted with her bronze. And she was thrilled with her little wonder horse.

“I was never going down without a fight, but Pumpkin (Gio) has only done one other Freestyle in his life and for him to go out there with as little experience as he has is truly outstanding. We never did this floorplan before and he didn’t know what he was doing, and I didn’t know what I was doing, but we just went out to have a really good time and enjoy ourselves, and we did that. I’m really proud of him,” she said.

Facts and Figures:

The Individual silver in the Freestyle has brought the total number of Olympic medals won by Germany’s Isabell Werth to 12. She has won 6 team golds, 1 individual gold and 5 individual silver medals, going all the way back to the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.

Werth was the last German rider to take the Individual Olympic title, with Gigolo at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, USA.

Quotes:

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER (Gold): “I was so nervous when Isabell rode… when I heard her result, I just had to cry… it was very emotional.”

Charlotte Dujardin GBR (Bronze): “My journey with Valegro was a life-changing experience and to find another Valegro is near enough impossible. But I’m incredibly proud to have another horse here at the Olympic Games that I bought as a 5-year-old, trained him up and took two medals here – it’s incredible to achieve that.

“Coming here we really didn’t know what to expect. Gio is a horse with very little experience; that is only the second Freestyle he’s ever done. To come to each Olympics and medal team and individually every time – I did it twice with Valegro and to come with a new dance partner, very inexperienced and very young, and come away with two medals again – I couldn’t be prouder!”

Sabine Schut-Kery USA, who finished fifth, when asked how it feels to have become an overnight sensation due to her performances with Sanceo: “It makes me a little bit like I want to crawl into a hole! I don’t really know what to do with it.”

Sabine Schut-Kery USA, when asked about her horse’s performance and her accompanying musical score: “Sometimes they have an extra little edge and maybe that wasn’t quite there tonight, and because I wasn’t as polished in the floorplan because I hadn’t ridden it, I think I was not as fluid and I was in his way. He was not tired he was just a little more edgy the other two nights.”

About her music: “It was created by my husband Kristian Kery. The first song is from the movie The Last Samurai and I just love it because I think movie music is meant to bring certain emotion to you, so I love that style of music – it resembles Sanceo, a little bit dramatic but not too much!”

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Executive Advisor
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

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

Sensational Start to Race for Olympic Dressage Titles

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

It may have been a long time coming, but the opening day of Equestrian Dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games more than lived up to expectations. Emotions ran high and so did the scores as superb individual performances saw The Netherlands take the early lead in the battle for the Team title, while Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl set a personal-best when posting the biggest mark of the evening with TSF Dalera.

Groups

With the competition divided into six groups in total, and three of those groups taking their turn, it was Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry and Everdale who set the early target score when posting 77.096 to top Group A. But only two athletes earned marks over 80%, and Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour was the first of these when putting 81.056 on the board with Bohemian to take complete command of Group B.

“It was important for me to give him a really great feeling in the ring today,” Dufour said. “I didn’t want to push too much because I wanted him to be comfortable in there. And even though there’s no audience there’s a vibe in the arena and they can feel it!”

Much of her previous success has been achieved with the diminutive Cassidy, who carried her through Junior and Young Rider level to triple-bronze at the Senior European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE) in 2017 and bronze again in the Grand Prix Special at the Europeans in Rotterdam (NED) in 2019. She admitted she felt a bit guilty about leaving the 18-year-old gelding at home and bringing the 11-year-old Bohemian to Tokyo instead.

“Cassidy has been my partner in crime for 11 years, so I felt a little bit like I was cheating on him!” But she feels Bohemian is “one of the best horses in the world! He doesn’t have any weaknesses.”

Firm basis

Meanwhile, Edward Gal’s score of 78.649 left him second in Group B and gave The Netherlands a firm basis on which to build their team challenge. His black stallion, Total US, is only nine years old, and a son of the great Totilas who, with Gal onboard, set the world of Dressage on fire a decade ago.

“You feel so much comparison, the same feeling when you give your leg, the same reaction. Totilas was more confident at his age – he (Total US) is a bit shy but I’ve done some more competitions with him now and I feel him getting more confident,” said the Dutchman who was sporting an eye-catching new tailcoat.

Previously Dressage riders were only permitted to dress in modest colours, but following a change to those rules the Dutch Dressage team have joined their Jumping counterparts in wearing the brightest of bright orange jackets so they stand out in every sense.

Show-stopper

A show-stopper in the final group of riders was America’s Sabine Schut-Kery who steered the 15-year-old stallion Sanceo to a superb mark of 78.416. The German-born rider who lives in California’s Napa Valley produced a test filled with lightness and energy. This is a lady with a fascinating background, as she began her equestrian career performing in exhibitions across Europe with Friesian and Andalusian horses.

She’s had Sanceo since he was three years old, “and it’s so special to have him now at the pinnacle of the Olympics representing my country!” she said. “In my past I’ve done a lot of entertainment with horses. The passion for Dressage was always there so we taught them to lie down, bow, or sit or rear on command. But with that we were always very passionate about correct Dressage and training the horse correctly and making it look beautiful,” said the lady who has performed with her exhibition horses at top venues including Aachen and Stuttgart in Germany.

Second-last into the arena, Hans-Peter Minderhoud bolstered the Dutch position with a score of 76.817 with Dream Boy, giving his country the lead going into the second half of the Grand Prix ahead of Denmark in second and Great Britain in third. But some shuffling of positions can well be expected by the end of the second day.

Thrilling test

And that was made clear by the thrilling test produced by von Bredow-Werndl for the biggest score of the evening, despite a big spook from Dalera before entering the ring following a rain shower.

“She wasn’t scared; she was just excited by the atmosphere. She didn’t expect it because it was so silent every day here!” said the German star after posting a massive 84.379.

Talking about how testing it was for the riders as well as the horses in the conditions at Baji Koen Equestrian Park, she added, “To be honest I’m very fit, but at the centreline where I started the pirouettes I thought ‘Gosh, it’s so exhausting!’ It was so hot in there and the humidity is extreme after the rain. It was tough,” she said.

Quotes:

Brazil’s Joao Victor Marcari Oliva, who is based in Portugal, first rider into the arena with Escorial: “I knew this horse for a long time because he is a famous Lusitano breeding stallion, but I never thought I would be riding him. It’s a pleasure to open the Olympics. How do I cope with the heat here? Portugal is warm; I am Brazilian so it’s fine; it’s like home!”

Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry: “At the end he got a shock that there were people watching; he was so concentrating on my ride! He knew it was a big occasion; he was so concentrated all day; he knew it was coming; he is so intelligent. I’ve been riding him since he was 7 and he’s now 12. I’ve done Young Riders with him and U25 Grand Prix and he’s moved up to Senior Grand Prix in 2019, so we’ve really grown up together and built a really good partnership. He’s fun to ride and I love every day riding him.”

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Executive Advisor
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

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

Dalera Storms to Victory for von Bredow-Werndl in Salzburg

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Defending champions Werth and Weihegold have to settle for second as Germans scoop top four placings

It has been a long wait since the first leg was staged last October, but the resumption of the 2020/2021 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League didn’t disappoint when Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB swept to victory in Salzburg, Austria.

In a cracker of a competition, the pair who helped claimed team gold at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ threw down a superb performance when second-last to go in the field of 13. And their score of 87.960 ousted the partnership that have claimed the coveted FEI Dressage World Cup™ title on the last three occasions, Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, who had to settle for runner-up spot on their mark of 84.720.

Reminding the world that German dressage is in great shape, Helen Langehanenberg slotted into third with Annabelle when putting 81.340 on the board, while Dorothee Schneider filled fourth place with Faustus when posting 80.650. Only one other horse-and-rider combination managed to break the 80 percent barrier, Swedish star Patrick Kittel steering Delaunay OLD into fifth on a mark of 80.125.

Halfway stage

It was another Swedish pair who held the lead at the halfway stage, Antonia Ramel and Brother de Jeu, who were on the bronze medal winning side along with Kittel and Well Done de la Roche at the 2019 FEI European Championships in Rotterdam (NED).

Ramel produced a lovely test from the 15-year-old gelding to score 77.460 but, third to go after the break, Werth moved things on to a completely different level when scoring more than seven percent higher. And when both compatriot Langehanenberg and then Kittel couldn’t get close to bettering that, it seemed the writing was already on the wall.

But von Bredow-Werndl had other ideas.

“I was really ready for it today because Dalera already felt amazing yesterday,” she pointed out. In Saturday’s Grand Prix she finished second to Werth, but that didn’t blunt her ambitions.

“I came in today with the hope to win! We had a very stupid mistake yesterday when she fell into trot before the one-tempis because she thought it was already the last line for the extended trot, and that was more than expensive because the one-tempis count double. Today I knew if we got things right then we had a really good chance!”

And they got it absolutely right, the 34-year-old rider and her 14-year-old mare nailing it with a superb test that secured pole position by more than three percentage points over Werth who may not have been all that surprised, as she clearly wasn’t happy with her own performance, shaking her head as she left the arena.

This winning partnership had already beaten Werth and Weihegold twice before – at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier in Stuttgart (GER) in 2019 and at last year’s German Championships. Werth knew perfectly well that she needed a mistake-free test to keep the pressure on her fellow-countrywoman who is always a strong challenger, so when she didn’t get that she was always going to be vulnerable.

Season

Instead of a full season of qualifiers, the Western European League has been severely curtailed by the effects of the pandemic, and this leg at Salzburg was only the second in the lead-up to the 2021 Final which is scheduled for Gothenburg (SWE) from 31 March to 4 April. In this virus-ridden era it is difficult to predict anything anymore, but another qualifier is planned for ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in March and under the revised qualifying criteria the best two results from the Western European and Central European Leagues will count towards qualification.

Von Bredow-Werndl is at the top of the qualification table with Langehanenberg in second, Kittel in third, Morgan Barbancon from France in fourth, and The Netherlands’ Thamar Zweistra and Ireland’s Anna Merveldt sharing fifth place.  Austria’s Christian Schumach lies seventh while Denmark’s Carina Cassoe Kruth, who collected eight points when finishing tenth with Heiline’s Danciera, is in eighth place. A total of nine athletes will make the cut to the Final and Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour, who won the opening leg on home ground at Aarhus last October, at this stage shares that ninth spot with Germany’s Benjamin Werndl.

Environment

As von Bredow-Werndl pointed out, it’s not an easy environment for either horses or riders these days.

“Dalera was a bit nervous yesterday but I have to admit I was too! I realise now that it is too long for me to have a competition break for over three months – I really need to compete and so do the horses. Riding the test at home and going to a competition are two completely different things.

“You need to measure yourself against the other competitors, and it’s a more honest way to look in the mirror if you do it at a competition.” — Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER)

She complimented Show Director Josef Goellner and his team for staging the Austrian event in such difficult times. The show is taking place without spectators and with rigorous restrictions. “I’m so grateful that the organisers managed to do such a great job and that it was perfectly organised. Everyone feels safe here, everyone is wearing a mask and there is hand sanitiser everywhere – it’s strange, but I’m so glad to be here!” she said.

She would like to compete in ’s-Hertogenbosch, but brotherly love may get in the way of that. “I want my brother (Benjamin Werndl) to have a chance to go there because he already won one qualifier (at Zakrzow, Poland in October) and he needs to go to another one, and there are usually only four Germans allowed to ride,” she explained.

When it comes to the Final in Gothenburg, however, nothing will hold her back. “Oh yes, I’ll be going there for sure – and with all guns blazing!” she said.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Werth & von Bredow-Werndl Pick Up CDI Wins in First Euro Competitions Post Covid Shutdown

Isabell Werth and Emilio. Photo by Michael Rzepa.

Mariakalnok, Hungary – July 9, 2020 – As the world begins to emerge from a global shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the international dressage community has slowly returned to the show ring with four FEI-sanctioned events. Taking place in Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Belgium, riders rode down the centerline in much smaller and socially distanced competitions.

During the last week of June, the first World Cup qualifying competition post-Coronavirus took place in Mariakalnok, Hungary with 14 entries in the CDI-W Grand Prix. Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl claimed the top prize with a 77.892% on Zaire-E. The third-place finishers at the 2019 FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden and von Bredow-Werndl’s German A-Squad team member, Helen Langehanenberg and Leatherdale Farm’s Damsey FRH, followed closely behind, placing second with a 76.022%.

In the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle, von Bredow-Werndl remained on top of the leaderboard on the 16-year-old KWPN mare with an 84.89%. Hot on her heels, Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH received an 83.865% from the judging panel in their freestyle performance.

At the CDI4* in Achleiten, Austria, six-time Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth returned to her dominating fashion, picking up four wins out of her four starts in the competition. The competition kicked off July 3 with Werth breaking the show grounds record, earning a 79.5% on Emilio in the CDI4* Grand Prix for the Freestyle and later in the weekend they won the Freestyle with an impressive 86.2%. On Victoria Max-Theurer’s Quantaz, Werth picked up the win in the CDI4* Grand Prix for the Special with a 78.152% as well as earning a personal best of 80.149% in the Grand Prix Special.

“That was a very satisfying start after a longer break from competition,” Werth said. “Dressage shows are very important to stay in the competition rhythm. You need to take stock – especially when you compete with new horses.

“I am very pleased — both horses performed well. For Quantaz it was the first competition in a long time and I was over 80 percent for the first time today. We can still improve a few things, but the basics were perfect. It was a really good test,” Werth said, praising the 10-year-old Brandenburg stallion.

Quantaz’s owner, Victoria Max-Theurer, also had a successful show herself on two of her mounts, racking up multiple second place finishes behind her mentor Werth. In the CDI4* Grand Prix for the Freestyle, she had a great test back from the long pandemic break, earning a 73.565% on her 10-year-old stallion Rockabilly before going on to receive an 81.225% in his debut of his rock-themed Grand Prix Freestyle.

“You don’t get over 80 percent every day! Above all, this freestyle was a premiere for Rocky and me,” Max-Theurer said. “We practiced individual lines but we didn’t have the chance to rehearse the freestyle because we were fully focused on the Grand Prix during our preparation. Our last show was the World Cup in Salzburg in December – that was seven months ago.”

A new horse for her, Abegglen FH NRW, placed second in the CDI4* Grand Prix for the Special with a 76.457% and improved in his Grand Prix Special debut with a score of 77.702%.

“I would like to thank my team, my family, and Isabell Werth, who supports me so incredibly. Daddy would be proud of us,” said the 34-year-old Upper Austrian, whose father and coach Hans Max-Theurer died unexpectedly last year. “It was a great feeling riding the first Special with Abby. I am really happy with this test. Now we have to keep working on the set-up and improve from test to test and from show to show to gain even more confidence. It’s a great challenge to get back into the show rhythm after such a long break.”

After the successful first attempt of a much smaller show under corona restrictions, the manager of the CDI4* in Achleiten, Austria, Elisabeth Max-Theurer, was cautiously optimistic.

“Our safety concept worked; the individual teams did not mingle with each other and paid attention to the distance and hygiene regulations,” Max-Theurer explained. “This is really gratifying and I think that already at the second show at the end of July we will be able to invite about 30 to maybe even 40 riders instead of 15 as well as about 50 horses without endangering anybody. However, we do not know how the pandemic will develop. The most important thing is that everyone stays healthy.”

PS Dressage
www.psdressage.com

Delightful Dalera Gives Birthday-Girl von Bredow-Werndl Another Win in Neumünster

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB. (FEI/Stefan Lafrentz)

When Jessica von Bredow-Werndl won the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League with TSF Dalera BB in Stuttgart (GER) in November, she described herself as “over the moon!” But she was even more thrilled as she celebrated her 33rd birthday with a superb performance from the 13-year-old mare who pinned reigning champion Isabell Werth and Emilio into runner-up spot.

“This was a Personal Best for Dalera and me! She’s a rockstar, and the cutest horse in the world! She was amazing today – in piaffe and passage she was just breezing along, so I could breathe, relax, and enjoy myself. There was such lightness, and it felt so easy and harmonious. I didn’t have to ask her for anything; all I had to do was just lead her through the test,” said von Bredow-Werndl after posting the winning score of 89.640.

Helen Langehanenberg and the evergreen 18-year-old Damsey FRH slotted into third ahead of von Bredow-Werndl’s brother, Benjamin Werndl, who finished fourth with the exciting 11-year-old Famoso, while the first of the visitors to get into the line-up was The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen who steered Zephyr into fifth place.

It was another of the powerful German contingent, 26-year-old Sonke Rothenberger, who led the way at the halfway stage when putting 79.285 on the board. But series double-champion Cornelissen overtook him when eleventh to go of the 15 starters, with a test that oozed energy and bounce as she racked up some maximum 10s along the way for a mark of 82.150.

Then 2013 champion Langehanenberg put Germany back in charge, starting out with a 9.5 for walk and collecting consistently high marks as she moved the target-score up to 85.220 with Damsey FRH. At 18 years of age, it seems this stallion loves his competition outings as much as ever. “He still feels so fresh!” said Langehanenberg who is also targeting the final leg of the WEL series in ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) next month.

However, von Bredow-Werndl’s effortless performance with Dalera would be the winning one of the day, the fluency and quiet understanding between horse and rider presenting a lovely picture that saw them pick up lots of 10s and leaving them just shy of the 90 percent mark on a score of 89.640. For the second time this season, superstar Isabell Werth had to settle for second place behind her team-mate.

In Stuttgart von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB pipped Werth and Weihegold, who have won the last three FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals. And von Bredow-Werndl did it again, this time with the mare she steered to team gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA and to team gold as well as Freestyle bronze at last summer’s FEI European Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. No wonder she has the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in her sights with this horse now.

“I won’t take her to the Final because I have Tokyo in mind, but I’ll bring Zaire to ’s-Hertogenbosch and decide if she will go to Las Vegas,” said the German rider who closely watched her brother, Benjamin Werndl, as he steered his rising star Famoso through a lovely balanced test to slot into fourth place on a mark of 85.165 when last to go.

As Benjamin pointed out afterwards, the Neumünster crowd is a bit special, and this competition was of the highest level.

“Here you are a bit scared to make a mistake, because the crowd is so knowledgeable, they will see it right away!” he joked. “Our sport is getting better and better all the time, so the competition is really tough. There are new riders coming up all the time and you think they can’t get better, but they do, so it’s really super!” he added. He shared the lead on the Western European League table with his sister, and although she has nudged ahead, his 65 points leave him more than comfortable in the race for a place at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2020 in Las Vegas in April.

Gothenburg in Sweden stages the penultimate leg of the Western European League qualifying series, with the last leg taking place in ’s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands on 14 March.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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