FRANCE (by Jean Llewellyn) As always, the indoor World Cup season concluded with the FEI Final, hosted this year in Paris from April 12-15. Dressage saw 18 athletes and horses representing 13 nations, with Isabell Werth (GER) competing in her 16th final since 2000, and celebrating a phenomenal back-to-back win. In all 16 finals, Werth has never finished outside the top 10. Fewer appearances for showjumper Beezie Madden – 10 since 1987 – and her second World Cup title, the first coming in 2013.
Both finals in both dressage and showjuping went down to the wire in terms of edge-of-the seat finale’s on the final day of each discipline. Certainly, the dressage spectators witnessed a battle of two titans as Isabell Werth and Laura Graves (USA) steered Weihehold OLD (Don Schufro x Sandro Hit) and Verdades (Florett As x Goya) to stupendous scores. But Werth’s lifetime of skill and experience gave her the edge in Saturday’s Freestyle, after losing the previous afternoon to Graves in the Grand Prix. According to Werth: “That’s life. A lot of people think it’s easy, you win and you win again, but it’s not like that. You have to think about it all the time and keep listening to your horse. Yesterday was not our day, but today we could solve it. You know what your horse can do and you know what you can do. That’s the reason why I love to compete. This was just a great day today”.
Werth followed Graves into the ring in the Freestyle, after the American had posted a huge personal best score of 89.082. “I knew it would take a score like that to possibly get a win,” Graves said. “I never practice my Freestyle as much as my other tests, so I think now I have a bit of homework to do, and I think there are more points to be earned in the fugure.”
As a reminder of Germany’s dressage resurgence, Unee BB (Gribaldi x Dageraad) carried Jessica von Bredow- Wendl into third place with 83.275 – a substantial margin behind Graves. Riding the 14-year-old Silvano mare Deja (out of a Don Schufro dam), Sweden’s Patrik Kittle finished third (83.146).
It’s no surprise that KWPN continues to head dressage studbook leaderboards in major competitions. On this occasion, they were repre- sented by six (33%) of the 18-horse field – three stal- lions and three geldings. The stallions were the afore- mentioned Unee BB, alongside Blue Hors Zack (Rousseau x Jazz: 7th) and Cennin (Vivaldi x Donnerhall: 6th), ridden respectively by Daniel Bachmann-Andersen (DEN) and Madeleine Witte-Vrees (NED). The KWPN Rousseau (Ferro x Roemer [Westf]) was also the only sire represented by two offspring, having also sired Patrick van der Meer’s geld
ing Zippo (16th), out of Haarlem mare.
Weihegold in the hands of Isabel Werth (GER)
Three studbooks were represented by two finalists apiece: DSP with After You (2003/g Abanos x Ragazzo) 14th, with Ludovic Henr y (FRA), and Sammy Davis Jr. (2006/g San Remo x Wenckstern:) 5th, with Dorothee Schneider (GER); the Hanoverians Danilo (2004/g De Niro x Andiamo), 12th with Shelly Francis (USA), and Söhnlein Brilliant MJ (Shakespeare in Love x Rabino), 13th with Belinda Weinbauer (AUT); and finally Oldenburg with Werth’s victorious Weihe- gold and Sir Donnerhall II OLD (2006/s Sandro Hit x Donnerhall), 10th in the hands of Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre...
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