LYON, France, Nov. 1, 2018–Isabell Werth and Emilio, ranked No. 3 in the world, captured the World Cup Grand Prix Thursday as the German superstar launches her campaign as the defending titleholder for a third straight Final win. Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel placed second on Delatio in his debut on the stallion.
Isabell and the 12-year-old Westfalen gelding (Ehrenpreis x Cacir AA) scored 75.326 per cent for the win, the eighth victory in 12 starts this year.
In the latest world rankings posted Thursday, Isabell ranks second behind America’s Laura Graves and Verdades on her 2017 and 2018 World Cup champion Weihegold OLD, third on Emilio and fourth on Bella Rose. She needs to compete twice on the same horse in World Cup qualifiers to earn a start at the final in Gothenburg Sweden in April. In the past, she has
The Germany-based Patrik Kittel, who has competed in three Olympics and three World Games, was awarded 74.783 per cent for runner-up.
Patrik has four horses on the world rankings and was given the ride last month on Delatio, a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion, that had previously been ridden by Emile Faurie of Great Britain.
The German World Games combination of Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr. were third on 73.848 per cent.
CDI-W Grand Prix
Judges-E: Isabelle Judet-FRA H: Susanne Baarup-DEN C: Andrew R. Gardner-GBR M: Francis Verbeek-NED B: Katrina Wüst-GER
America’s Laura Graves and Verdades, the first United States combination to top the global standings, were world No. 1 for the second straight month in the latest International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rankings as of the end of October and published Thursday.
Sweden’s seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén on Don Auriello, Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen on Blue Hors Don Olymbrio and Cathrine Dufour on Bohemian and Gareth Hughes of Great Britain on Classic Briolinca made dramatic moves up the rankings after posting top results in September.
Laura Graves of the Orlando community of Geneva, Florida is giving her 16-year-old KWPN gelding partner a lengthy break after the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina where they also created history for an American by winning both team and individual silver medals.
The pair on 2,714 points from the eight best competitions in the past year remained one point ahead of German superstar Isabell Werth who stands second on her Olympic, European Championships and double World Cup champion mount Weihegold OLD, third on Emilio that she is competing this week at the World Cup event in Lyon, France and fourth on her favorite, Bella Rose, that she took team and individual gold at the Tryon World Games.
Daniel and Blue Hors Zack, successful at home at Herning, the opening World Cup Western European League event last month, moved up to 11th from 13th the previous month, one of relatively minor changes in the top group of ranked combinations.
American team mates Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet edged up to 13th from 14th in September and Adrienne Lyle on Salvino jumped three spots to No. 17, the highest rankings ever for the two combinations, both based in Wellington, Florida.
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Don Auriello, the Hanoverian gelding that she debuted at Big Tour in Florida almost eight years ago and went on to compete for Sweden at two Olympics, two World Games and four World Cup Finals, was ranked 31st at the end of October. The pair were out of competition with injuries after the 2016 Rio Olympics but in the past four months Tinne and the 16-year-old Don Auriello have climbed from 493rd in the world.
Daniel Bachmann Andersen on the 10-year-old KWPN stallion Don Olymbrio that competed in the CDI3* at Herning while Zack was in the World Cup, vaulted to No. 41, up from 208th the previous month.
Danish team mate Cathrine Dufour on Bohemian, the eight-year-old Westfalen gelding that began Big Tour six months ago, made an equally big jump based on results at Herning, to No. 44 from 214th at the end of September.
Britain’s Gareth Hughes who on Classic Briolinca, a 12-year-old KWPN mare, dominated the CDI3* at Le Mans, France last month to leap to No. 42 in the world from 188th at the end of September.
Laua Graves gives all the credit to Verdades that she calls an “American Valegro” for an international career leading to No. 1 in the world and helped revitalize dressage in the United States.
From the first world championship in 2014 Laura and Verdades have electrified dressage at home and become a force at the top of the sport with an Olympic team bronze, Pan American Games team gold and individual freestyle silver and, unprecdented for an American, team and individual silver at the Tryon World Equestrian Games last month.
Icing on the cake for Laura and the KWPN gelding was to become the first American combination to become No. 1 in the world, toppling Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD from the top of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) world rankings at the end of September. The German superstar and Weihegold had been perched atop the standings for 23 months.
Laura and Verdades, who will be 17 years old come the New Year, will still be No. 1 when the standings for the end of October are released later this week.
“When you start like I did in 2014 when I was at the bottom of the pack,” she told dressage-news.com, “you maybe think to yourself a little bit what might be possible. I’ve believed in this horse… what we’re achieving now has been possible.
“That really hasn’t changed except that I can express it to the world and when I finish a ride I can pump my fist or raise the roof or whatever. I know how special he is and I know what he’s like to watch and to see other people appreciating him. That is really what brings me joy.”
And what made it so special from the beginning was a partnership built by a teenager on a foal bought off a video from the Netherlands, leaving home in Vermont to be a working student in Florida as a step in their career and taking another job to make ends meet. A Cinderella story.
Laura, now 31 years old, takes no credit for the sucess that flowered a few months before the 2014 WEG when she began training with Debbie McDonald, who on Brentina had been a star on the world stage–Olympic team bronze, team silver and team bronze at two WEGs, team and individual gold at Pan American Games and the first American combination to become World Cup champion.
“I try not to let it go to my head,” Laura said of her success that coincided with the development of the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, a circuit of seven weeks of CDIs with prize money the best in the world.
“I don’t think it’s so much me but I do credit my horse with reviving this sport in America. After what he did in Normandy and what he has continued to do year after year after year, he really is the American Valegro.
“He’s a very special horse to watch, a special horse to be around it gives us all the motivation to come and fill the stands at events like the WEG. And to be the connection to a horse we’ve never met. He has that way about him.
“I will take full responsibility for it,” she laughs, “on his behalf .”
You give him all the credit?
“Sure, if you saw me on another horse it’s not going to ever be the same.”
The goal after the 2015 Pan Ams for Verdades was the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro that required a hefty schedule at the winter-long Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida–about three hours south of Laura’s home in the Orlando area community of Geneva.
It wasn’t enough to win eight straight competitions at Global–CDI5*, CDI4* and the Nations Cup–to make the team for the Olympics. The pair then had to go to Europe for three more shows over two months, including two Nations Cups before heading back west and home. Then the long haul to Rio de Janeiro.
Verdades was not affected by the jet-setting schedule.
Laura and Verdades led the U.S. in both the Grand Prix and the Special for team bronze for the first Olympic dressage medal for the Americans since 2004.
Verdades’ reputation as getting younger was growing.
“No one’s really sure what kind of Kool-Aid he’s drinking,” was Laura’s light-hearted response recently. “But it’s a bit of a joke. Everyone says he still looks like he’s six, and they just can’t believe it. He loves what he does. The more he does this the more he knows what he’s going to do…
“He’s just so smart and so clever, it makes him even sweeter to ride, to be honest, because he doesn’t get sour, he doesn’t get rude about it, he doesn’t anticipate things… he’s just amazing. He’s a person.”
The World Cup Final in 2017 was a lure, in Omaha, Nebraska for the first time. The duo’s performance at the Final centered on the musical performance was the best at the annual championship for an American since Steffen Peters and Ravel captured the title in 2009, also in Las Vegas. Debbie McDonald on Brentina was the pathfinder becoming World Cup champion in 2003.
Isabell Werth, as she has shown often in championships in the past three decades, and her 2016 Olympic mount Weihegold took the rider’s third World Cup title.
However, Laura and Verdades set new standards in 2017–becoming only the second American to join the exclusive 80 per cent club for a Grand Prix score that they set at Global in Wellington. The other U.S. combination was Steffen and Ravel.
With no senior international championships for the Americas for the rest of the year, the pair again competed in Europe.
After leading the United States to an upset Nations Cup victory over the Netherlands at Rotterdam, Laura and Verdades rocked the status quo even more at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, considered by many to be a virtual world championships of five international disciplines. The American pair beat Isabell and Weihegold on their home turf in the Grand Prix Special, the first time that the then-world No. 1 pair had been bested since the 2016 Olympics.
Verdades was showing no signs of slowing down so after a 2018 Wellington Global schedule of six competitions for six victories that was enough to qualify for the World Cup Final in Paris–to again challenge Isabell and Weihegold as the defending champion.
Laura and Verdades delivered again in the French capital–winning the Grand Prix but coming up short in the Freestyle, to be the . Isabell added a fourth title to her trophy room, alongside 10 Olympic medals that are the most of any equestrian.
The World Equestrian Games at home five months later was a massive success for Laura and “Diddy,” as she calls Verdades.
Only once before had the United States won team silver at a world championship, in 2002 in Spain, but never before had an American taken individual silver which was achieved by Laura and Verdades.
Laura doesn’t talk about her personal success but puts Verdades at the center of her decisions.
“Right now, I would say certainly my drive is not to push him to Tokyo,” said Laura of the 2020 Olympics when Verdades will be 18 years old, not unusual these days with one of the most outstanding partnerships being Anky van Grunsven who rode Salinero at the age of 18 at the 2012 Olympics .
“This horse will never get pushed a day in his life. For everything he’s done for me after this he’ll have a break in the field, and he literally does go out in the field until he starts to be naughty enough to come in. And if that day when he’s naughty he doesn’t come then he doesn’t come in. I don’t foresee that happening. If he does get frisky like his normal self then we have to put him back to work.
“Then we come up with a game plan for next year. We take it day by day. We owe that to him.”
Part 3: Laura Graves’ Life on “Pause” While Verdades Decides His Future
MIAMI, Oct. 29, 2018–The mayor of Barranquilla on Colombia’s Caribbean Sea coast has expressed interest in hosting the 2027 Pan American Games, the multi discipline sports event second in size only to the Olympics. The Pan Ams usually include the three Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping.
Barranquilla Mayor Alejandro Char met with Neven Ilic, president, and secretary general Ivar Sisniega of the Pan Am Sports Organization in Miami to discuss the Pan Ams, staged once every four years. Forty-one nations participate in the Games.
The 2019 Games will be held in Lima Peru that is a qualifying event for several sports, including dressage. The 2023 event will be in Santiago, Chile.
Barranquilla, a city of more than 1.2 million people, hosted this year’s Central American and Caribbean Games of more than 5,000 athletes over 16 days and included equestrian.
Colombia has staged only one edition of the Pan Ams, at Cali in 1971. The Games were first held in 1951.
EXLOO, Netherlands, Oct. 28, 2008–Adelinde Cornelissen and Zephyr won the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle Sunday with a personal best score for the seventh victory in 12 starts so far this year.
Adelinde, the former world No. 1 rider and Olympic and world championship medalist for the Netherlands, scored 77.275 per cent on the 14-year-old homebred KWPN gelding. The previous best musical ride for the pair was 76.895 per cent in Sweden three months ago.
Finland’s Terhi Stegars, the only non-Dutch rider in the stsrting lineup of five combinations, was second on 72.175 per cent with Christa Lamoyeur on Nora third on 69.400 per cent.
CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle
Judges-E: Cornelia Hinsch-GER H: Magnus Ringmark-SWE C: Jacques van Daele-BEL M: Maarten van der Heijden-NED B: Alban Tissot-FRA
ZAKRZÓW, Poland, Oct. 28, 2018–Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain won the World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle Sunday for a double victory and a second personal best score with compatriot Fabienne Müller-Lütkemeier on Fabregaz runner-up.
Frederic and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding that began Big Tour six months ago scored 79.610 per cent per cent. The previous best musical performance result was 75.100 per cent posted five months ago.
The result that earned 20 points puts Frederic and Duke of Britain into a four-way tie for fourth place in the Western European League that began its 10-event qialifying circuit last week leading to the final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April.
The winning combination posted a personal best score in capturing the Grand Prix Saturday.
Frederic began competing Duke of Britain as his first Big Tour mount in April after Victoria Michalke of Germany rode the horse in young horse classes, including as a six-year-old in the the world championships. He has competed three different horses at the World Young Horse Championships in the past three years.
Fabienne Müller-Lütkemeier on Fabregaz was second on 77.850 per cent with Portugal’s Boaventura Freire on Sai Baba Plus in third on 75.385 per cent.
Zakrzów is in the Central European League, and results for riders from the geographic area did not change the top of the standings there–led by Stanislav Cherednichenko of Russia with 66 points, Hanna Karasiova of Belarus on 62 and Russia’s Inessa Merkulova on 49 points. Russia’s Regina Isachkina earned eight points here to move her into fourth place with 48 points on the rankings from which the top two get an invite to the final.
CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle
Judges-E: Peter HOLLER-GER H: Elisabeth MAX-THEURER-AUT C: Ilja Vietor-SVK M: Susanne BAARUP-DEN B: Sławomir Pietrzak-POL
ZAKRZÓW, Poland, Oct. 26, 2018–Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain won the World Cup Grand Prix with a personal best score Saturday for the first victory since partnering at Big Tour six months ago.
Frederic and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding scored 74.457 per cent, bettering their previous high Grand Prix result of 72.587 per cent set in August.
Frederic began competing Duke of Britain in April after Victoria Michalke of Germany rode Duke of Britain in young horse classes including as a six-year-old in the the world championships.
Fellow German Fabienne Müller-Lütkemeier on Fabregaz was second on 71.783 per cent with the Netherlands’ Tosca Visser van der Meulen on Asther de Jeu third on 69.565 per cent.
There were no doping positives among 163 horses and 92 athletes tested at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon last month, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) announced. However, two Endurance horses tested positive for controlled medication substances that are used to treat horses but must be cleared from the horse’s system by the ti ...
TRYON, North Carolina, Oct. 26, 2018–The Tryon World Equestrian Games delivered a total of 4.7 million viewers across NBC networks in the United States that the organizers reported was a record. Global media reach was put at more than 4.5 billion impressions in more than 65 countries. Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partn ...