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Werth wins FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle

German dressage legend, Isabell Werth, posted her second victory of the season at the eleventh and last leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ at The Dutch Masters this afternoon.

Taking maximum points with Emilio on home ground in Stuttgart last November, she did it again when the pair were runners-up to compatriot Jessica von Bredow-Werndl in Basel in January because the 2023 series champion was not entitled to qualifying points at the Swiss fixture. 

Today Werth topped up her points tally to a total of 77 when, partnering the 14-year-old stallion DSP Quantaz, she pinned reigning world champion, Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry into runner-up spot. 

The German star completes the Western European League at the top of the leaderboard from which nine athletes will qualify for the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia next month. Third place went to The Netherlands’ Emmelie Scholtens and Indian Rock who won the ninth leg in Neumünster, Germany last month and the French duo of Pauline Basquin and Sertorius de Rima Z IFCE finished fourth.

It’s now decision-time for qualified riders ahead of the Final which takes place in Riyadh from 16 to 20 April. 

Werth has always intended to challenge for her sixth title, her first earned with Fabienne 32 years ago, in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1992. 

She has long been the doyenne of international dressage and her only decision is which horse to ride. Her first preference would be the 18-year-old Emilio -  “my dream is to go with Emilio and that he should have his last show there, he deserves it! But Quantaz is also qualified….so we will see!”, she said.

She enjoyed today’s victory, and the arena atmosphere created by the enthusiastic spectators. 

“They (the horses) grow immediately when they come in, but it’s great to see so many people and the crowd was so positive, supporting all the riders and combinations and nations so that makes it really exciting and I always enjoy coming to ’s-Hertogenbosch. It’s close to home and it’s exciting to see that each time there is something more. So many flowers, so many lovely details around, there is no other show like this and I thank Anky (van Grunsven) and the whole team for this because it makes this really extraordinary!”, Werth said.

She’s been competing at ’s-Hertogenbosch for a very long time and as she pointed out “I remember this show when we were in the other arena and when we arrived the cows left an hour before, so it’s a big difference now! 

Fry agreed about the electricity in the arena. “It’s always really exciting to ride in the World Cup shows, of course there’s a lot of excitement as you enter the ring and especially today as they were announcing Emmelie’s score - the public were kind of loving that! 

“Once we were over that bit I was really happy, he settled down and relaxed a lot faster than the last few shows and it really felt that we could show that he can relax in the ring. I try to make it look easy and we had a really great time, we had a few mistakes today but I’m overall really happy. It’s such an amazing atmosphere to ride in there and it’s also really close to home for me and I felt a lot of support from the public which is really nice”, she explained.

Third-placed Scholtens was more than pleased too. She missed out on this home show last year because of a knee injury so it was great to be back. And Indian Rock more than rose to the occasion.

“He felt really super, I really love to ride him….he is so talented and such a gentleman, I just love him and I think he did really, really well. He’s still a young horse (11 years old) in the Grand Prix, and for me it felt amazing!”, she said. Both Fry and Scholtens now have to decide if they will make the trip to Saudi Arabia in five weeks time.