Bright lights, bays, and bling sparkled in the Scandinavium Arena as the dressage competition of the 2019 FEI World Cup™ Finals Gothenburg began with the Grand Prix.
Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, the 14-year-old Oldenburg owned by Christine Arns-Krogmann, are one of only two mares competing in the Finals. The multiple Olympic, World Cup, and World Equestrian Games (WEG) champion dazzled the crowd with an almost foot perfect Grand Prix quickly taking the lead with an 81.755%. Werth is in pursuit of her third consecutive, and fifth overall, World Cup title.
The German superstar knows the competition is far from over. “Gothenburg holds great memories for me,” said Werth. “Tomorrow is a whole new game (Freestyle), we will have to wait and see (what happens).”
Hot on the heels of Werth, USA’s Olympic and WEG veteran Laura Graves with her own and Curt Maes’ Verdades, affectionately known as “Diddy” entered the arena on a mission. The 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood exuded presence and style, cementing themselves as serious candidates to dethrone Werth for the crown earning an 80.109 % in the Grand Prix.
“I’m incredibly hungry to be at the top of the podium and I’ll do my very best tomorrow,” said Graves. “I know there is a real chance, I believe in this horse – he’s 17 but in the best shape ever!”
Representing Denmark, the rising star of WEG veteran Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zack, the 15-year-old Stallion owned by the Blue Hors Aps, showcased a beautifully executed test to come in third with a 78.152 %. Noting that Saturday’s Freestyle is right up their alley, “he’s just getting better and better!”
All 18 horse-and-rider combinations will ride in to a sold out arena in Saturday’s Grand Prix Freestyle at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals Gothenburg.