Isabell Werth kicked off her 2008/9 FEI World Cup dressage campaign in impressive form by winning the first leg of the Western European League in Odense, Denmark.

The silver Olympic medallist won both the grand prix and the freestyle with Warum Nicht, who she rode to glory in the world cup final in Las Vegas two years ago, to pick up the first World Cup points of the new season.

“I was very pleased with my Hannes”, said Isabell. “He was not distracted in his first indoor show and was very concentrated on his job. Although I had some mistakes, I was happy with his performance.”

Their mistakes included a change behind in the extended canter, and an error in the one-time tempi changes. But the judges were impressed with Warum Nicht’s flair and impulsion and praised the risks that Isabell took in both classes.

Reigning World Cup champion Anky van Grunsven finished second with her black stallion IPS Painted Black. The pair improved in the freestyle, where the stallion was more cooperative with a good contact and uphill appearance.

“Only at the CDI3* in Lingen I had higher marks than this time. I am very happy with him”, said Anky. “I do regret, though, the mistake in the two tempi changes, which might have prevented a record score with this horse.”

Third place also went to The Netherlands. From an almost impossible position and an early start after the 8th place in the grand prix, Olympian Hans Peter Minderhoud had a ride of a lifetime aboard the mare Exquis Nadine to take 3rd.

1. Warum Nicht FRH (Isabell WERTH, Germany) 80,70%
2. IPS Painted Black (Anky VAN GRUNSVEN, The Netherlands) 79,60%
3. Exquis Nadine (Hans Peter MINDERHOUD, The Netherlands) 77,45%
4. Nartan (Jeannette HAAZEN The Netherlands) 77,10%
5. Whisper (Monica THEODORESCU, Germany) 76,90%
6. Digby (Nathalie ZU SAYN WITTGENSTEIN) 75,20%
7. Exquis Clearwater DWB (Anne VAN OLST, Denmark) 74,55%
8. Björsell Briar (Jan BRINK, Sweden) 74,10%
9. Donatha S (Ellen SCHULTEN BAUMER, Germany ) 69,90%
10. Withney van’t Genthof (Stefan VAN INGELGEM Belgium) 72,20%
11. Baldessarini 3 (Gina CAPELLMANN LUTKEMEIER, Germany) 72,05%%
12. Galliano (Maria ERIKSSON, Sweden) 72,00%
13. Kaiser Wilhelm (Anke TER BEEK, The Netherlands) 70,40%
14. Ovation (Christa LAARAKKERS, The Netherlands) 70,20%
15. Otto (Heather BLITZ, USA) 69,95%%