Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD have claimed the gold medal in the grand prix special at the European Dressage Championships in Gothenburg, with British riders finishing just outside the medals.
Carl Hester and Nip Tuck (below) completed a faultless round to finish a very credible fifth on 76.77%, just ahead of Spencer Wilton and Supernova II who wound up sixth after leading the class for a long time.
“I could not be more happy with him,” said Carl of his own and Jane de la Mare’s 13-year-old Don Ruto gelding, who had the misfortune of following the three medallists into the arena.
“He was really relaxed in trot today; he’s done really well in that company. I’m just pleased to be in the top five so I get a late draw for tomorrow’s freestyle. It’s all I could have hoped for.”
As expected, Isabell took the title on her stunning Don Schufro mare (below), posting 83.61% — the pair’s highest grand prix special score to date. However, her teammate the 22-year-old Sonke Rothenberger gave her a run for her money, claiming silver with 82.47% on the powerful 10-year-old Van Gogh son Cosmo.
“Weihe is in the best shape ever and has been so focused and consistent this year,” said Isabell. “Today she was really with me and I could take some risks, though I had to be careful not to make a mistake because I knew the others were trying to pressure on me. My first piaffe could have been better but that was all.”
Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour scored just a shade under 80% with 79.76% to scoop bronze with the 14-year-old Atterupgaards Cassidy, whom she has partnered since juniors.
“He was more relaxed today than in the grand prix and so I could put more pressure on him without too much risk,” said Cathrine, who is just 25.
The top 15 riders from the special go forward to tomorrow’s freestyle, which begins at 13.30 BST.
Stay up to date with the scores and results here.
Don’t miss the full report from the dressage, para dressage and showjumping action from this week’s European Championships in Horse & Hound — including analysis, expert comments, pictures and more — on sale Thursday, 31 August.