Germany’s Isabell Werth proved unbeatable yet again as she secured her third gold of the European Dressage Championships. The world number one rode a flawless freestyle on the 12-year-old Don Schufro mare Weihegold OLD (below) and posted a massive 90.98%, edging out her compatriot Sonke Rothenberger (Cosmo) by just 0.3%.
“I knew I couldn’t allow even the slightest mini mistake in there and I felt Weihe was at her very best,” said Isabell, whose score was just a shade under the Europeans record of 91.25%, set by Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro in 2013.
With Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy claiming their second individual bronze medal of the championships, scoring a freestyle personal best of 84.56%, it meant Britain’s Carl Hester and the Don Ruto son Nip Tuck (below) had to settle for an agonising fourth place after briefly holding the lead earlier in the competition.
Carl and ‘Barney’ performed a brilliant freestyle, with his difficult floorplan showing off the 18hh gelding’s accuracy and exceptional talent for the collected work. Just a couple of little spooks marred the routine, and they were rewarded with 80.6%.
“He was a little difficult in there, but I never know what he might see in an arena,” said Carl, who was visibly disappointed to lose out on a medal. “His scores have gone up all week and that’s how you hope a championship will go. To be fourth at the European Championships with Barney is very satisfying — we’ve come such a long way together.
“It’s all testament to his temperament — he’s a worker and he tries very hard, and he finds it easy to do difficult things, which helps in the kür.”
Britain’s Spencer Wilton finished in 13th with Jen Goodman’s Supernova II. The pair posted 75.44% in just their second grand prix freestyle.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge, but he’s never experienced anything like this before,” said Spencer of the 13-year-old gelding. “I realised today that ‘Neville’ really needs to know where he’s going — he felt a bit lost at times in there.
“It’s a whole different pressure in the freestyle — it’s not about hitting your markers, it’s about hitting your notes.”
Stay up to date with the scores and results here.