Who will be crowned World Champion?

  • There will be plenty of excitement surrounding the reigning world champion and local heroine Nadine Capellmann, who won CHIO Aachen earlier year with Elvis VA. This is a repeat of her win with her former ride Farbenfroh (pictured right), before they went on to win the World title in Jerez four years ago.

    “It is a lifetime dream to be on a team in my home town,” said Capellmann.

    Her German team mates will be just as anxious to retain team gold on home ground, as well as battling for the individual honours. Heike Kemmer’s Bonaparte made a phenomenal come-back to win the German Championship at Munster, following disappointment at last year’s FEI European Championship, where Bonaparte sustained an injury to his fetlock. Amazingly, this is Kemmer’s first World Championship call up.

    Klaus Husenbeth got his first German team place – and team gold – in the 2002 WEG. He won the German men’s championship with Piccolino at Munster and the CDI grand prix and freestyle at Aachen.

    Isabell Werth is no stranger to championship competition. She was the individual champion at the Rome 1998 WEG and the special winner in The Hague 1994, winning team gold on both occasions, so no one could doubt she’ll be trying to bring a medal or two home with Warum Nicht. Although only ten, he has already shown he can handle the big occasions as he finished runner up in the 2006 FEI World Cup Final.

    Holland’s Anky van Grunsven won her first championship when she took the individual freestyle title in front of her home crowd at the 1994 WEG in The Hague. Her dominance of the sport ever since will go down in history. Anky has won two FEI World Cup Dressage titles with Keltec Salinero, as well as being the reigning Olympic and European champion. Few would bet against her adding the World championship title to Salinero’s list of wins.

    The Dutch will be going all out to defeat Germany in the team competition with Imke Schellekens-Bartels on Sunrise, Edward Gal on Lingh and Laurens van Lieren on Hexagon’s Ollright joining Anky in the team.

    While Germany and the Netherlands are at the top of tree, America have been serious challengers on the world dressage scene for a while. Team bronze medallists in 1994 and silver medallists at the 2002 WEG in Jerez, where Debbie McDonald narrowly missed an individual medal with Brentina, the American team will undoubtedly make a big impression under the expert eye of team trainer Klaus Balkenhol. Brentina has only had one competitive outing this year, but her 76% grand prix victory at CDN Elmlohe was certainly impressive. Guenter Seidel won the grand prix special there on Aragon, with other team contenders hot on his heels. Steffen Peters will have a strong claim with Floriano and Leslie Morse, who is in training with Kyra Kyrklund in England, recorded a good second in the CDI grand prix at Hickstead recently. With eight possibles up for team places, America is showing strength and depth.

    Spain and Sweden made history at last year’s European Championships where the Spanish team magnanimously offered to share the bronze medal with Sweden. Both nations have won World medals; Spain the silver in Jerez and Sweden the bronze in Rome 1998.

    Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat won individual silver in Jerez on her wonderful Beauvalais, who at the age of 19 has shown nothing but winning form this year. Rafael Soto Andrade’s Invasor also carried his 17 years lightly to win rosettes in France on his first outings since the 2004 Athens Olympics, and Ignacio Rambla’s Distinguido has shown he is fully recovered from an eye operation undergone at the end of 2005.

    Sweden’s front running pair, Jan Brink and Bjorsell’s Briar, endured a hiccup to their preparation when Briar bruised a rib on arrival at CDI Lingen, but the pair had already placed third at the 2006 FEI World Cup Dressage Final and fourth at CDIO Aachen. Counting the vastly experienced Louise Nathhorst and Guinness, Sweden has eight combinations to draw on for their team.

    Denmark’s Andreas Helgstrand, who won the Danish Championship on Blue Hors Matine, is in the fortunate position of having two possible rides in this stunning mare or the eye-catching stallion Don Schufro. He will have back up from the consistent Lone Joergensen and Hardhof’s Ludewig and is expected to be joined by rising star Joachim Thomsen (Mikado Engvang) and Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein on her home-bred Digby.

    For the first time since Stockholm 1990, Belgium is sending a team to the World Championships. Jeroen Devroe has been successful on Paganini and Carl Cuypers has forged a partnership with the former Sven Rothenberger mount Barclay II. Newcomer Francois Hologne and 2005 European team member Mieke Lunskens with Jade, who was on the 1990 team riding Abner, make up the foursome. Similarly Italy has the three ladies who took the medals at the Italian National Championships to form their first squad since WEG Rome in 1998.

    British rider Wayne Channon’s luck looks to have turned with the Ferro stallion Lorenzo CH, whose injury kept the pair from this year’s FEI World Cup Final. They put in a good performance at CDIO Hickstead in preparation as did Sandy Phillips, who won the CDI Grand Prix with Lara, and current British national champion Laura Bechtolsheimer with Douglas Dorsey. The same weekend Emma Hindle was on winning form at CDI Fritzens with Lancet.

    The four ladies representing Canada are already preparing in Europe as are the Australia contenders, with Mary Hanna deciding to base with long-term trainer Hubertus Schmidt, Germany’s reserve rider, and other possibles staying with team coach Ulla Salzgeber.

    Finland’s individual rider Kyra Kyrklund has been busy training riders from a host of nations in preparation for the FEI Word Equestrian Games, but her own progress on Max, the 11-year-old son of her former Grand Prix ride Master will be watched closely. After coming second overall at Aachen CDIO in May, the odds shortened on Kyrklund repeating her medal-winning performance in 1990 where she took the silver on the great Matador.

    Former individual world dressage champions

    1966 Bern, Josef Neckermann / Mariano (FRG)
    1970 Aachen, Elena Petushkova / Pepel (URSS)
    1974 Copenhagen, Reiner Klimke / Mehmed (FRG)
    1978 Goodwood, Christine Stückelberger / Granat (SUI)
    1982 Lausanne, Reiner Klimke / Ahlerich (FRG)
    1986 Cedar Valley, Anne-Grethe Jensen / Marzog (DEN)
    1990 WEG Stockholm, Nicole Uphoff / Rembrandt (FRG)
    1994 WEG The Hague, Anky van Grunsven / Olympic Bonfire (NED) (Freestyle) and Isabell Werth / Gigolo (GER) (Special)
    1998 WEG Rome, Isabell Werth / Gigolo (GER)
    2002 WEG Jerez de la Frontera, Nadine Capellmann / Farbenfroh (GER)

    Former team world dressage champions

    1966 Germany
    1970 Russia
    1974 Germany
    1978 Germany
    1982 Germany
    1986 Germany
    1990 Germany
    1994 Sweden
    1998 Germany
    2002 Germany

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