The dressage competition at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon gets underway on the first day on competition (12 September) with two-days of grand prix action. Horse & Hound’s dressage editor Polly Bryan will be on site to watch all the action as it happens. Here are nine partnerships she believes are worth looking out for…
1. Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Dream Boy (NED)
One of several riding young horses making their championship debut in Tryon, Hans Peter Minderhoud has a seriously exciting prospect in Glock’s Dream Boy. The 10-year-old Vivaldi stallion is proving as successful a sire as he is as a competitor, becoming one of Holland’s most popular KWPN stallions. He has taken a break from breeding to concentrate on his dressage career this year, and could well produce great things in Tryon.
2. Severo Jurado López and Deep Impact 3 (ESP)
Severo became a firm crowd-favourite at the Rio Olympics, and his one-handed passage down the centre line at the end of his freestyle — in which he finished fifth — became an iconic moment of the Games. His performances at the Gothenburg Europeans last year with Deep Impact 3, the 15-year-old black De Niro gelding he will ride in Tryon, featured similar Spanish flair, and with a freestyle personal best of plus-81% in Aachen in July, this pair are sure to produce something special at WEG.
3. Kazuki Sado and Barolo (JPN)
Eagled-eyed British fans are sure to spot a familiar name on the entry list — Barolo, former ride of Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin. The 12-year-old chestnut gelding, by Breitling W, swept the board at both Windsor and Bolesworth with Carl in 2017, before going to Japanese rider Kazuki Sado in early 2018. This new pair have been cementing their partnership during this year — watch out for them in Tryon.
4. Patrik Kittel and Well Done De La Roche (SWE)
Patrik Kittel is no stranger to championships — Tryon will be his 11th — but this year he brings forward the least experienced of his three world-ranked rides. Patrik rates the 10-year-old Furstentraum mare as the best horse he’s ever had and, with a grand prix personal best of nearly 76%, she is sure to be a valuable asset to the Swedish team, as well as well in contention for the individual medals.
5. Isabell Werth and Bella Rose (GER)
This elegant Belissimo M mare was deemed one of the biggest threats to Valegro’s dominance in the run-up to the 2014 WEG in Normandy. She and Germany’s Isabell Werth finished second to him in the grand prix with 81.5%, but had to be withdrawn before the special and, with the exception of one CDI that autumn, was not seen again for almost four years due to injury. This June, she burst back onto the scene with a string of international wins and, while her selection for WEG over the higher scoring Weihegold OLD may seem a strange move, she was Isabell’s personal choice ride. She stands an excellent chance of individual gold, but whatever the outcome, enjoy watching this lovely mare back on the biggest stage.
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6. Christian Zimmerman and Roble (PLE)
German-born and -based Christian raised eyebrows ahead of the last WEG when he obtained Palestinian citizenship in 2013 and went on to represent the country in Normandy in 2014 and at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Tryon will be the first championship where the full-time businessman will ride the 15-year-old Ravallo gelding Roble.
7. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Don Auriello (SWE)
Look out for the much-missed popular combination of Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and her partner of five championships, Don Auriello. The 16-year-old Don Davidoff gelding was off games for two years, his second-place finish in Rotterdam this year being his first show since finishing eighth in the freestyle at Rio in 2016.
8. Jackie Siu and Ferrera (HKG)
Fresh from landing Hong Kong’s first ever Asian Games gold medal in Indonesia last week, Britain-based Jackie Siu will begin her WEG campaign on top form. She is Hong Kong’s first ever dressage competitor at a WEG, and will partner Ferrera, the 15-year-old Sandro Hit mare with whom she finished fourth in the freestyle at Bolesworth this year.
9. Julio Mendoza Loor and Chardonnay (ECU)
Ecuador’s Julio Mendoza Loor will also be the first dressage rider to represent his country at a WEG. Just qualifying was a hugely emotional experience for the 39-year-old, who was raised in a small town in Ecuador, but is now based in North Carolina, not far from Tryon. He will ride the 13-year-old gelding Chardonnay.
Don’t miss the full World Equestrian Games preview in this week’s Horse & Hound (issue dated 30 September).