9 things you didn’t know about dressage superstar Isabell Werth

  • Isabell Werth is one of the world’s most prolific dressage riders and she recently scooped three gold medals at the European Dressage Championships in Gothenberg. Here are a few things about her that you might not have known…

    She boasts a total of 40 medals

    Of these, 30 are gold, between Olympics, Worlds and Europeans championships. Her very first medals — gold — came at the 1991 Europeans on Gigolo FRH.

    The 48-year-old has led Germany to Olympic gold five times

    Isabell won team gold with Germany in 1992 (Barcelona), 1996 (Atlanta), 2000 (Sydney), 2008 (Hong Kong) and most recently in Rio in 2016. She has won gold at every Olympic Games she has ridden at, also clinching individual gold in 1996 with Gigolo.

    She has a talent for spotting talent

    “The key, for me, is having a vision for each individual horse and having the patience and feel to make that vision a reality,” she says. “I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I realise that perhaps not many people have this gift.”

    Isabell owes a lot to the support of Madeleine Winter-Schulze

    “She’s always by my side, always so supportive,” says Isabell of her loyal owner and friend. “Whenever I ring her to say I’ve found a good horse, her first reaction is, ‘Well, have you bought it yet?’”

    Dressage was not originally Isabell’s focus

    Initially, Isabell concentrated on eventing and showjumping. But when renowned dressage trainer, Dr Uwe Schulten-Baumer, asked her to ride his horses, the two formed a formidable dressage partnership that lasted more than a decade.

    She studied law after leaving school

    Isabell spent a year working for the Oexmann law firm at Hamm, and from late 2001 to 2004 she worked in the marketing department of Karstadt.

    Despite all her medals, every win still means so much

    The doyenne of dressage was reduced to tears on the podium after winning her third gold of the European Championships in Gothenburg.

    “It’s still so special. I am so full of adrenaline during my test, and afterwards that is replaced by emotion. I am so grateful and thankful,” she said.

    There’ve been some setbacks…

    In 2014, Isabell was fined €2,000 after her horse El Santo tested positive for cimetidine — a drug used to treat stomach ulcers — at the Rhineland championships in Lengenfeld in June 2012.

    Continued below…

    She has some mega scores on her record

    She has broken the 90% barrier four times, all with Weihegold. The pair’s personal best score is 90.98%, which they posted in the freestyle in Gothenburg, en route to triple gold. The duo have scored under 80% just three times in international competition since January 2016.

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