9 things you might not know about the world’s number one dressage horse

Germany’s Isabell Werth scored her third consecutive World Cup title with her brilliant black mare Weihegold OLD last weekend (4-6 April). We delve into the Don Schufro daughter’s past to find out why she is one of the most successful dressage horses the world has ever seen…

1. Weihegold OLD has held the number one spot on the FEI world rankings almost continuously since October 2016, with the exception of two months last autumn when Laura Graves’ Verdades temporarily replaced her in the top spot. Her reign of 23 consecutive months has been beaten only by Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro’s 30 months at the head of the rankings.

2. The 14-year-old mare has scored more than 90% four times in competition. Her personal best score is 90.98%, which she and Isabell earned on their way to earning their third gold medal of the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg.

3. Weihe and Isabell have posted just one score below 80% since the Wiesbaden CDI5* in May 2016. They have just six sub-80% scores on their entire record, from 46 starts.

4. Isabell is not the only rider to have competed Weihe successfully in international competition. For several months in 2015, Weihe was campaigned by Isabell’s assistant trainer Beatrice Buchwald at international grand prix, never scoring below 71%.

5. Only two combinations have beaten Weihe since the retirement of Valegro — the USA’s Laura Graves with Verdades on two occasions, and Isabell’s German teammate Sonke Rothenberger (Cosmo) once in 2018.

6. Weihe has had 13 foals by embryo transfer, thus not disrupting her competition and training schedule. These include two licensed sons: Total Hope, by Totilas, and Sir Weihbach, by Sir Donnerhall I.

7. Weihe herself was bred by Inge and Gunter Bastai and born in Germany on 7 July 2005, out of a Sandro Hit x Figaro mare named Weihevoll. Her current owner, Christine Arns-Krogman, bought her as a yearling.

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8. She achieved success early on in her career, being crowned grand champion of the 2008 Oldenburg Elite Mare Show in Rastede, Germany as a three-year-old. Weihe was the favourite for the title, having already picked up high score at her mare performance test, scoring 8.1 overall with a nine for her trot, 8.5 for her canter and eight for her walk.

9. To date, Weihe has contributed five medals — four gold, one silver — to Isabell’s impressive total haul of 43.

Don’t miss the full report from the World Cup finals in the current issue of Horse & Hound magazine (dated 11 April 2019)

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