The FEI Dressage World Cup Final kicked off this evening in Leipzig, Germany (7 April) with the reigning Olympic and European champion waltzing her way to the top of the leaderboard in the short grand prix. Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl rode the delightful 15-year-old mare TSF Dalera BB to a score of 84.79% to score a resounding victory in the first round of competition.
All seven judges had Jessica firmly in the lead with the Easy Game daughter, with whom she won five gold medals in 2021. Her scores this evening ranged from 83.29% up to 86.84% for her virtually flawless round.
“Dalera makes it very easy for me to enjoy it, although I don’t really think about how much I enjoy it during the test as I am always very focused.
“It’s difficult to find the words to describe Dalera – she still feels like she’s improving, it’s incredible, and she is always giving 100%,” said Jessica, for whom this is the last major competition before she takes a break to have her second child, due in August.
“I’m just so happy to be able to ride, as I am pregnant, now in the fifth month, but I feel super fit and so does Dalera. From a sport point of view, it’s a little bit sad that this is the last big competition before a break,” she said, adding that she will work at producing a new freestyle for Dalera during her pregnancy break.
This Dressage World Cup Final was always set to be a showdown between the two leading ladies of German dressage, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Isabell Werth, defending champion and winner of the past three consecutive finals with Weihegold OLD. But Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour established herself as a serious contender for a podium position with a second-place finish tonight riding the young and relatively inexperienced Vamos Amigos, a 10-year-old Vivaldi son who is owned by Britain’s Sarah Pidgley and is one day destined for a partnership with 17-year-old British junior rider Annabella Pidgley.
Cathrine said the gelding was “on fire from the beginning” and admitted she was willing the excited Leipzig crowd not to clap as she entered the arena.
“He is super powerful but also always on the edge,” she said. “I was sitting on the handbrake all the way though; I’m not even riding him 50% at the moment. It’s all just a matter of keeping him calm and giving him confidence.
“At some point he will for sure go to Annabella, but for now he is a handful, and she has Gio to get to know now and also Espe, one of the younger horses I had at my yard,” added Cathrine, who trains Annabella. “For now she needs slightly more experienced horses to get started in grand prix.”
Cathrine’s impressive round pipped defending World Cup champion Isabell Werth into third with Weihegold OLD, the 17-year-old Don Schufro mare who is set to be retired after the Dressage World Cup Final. Isabell scored 79.76% with a slick round.
“It felt very good, and I’m really pleased and proud of Weihe as it was her last grand prix,” said Isabell.
Britain’s Lottie Fry finished in eighth on her World Cup debut after a test which included lots of highlights but also a costly mistake.
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