High jinks at the horse inspection as the World Cup final gets underway

All dressage horses have been accepted at today’s trot-up prior to the World Cup final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

There was drama when Russia’s Regina Isachkina, brought forward her World Cup ride, the 10-year-old stallion Sun Of May Life (pictured). The black San Amour son was very exuberant and unsettled, giving Regina a hard time as he reared and leapt about. She was asked to trot him for a second time, after which he was accepted.

The competition kicks off tomorrow with the grand prix which will determine the running order for Saturday’s grand prix freestyle — which forms the World Cup final.

Ireland’s Judy Reynolds will be the first dressage rider into the atmospheric Scandinavium arena tomorrow, competing at 1pm (12pm UK time) with her 17-year-old Jazz x Ferro gelding Vancouver K.

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Germany’s Isabell Werth will start her title defence campaign at 2.52pm (1.52pm UK time) riding the 14-year-old Blue Horse Don Schufro mare Weihegold OLD. Isabell will be attempting to take the World Cup title for the third consecutive year with this mare — her fifth in total — and the pair looked cool, calm and collected during today’s inspection.

Her closest rival is expected to be the USA’s Laura Graves, who came close to knocking Isabell off her throne in 2018, when she won the grand prix and finished second in the final. Laura will once again ride the 17-year-old Florett AS gelding Verdades, entering the arena at 3.28pm (2.28pm UK time).

Swedish hopes for the home victor lie with Tinne Vilhelmsen Silfven and another 17-year-old, the Don Davidoff gelding Don Auriello, who are on at 1.18pm (12.18pm UK time) and Patrik Kittel, who will ride Delaunay OLD at 2.46pm (2.46pm UK time).

No British riders qualified for the final this year. Richard Davison and his home-bred gelding Bubblingh came closest, finishing 16th on the Western European League rankings.

Don’t miss the 11 April issue of Horse & Hound for full coverage from the World Cup finals in Gothenburg.