Additional reporting by Selene Scarsi
Isabell Werth’s 2014 World Equestrian Games ride Bella Rose has made her long-awaited return to competition, after almost four years out. The chestnut mare, whom Isabell referred to in 2017 as “the best horse of my life”, won the grand prix for special with 77.52% at the Fritzens-Schindlof CDI4* in Austria, before topping the special with 80.17%.
The elegant Belissimo M daughter, now aged 14, was last seen in action in November 2014, having been withdrawn from the 2014 WEG in Caen after scoring 81.53% for Germany in the grand prix, finishing second behind Valegro. Details were released stating that Bella Rose developed signs of an acute inflammation in the sole of her hoof.
She and Isabell returned to competition later that year, delivering an 81.94% grand prix special in Stuttgart, but it was to be the last time the mare was seen in action, as she sustained a knee injury.
“This was one of the most beautiful days of my horsey life,” Isabell told H&H after her highly emotional grand prix performance. “It was a dream come true that she came back [from injury]. It wasn’t perfect, but it was very good already so I’m very very happy.”
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It was an excellent weekend for Britain’s Emile Faurie and Hayley Watson-Greaves, too. Emile’s 11-year-old gelding Dono Di Maggio (below) scored two international personal bests of 74.02% and 75.6% to finish third in the grand prix for special and second in the special behind Isabell and Bella Rose. Emile has long tipped the Dimaggio son as the best of his current grand prix string, and is aiming him for WEG selection this year.
Hayley and her 14-year-old Rubin Royal son Rubins Nite had a disappointing grand prix, finishing seventh, but were back on top form for the freestyle, scoring 75.75% to fill third place behind Isabell Werth and Emilio and Dorothee Schneider with Rock N Rose.
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