Isabell Werth completes golden hat-trick as Gareth Hughes claims career-best score

Isabell Werth and Bella Rose continued their domination as they took the freestyle gold medal at the European Dressage Championships today in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The decorated German rider posted a whopping 90.88% to win but was chased all the way by her teammates Dorothee Schneider and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who filled the other two podium places in an all-German ceremony.

Dorothee Schneider and Showtime FRH in the grand prix freestyle at the European Dressage Championships.

Jessica set the bar high with 89.1% on the elegant 12-year-old mare TSF Dalera BB, while penultimate rider Dorothee Schneider came agonisingly close to adding gold to her silver medal from the special; she posted 90.56% on the 13-year-old Sandro Hit son Showtime FRH. But Isabell produced another exemplary, dramatic performance to squeak in front and claim her 20th European gold medal.

“I am so happy and proud of Bella — the whole week she has given me a super feeling and always wanted to try her best,” said Isabell. “We have had such great sport and such exciting performances.”

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Ireland’s Judy Reynolds continued her fabulous week, matching her fifth place from the special here, with a huge personal best of 85.59%, slotting in behind Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy in fourth.

“When I saw who was going to be here I thought that just to get into the freestyle would be good,” said Judy, who had the unenviable position of following Isabell and Dorothee into the arena. “Earlier when I saw the draw I thought, ‘Oh god’, but in the moment I didn’t think about it — I just tried to focus and do our job.”

Gareth Hughes (above) led the charge for Britain — a career-best score of 80.13% with the 13-year-old Trento B mare Classic Briolinca was enough to finish 10th in an exceptionally high quality field.

“It was tough in there, really tough — it was very hot, there was lots of noise and everyone was fanning themselves so there was a lot of movement in the stands,” said Gareth. “She got a little strong on me but I knew I could pick up marks on her strengths, like her pirouettes and passage.

Carl Hester had a disappointing ride, finishing 14th on a very hot and unsettled Hawtins Delicato.

Don’t miss next week’s issue of H&H for extensive coverage from the European Dressage, Para Dressage and Showjumping Championships, out 29 August