Top dressage horses out of Olympic contention

  • Two of German dressage star Isabell Werth’s top rides are out of contention for this summer’s Olympics.

    Her top-ranked ride Don Johnson (“Johnny”), with who she is currently ranked third in the world, and her 2014 World Equestrian Games team gold medal-winning partner Bella Rose 2 (pictured), will not be aimed at the Games.

    The multiple Olympic medal-winning rider revealed the news in a post titled “Bella and Johnny not in Rio”.

    “To avoid all speculation I would like to make clear that unfortunately for the time being neither Bella Rose nor Don Johnson can return to competitive sport,” said Isabell.

    “Don Johnson will need about three to four months until his injury is fully cured and he can return to the competition arena.

    “Bella Rose has not yet reached the necessary stability and consistency, which are essential for top international sport.

    “For me this is a huge disappointment, especially since both horses were on a hopeful course.”

    However, Isabell does still have hopes of riding for Germany at this summer’s Games.

    She will be contesting Olympic qualifiers with Madeleine Winter-Schulze’s Emilio 107 and Weihegold OLD, owned by Mr and Mrs Arns-Krogmann.

    Isabelle said she is “very happy to have these two wonderful horses” as her Olympic options.

    “I have decided to release this in order to clear any open questions. I will make no further comments on this subject,” she added.

    “The decision stands and had to be made now, so that I can concentrate on the forthcoming shows and the Olympic qualifications that lie before us.”

    Both her Olympic hopefuls have had a strong start to 2016. Emilio 107 took second place in both the grand prix and the special at Dortmund CDI5* in March and Weihegold OLD scored over 80% at the Amsterdam leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup and in the grand prix and freestyle in Neumünster.

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    “We, everybody concerned with looking after the horses and I, regret very much what has happened,” added Isabell.

    “But we are all long enough in equestrian sport, to know that sport with horses is only partially predictable.

    “We will do our utmost that Don Johnson and Bella Rose return again in prime condition to international sport.

    “We will now focus ourselves wholeheartedly on the Olympic qualifications with Emilio and Weihegold.”

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