Top rider causes a stir by wearing earpiece during CHIO Aachen grand prix special

  • Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was at the centre of some controversy when she narrowly beat Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin in the CDIO5* grand prix special at CHIO Aachen, while riding with what appeared to be an earpiece in.

    Reigning Olympic champion Jessica and the 16-year-old mare TSF Dalera BB scored 81.02% in the special to finish just 0.23% ahead of Charlotte and Imhotep, but it was spotted that she was wearing part of an earpiece in her right ear during her test.

    The FEI dressage rules state that “Any outside help by voice, signs, etc (earphone and/or electronic communication devices included) is considered as illegal or unauthorised assistance. Illegal or unauthorised assistance will result in elimination of that combination”.

    The earpiece was discovered by stewards at Jessica’s post-test check, but they were satisfied that it was not able to transmit and so the pair were not eliminated under the outside assistance rules.

    Jessica von Bredow-Werndl later explained that when removing the training earpiece before her Aachen test, the cover element had come off and become stuck in her ear.

    “I didn’t realise it had got stuck, I didn’t realise it was still in my ear,” she said. “The stewards found it when I came back and that was the point I realised it too.

    “I was connected to the sky,” she joked.

    Jessica von Bredow-Werndl rides her grand prix special with an earpiece at Aachen 2023

    Despite having finished at the top of the leaderboard, Jessica was left ruing technical mistakes in the grand prix special, losing marks for the first halt and final set of changes. The German duo were back on their usual flawless form by the final day’s grand prix freestyle however, where they scored over 90%.

    With a clean sweep of wins, Jessica not only led the German team to Nation Cup victory, ahead of Denmark in second and Britain in third, but was also crowned the Aachen grand champion. The accolade is awarded to the best performing combination across the five-star classes.

    “She leaves her heart in there for me,” said a very emotional Jessica of Dalera after her freestyle.

    “Yesterday I had big mistakes because I made the wrong decisions, today I didn’t take any wrong decisions so we had no mistakes, because she just listens to me. It has always been my childhood dream to be on the winners’ board.”

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