One rider carries British dressage hopes on World Cup Final debut

  • Lottie Fry will be the sole British rider competing at this week’s FEI Dressage World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany. This will be the first World Cup Final held since 2019, as it was called off owing to coronavirus in 2020 and the EHV outbreak in 2021. 

    Lottie will ride Dark Legend at what will be the Olympic medallist’s first World Cup Final. The 14-year-old Zucchero x Tango gelding was her British team partner at the 2019 European Dressage Championships, as well as her under-25 European gold medallist in 2018. 

    “I’m really excited to be going to my first World Cup Final,” Lottie told H&H. “It was actually a little unexpected but Dark Legend has been going better than ever and we managed to qualify at the last minute. It’s always incredible to compete alongside the best riders in the world and we’re ready to do our best.”

    Lottie finished in 10th position in the Western European league, following her second-place finish at the London Horse Show in December, and fourth-place finish at s’Hertogenbosch this month. 

    Just nine riders from the Western European League may qualify for the final, but with a maximum of three riders allowed from one country, Lottie clinched a slot above Germany’s Frederic Wandres, who lost out owing to a late qualification rule change by the FEI, despite the fact he finished fourth in the standings. The current rules allowed his compatriot Helen Langehananberg to take the third German spot behind top-ranked Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and defending champion Isabell Werth, who is automatically allocated a place at the following year’s final. 

    Jessica will bring forward her Olympic and European champion, the 15-year-old mare TSF Dalera BB (Easy Game x Handryk), for a crack at winning her first World Cup title. Jessica is no stranger to World Cup Finals, having finished third on three occasions, and seventh on another with her former top horse Unee BB. She and Dalera are on top form, having remained unbeaten in international competition since before the Tokyo Olympics, and will likely start the competition as favourites to win. 

    The World Cup Final looks set to be Jessica’s only major championship in 2022 – she is almost five months pregnant with her second baby, who is due in August, meaning she will miss the dressage World Championships this summer.

    Jessica’s main rival will be Isabell Werth, for whom this will be her 19th World Cup Final. She won the last three consecutive finals with the now 17-year-old Don Schufro x Sandro Hit mare Weihegold OLD, and will be riding the mare again at this year’s event. 

    Also among the starters is European silver medallist Cathrine Dufour, riding for Denmark, another at her first World Cup Final. Catherine will ride the 10-year-old Vamos Amigos, a Vitalis son owned by Britain’s Sarah Pidgley. 

    Two USA riders will be in action: Anna Buffini (FRH Davinia La Douce) and Ashley Holzer (Havanna 145), with a total of 13 nations represented in total. 

    All 18 riders will first contest the short grand prix on Thursday 7 April, with all those who achieve 60% going forward to the grand prix freestyle on Saturday 9 April. The winner of the freestyle will be crowned the World Cup champion for 2022.

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