Shake up to Germany’s European dressage squad as horse ruled out to injury

  • Germany’s Sönke Rothenberger and Fendi have been ruled out of the European Dressage Championships because the stallion has sustained a “minor injury” – as the medal-winning rider reveals he is due to become a father.

    The nine-year-old Franklin son was due to make his championship debut with Sönke on home soil at Riesenbeck next month (4-10 September), where reigning champions Germany will be aiming to defend their title. Sönke was part of the 2019 gold medal-winning squad, and won individual bronze, on Cosmo 59.

    Today (18 August) Sönke said the decision had been made that he and Fendi will not take part owing to Fendi’s “minor injury”.

    Sönke and Fendi were part of the winning Nations Cup squad in Aachen in July, and won the grand prix and grand prix special at the Hagen CDI4* in April. Last year they won the prestigious Louisdor Prize final, a series for young grand prix horses aged eight to 10.

    “Fendi is only nine years old and certainly at the beginning of his career. The wellbeing of my horse comes first,” said Sönke.

    “Of course there is still a lot of time until Riesenbeck, but the thought has matured in me that I don’t want to put any pressure on Fendi, who at just nine years old, doesn’t have to fulfil all hopes and expectations. He gets the time he needs. His time will come, it feels like the coming winter is exactly the time we need to consolidate.”

    Sönke thanked the German officials who “put their trust” in him and Fendi and selected him for the team.

    “I wish the German team a successful home European Championships and keep my fingers crossed,” he said, adding that he has “another big event coming up”.

    “Now I’m looking forward to the coming weeks as my wife (Svenja) and I are expecting our son in early September.”

    The German team that will compete at the European Dressage Championships features Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB, Frederic Wandres and Bluetooth OLD, and Isabell Werth and DSP Quantaz. Matthias Rath and the 10-year-old Totilas son Thiago GS are first reserves, and expected to replace Sönke and Fendi.

    Matthias last competed on a team at the 2015 Europeans with Totilas, where controversy arose over the stallion’s soundness, and the pair were withdrawn from the competition following the grand prix. Despite this the German team, featuring Kristina Bröring Sprehe, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Isabell Werth still went on to claim team bronze.

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