Top European Horses Turn Out for Exquis World Dressage Masters in Munich

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Germany's Hubertus Schmidt among the riders preparing for the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Munich. © 2009 Ken Braddick/Dressage-News.com
Germany's Hubertus Schmidt among the riders preparing for the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Munich while final construction was underway. © 2009 Ken Braddick/Dressage-News.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

MUNICH, Germany, May. 20–Finland’s Kyra Kyrklund on her Max gave up the FEI World Cup competition in Las Vegas last month to compete at the Exquis World Dressage Masters with its €100,000 (US$135,550) of prize money in Munich this week.

And, as she expected, she will go head to head with the top in the world, especially a strong German contingent–Isabell Werth, Ulla Salzgeber, Nadine Cappellman and Hubertus Schmidt–and others from across Europe who are vying for a slice of the Exquis World Dressage Masters prize money that puts it on a par with jumping. Actually, in this venue where the USA’s Georgina Bloomberg is one of the jumping stars, dressage is the top dog. The “big money” classes that Georgina is contesting are €20,000 (US$25,500) and €30,000 (US$41,300).

In this 1972 Olympic Equestrian Stadium Pferde (Horse) International, München has provided entirely new competition and warm-up arena to host this second leg of the Exquis World Dressage Masters. The first was a sellout in Palm Beach in January with Cannes, France to follow Munich and then Hickstead, England for the final for 2009.

For dressage that has routinely trailed the jumpers, Exquis of The Netherlands and their partners Moorland along with Pferd International have provided the following scenario for this event.

Twenty of the top dressage riders will compete in the Grand Prix with prize money of €10,000 (US$13,555) on Friday. Twelve will move on to the Grand Prix Special and  €30,000 (US$40,665) purse on Saturday and eight compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle for a piece of the biggest prize, €60,000 (US$81,333) on Sunday.

Riders who have entered include Isabell Werth, Nadine Capellmann, Hubertus Schmidt, Ulla Salzgeber and Dieter Laugks of Germany, Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Sander Marijnissen of The Netherlands, Anne van Olst and Nathaly zu Sayn Wittgenstein of Denmark, Victoria Max-Theurer of Austria, Kyra Kyrklund of Finland and Catherine Haddad of the United States.

The judge at "c" for thr Exquis World Dressage Masters at Munich. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The judge at "c" for thr Exquis World Dressage Masters at Munich. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Althought the competition between Werth and Salzgeber is expected to be an exciting highlight, none of the other riders are conceding. Kyra Kryklund made that very clear.

Werth’s position at the top of world dressage along with The Netherlands’ Anky van Grunsven is being challenged more today for many years by former Olympic and World Cup champion Salzgeber on her spectacular horses, Herzruf’s Erbe, a 10-year-old Rhineland gelding on which she has won the last three Grand Prix she has entered, and the nine-year-old Thuringian mare, Wakana. She is showing both horses here.

All of three World Dressage Masters classes will be broadcast live on the Internet on www.clipmyhorse.de and www.worlddressagemasters.com.

At the Palm Beach World Dressage Masters, the winner of the  Grand Prix was the USA’s Steffen Peters and Ravel who later went on to take the Rolex FEI World Cup. The  Grand Prix Special was won by Michael Barisone and Neruda of the USA who gave up their place in the Grand Prix Kür to Anky van Grunsven and IPS Painted Black who had not qualified in the top eight.