Isabell Werth & Satchmo Back on Top at Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI5* in Munich

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Isabell Werth and Satchmo performing in the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix at Munich. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth and Satchmo performing in the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix at Munich. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

MUNICH, Germany, May 22–Isabell Werth’s ride on Satchmo at the Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI5* Grand Prix was “like flying” and left every one else fighting for the other places.

“Most of the time he is like this,” the German rider told dressasge-news.com after her score of 77.915 per cent won her first place in the Grand Prix that is one of three classes in the €100,000 (US$140,000) second leg of the 2009 four-nation series.

Finland’s Kyra Kyrklund was the first of 13 riders from six nations to compete in the World Dressage Masters at the refurbished 1972 Olympic equestrian stadium and finished second on 72.340 per cent while Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber on her spectacular moving 10-year-old chestnut gelding Herzruf’s Erbe was third on 72.255 per cent and the pair’s first loss in four starts at Grand Prix this year.

The Grand Prix was punctuated by torrential downpours, one so heavy that the judges allowed Germany’s Anja Plönzke a break in the middle of the test to wipe water off the tack on her Le Mont d’Or.

The class belonged to Werth and Satchmo, last pair into the arena and the crowd went completely silent.

An obviously happy Isabell Werth on Satchmo after their Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
An obviously happy Isabell Werth on Satchmo after their Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The ride was reminiscent of so many amazing competitions the couple have partnered, including the CHIO at Aachen, Germany in 2008 that raised hopes in her homeland that she might better her longtime rival–and good friend–Anky van Grunsven of The Netherlands on Salinero for the individual gold medal.

Satchmo displayed resistance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in both the Grand Prix Special and the Freestyle. Werth won team gold but had to settle for individual silver behind van Grunsven.

She was clearly distressed at the FEI World Cup in Las Vegas last month where she lost to the USA’s Steffen Peters and Ravel.

She admitted that three “big mistakes” for which she was penalized in the freestyle were rare exceptions in the career of the 15-year-old stallion. The mistakes in Las Vegas, she said, resulted from rider errors–“I was not focused. ”

“Of the last 50 or so competitions I can think of maybe only five where I have not had the feeling I had today,” she said.

“His normsl feeling is lightness, like he’s not really working hard, he is giving himself freely. He makes it seem as if it is easy for him.”

The Grand Prix Special will be held Saturday and the Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday.

The next Exquis World Dressage Masters is scheduled for Cannes on the French Riviera in mid-June and the finale in Hickstead, England at the end of July.

Earlier in the day, Germany’s Hubertus Schmidt on Donnelly 3 won the CDI3* Grand Prix Special with a score of 71.625 per cent.

Susanne Lebek, also of Germany, was second on Potomac 4 with 70.000 per cent, and Austria’s Victoria Max-Theurer on Falcao third with 69.375 per cent

Complete scores can be found by clicking on RESULTS on the front page.

Thrilled with her ride that scored 71.872 per cent and fourth place, Austria's 24-year-old two-time Olympian Victoria Max-Theurer on Augustin. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Thrilled with her ride that scored 71.872 per cent and fourth place, Austria's 24-year-old two-time Olympian Victoria Max-Theurer on Augustin. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com