Aachen Starts Wednesday with Peters, Van Grunsven But No Werth and Gal
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
AACHEN, Germany, June 29–A much-anticipated showdown between the world’s top three horse and rider combinations–2009 World Cup champion Steffen Peters and Ravel, 2008 Olympic individual gold medalist Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero and 2008 Olympic team gold medalist Isabell Werth and Satchmo–has fallen afoul of strict international drug rules.
And the emerging sensation, Edward Gal and Moorland Totilas, will not be making their Grand Prix debut outside of their Dutch homeland until later this month at the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Hickstead, England.
So although the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen is the premier horse show in the world, dressage will be without Germany’s hometown hero, Isabell Werth. She had planned to show Satchmo on whom Werth is ranked No. 1 in the world, her 2007 World Cup champion Warum Nicht and Whisper, the small tour horse whose treatment for Shivers with a drug that contained a banned ingredient led to the most stunning suspension in the history of dressage. Under the doping rules, Werth was suspended immediately and an International Equestrian Federation tribunal is weighing how long to ban her from international competition.
Even so, riders from 17 nations–more countries than were represented in this year’s FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas–will compete over five days in the permanent Deutsche Bank Stadium that seats 5,000 spectators.
Six countries–Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Great Britain, Belgium and Switzerland–will compete for the Nations Cup. The U.S. had entered a team, but Jane Hannigan of Harvard, Massachussetts, had to withdraw her Maksymillian, when the horse was diagnosed with a “blind splint.”
The San Diego, California-based Peters and Ravel and the German-based Catherine Haddad with Cadillac and Maximus JSS will display the American flag on their saddle pads.
Peters and the Akiko Yamazaki-owned Ravel are making their only European appearance this year at Aachen as part of their carefully planned campaign leading to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky 15 months from now.
Mikala Gundersen, a U.S.-based rider, will compete Leonberg, owned by Horses Unlimited of Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the Danish team following their success at Rotterdam, The Netherlands, two weeks ago.
Aachen is a virtual annual World Equestrian Games of five of the seven international horse disciplines: dressage, eventing, jumping, driving and vaulting –endurance and reining are not staged–with teams from around the world vying for honors. In the main stadium that seats 40,000 spectators, the centerpiece events are the premier Meydan FEI Nations Cup of jumping which the U.S. is currently at the top of the 10-team standings, and the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.
Dressage-news.com will carry extensive daily reports including photo displays and video interviews.
Complete scores can be accessed by clicking on RESULTS on the Front Page.