Isabell Werth Wins Munich Grand Prix On Eve of World Dressage Masters

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Moorlands Totilas being warmed up by Edward Gal for the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Munich. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Moorlands Totilas being warmed up by Edward Gal for the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Munich. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

MUNICH, Germany, May. 13–The warm-up arena for dressage competition at Pferd International on Thursday was the horse world’s version of the Cannes Film Festival as hundreds of spectators stood in unseasonable cold and rain to catch a glimpse of Moorlands Totilas being lightly worked a day before the Exquis World Dressage Masters and the €125,000 (US$157,000) to be won.

In what has become virtual Totilas mania, the fans followed every footfall of the 10-year-old black stallion, most of whom ignored the CDI3* Grand Prix going on behind them, preferring to watch the world record holder in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle making only their second appearance in Germany since moving up the top level of dressage. They competed at Stuttgart last November.

The message is clear on the clothing for sale at Munich. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The message is clear on the clothing for sale at Munich. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The fans received a double treat in the warm up arena when Isabell Werth was, at the same time, working her spectacular six-year-old chestnut mare Bella Rose that she is aiming for the Bundeschampionate, the intensely competitive German national championships for young horses, at the same time.

And Isabell gave the German fans a lot to cheer about when she won the CDI3* Grand Prix on the nine-year-old gelding El Santo NRW with a score of 72.00 per cent. Compatriot Nadine Capellmann on her 2008 Olympic team gold medal mount, Elvis VA, that only recently returned to competition after a long absence, finished second on 70.766 per cent and served notice the pair could be a contender for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in September. Hubertus Schmidt on Hinnerk TSF made it a sweep of the top places for Germany by placing third on 69.064 per cent.

Isabell Werth riding El Santo NRW in the CDI3* Grand Prix victory gallop. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth riding El Santo NRW in the CDI3* Grand Prix victory gallop. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Despite the unseasonable cold of 53 degrees fahrenheit (12C) that felt colder in almost non-stop rain, the sprawling old Olympic Stadium was packed Thursday–it was a public holiday–for the international dressage and jumping as well as national competitions in reining and vaulting.

The most excitement, though, surrounds the World Dressage Masters that is in its second year on the circuit of four competitions–Palm Beach, Florida; Munich; Cannes, France, and Hickstead, England–each with €100,000 (US$126,000) in prize money.

The Munich WDM CDI5* also has an additional €25,000 (US$31,500) at stake as the final of the Nürnberger WDM Rider Award. The rider award was instituted after the 2009 WDM in Munich so the results to date are from Cannes and Hickstead in 2009 and Palm Beach this year.

Edward and Totilas of The Netherlands are heavily favored to win the award in which double points are offered for this final. Rankings leader Anky van Grunsven is not competing here, and neither is second placed Canadian Ashley Holzer.

However, other competitors will be trying their best to cause an upset.

Among those with a shot is Jerich Parzival ridden by Adelinde Cornelissen, the only combination to beat the world’s top ranked pair in the past year–they did it twice, once in the Grand Prix Special at the European Championships last year and then in the Grand Prix at the World Cup Final in March.

And now back in the thick of the top levels of dressage after six months off in which she gave birth to a son who is with her constantly, Isabell Werth will ride Warum Nicht FRH in the WDM. He was her 2007 World Cup title mount.

Other combinations in the Grand Prix that will be broadcast live over the Internet by clipmyhorse.de include Olympians Ulla Salzgeber and Hubertus Schmidt of Germany, Anne van Olst of Denmark and Victoria Max-Theurer of Austria. Valentina Truppa of Italy and Anna Merveldt of Ireland will be making the first appearance by riders from those nations in a World Dressage Masters competition.

In addition to the competition, the World Dressage Masters organization is staging a symposium on breeding and the dressage horse at the show grounds that has attracted leading experts. The symposium is sponsored by the U.S. company ViaGen.

Edward Gal on Moorlands Totilas and Isabell Werth on Bella Rose in the warm-up arena in Munich. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Edward Gal on Moorlands Totilas and Isabell Werth on Bella Rose in the warm-up arena in Munich. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

For complete results of the CDI3* Grand Prix, click Munich CDI3 GP