Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl Determined to Succeed
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Oct. 15, 2014
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
After just missing out on riding Unee BB for Germany’s World Equestrian Games team, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl emerged just weeks later with a second horse as a future prospect and more determined than ever to earn a place on her country’s championships squad.
Results on Unee BB, the 13-year-old KWPN stallion that Jessica has been riding at international Grand Prix since March 2013, have improved dramatically this year alone–up two percentage points in the Grand Prix to 73.900 per cent and close to a whopping six percentage points to 82.625 per cent in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Altbough the 27-year-old acknowledges competition is fierce to be among the top in Germany, she’s campaigning Unee BB for one of the three starting places her country could be awarded at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas next April. If the pair succeed, it would be the second appearance at the annual individual global championship decided by the Freestyle as their debut was at the Lyon, France event this year.
Results with Unee BB have included six victories so far this year, the CDI4* at the premier World Equestrian Festival in Aachen and at Perl, both in Germany among them.
Not all her hopes for the future are resting on Unee (Gribaldi x Dageraad), a horse she describes as a “showman.”
On Zaire, a KWPN mare that is a “ballerina,” Jessica made her first international Big Tour start in early October.
Despite mistakes in their first CDI Grand Prix outing, they nevertheless scored 70.260 per cent, then came back the following day to be awarded 76.078 per cent in the Special, a result that was higher than Unee has ever scored in that event.
Now 10 years old, Zaire had been found by her brother, Benjamin, at a friend’s yard five years ago.
“She is a very sensitive horse and it took a long time to calm her down and to gain her confidence,” Jessica told dressage-news.com. “She’s an amazing horse. I’m curious about the future with her.”
Jessica was destined to be an athlete–her father, Klaus, is a former German sailing champion and her mother, Micaela, was a member of the German junior national ski team for seven years.
She began riding at the age of seven when her parents bought the equetrian center where she still is based at Aubenhausen near Munich.
Jessica was a star in Junior and Young Riders, winning team and individual gold and silver medals at European Championships and twice German champion over a span of five years.
She continued to compete while earning a degree in marketing and communications in Berlin and Munich, but did not feel she was riding to her potential so worked with a mental coach. The process worked and she became more intesely focused on riding and what she labels “more passionate” working with horses.
The breakthrough in the senior ranks came in 2012 when Beatrice Burchler-Kellergiven of Switzerland owner of Unee BB gave Jessica the ride on the black stallion. The pair began competing internationally in 2013. In the summer of that year, she married Max von Bredow an eventer at national level in Germany.
This year, the World Games in Normandy, France were the goal and Jessica and Unee became serious contenders for a place on the German team.
After successes at Perl and Aachen she was named a reserve behind Fabienne Lütkemeier on D’Agostino who was promoted to the team as a replacement for the injured Totilas. Jessica was next in line.
Asked if she was disappointed to be so close but miss out, she replied:
“To be honest, at first I was a little disappointed. But now I see it as a motivation to be good enough not to be a reserve–it’s better to be directly selected for the team.”
She made an early start in her campaign to go to the World Cup in Las Vegas by winning the World Cup event in Kaposvar, Hungary earlier this month so she could carry the 20 points she was awarded into the Western European League launching later in the month.
At Kaposvar, she said Unee “did a super job the whole weekend–the best Grand Prix feeling I’ve had on him so far. I had some mistakes with Zaire in the Grand Prix but the Special… was just amazing.”
With a “great start” to the indoor season, her next World Cup qualifier is the German Masters at Stuttgart in November.
“I’m so happy having such a motivated horse with Unee and there is still some more potential to improve and work on,” she said. “We’ll see how far we can get. But the most important thing is a sound and happy horse.”
Zaire’s strengths are piaffe, passage, pirouettes and extensions but Jessica said “the real highlight is that she has no weakness. She fascinates me every day.”
The mare will be her second prospect for championships in coming years.
Of her lifestyle at the training center she runs with her brother, Jessica said:
“I’m living my dream–doing what I love–training young horses up to Grand Prix together with my brother, Benjamin, living at a beautiful yard in Bavaria with my husband and family.”