José Antonio Garcia Mena to Work With El Santo as Possible 2016 Olympic Mount for Spain, But Nothing Decided

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Isabell Werth and El Santo NRW at the 2011 European Championships. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth and El Santo NRW. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 13, 2016

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

José Antonio Garcia Mena, the rider of the now retired Purebred Spanish Horse Norte Lovera, will work with El Santo NRW as a possible 2016 Olympic mount for Spain but rider Isabell Werth stressed any arrangement is a long way from being finalized if at all.

“He will come to ride Ernie next week and if they like each other then we’ll go to a show and see how that goes,” Isabell told dressage-news.com who is ranked No. 17 in the world on El Santo, a 15-year-old Rhinelander gelding.

“We have no lease, no agreement of any kind. Madeleine (Winter-Schulze, the owner) has agreed to this and there is no pressure to do anything. ”

Isabell, the winner of five time Olympic gold medals, was answering questions from dressage-news.com about the change of nationality of El Santo to Spain from Germany and the owner to Madeleine and Catalina Mena Carrasco of Spain from Madeleine and Isabell. The change was dated Jan. 4, 2016, ahead of the deadline for registering horses in the nationality of the rider for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

“We did this because of the deadline,” Isabell said.

The Spanish rider competed Norte Lovera for Spain at both the 2010 and 2014 World Games as well as the European Championships in 2013 and 2015.

El Santo (Ehrentusch x Rythmus) was competed by Isabell on the German silver medal team at the European Championships in 2011, the 2011 Nations Cup gold medal team at the World Equestrian Festival CDIO5* in Aachen, Germany as well as World Cup Finals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands in 2012, Lyon, France in 2014 and Las Vegas, Nevada in 2015. Isabell also rode El Santo at the inaugural Central Park Horse Show New York in 2014 and in 2015. In 62 starts beginning in February, 2010 the pair finished in the top three 41 times, including 15 victories, the latest being at the 2015 Christmas CDI4* in Frankfurt, Germany.

Isabell Werth on Bella Rose, a Westfalen mare that led Germany to team gold at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth on Bella Rose, a Westfalen mare that led Germany to team gold at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

El Santo is one of five horses that Isabell competes at Grand Prix–Don Johnson FRH on which she is ranked third in the world; Emilio and Laurenti that she started at Big Tour in 2015, as well as Bella Rose, the mare that was a star of the 2014 World Games when she was 10 years old but has been out with an injury for the past 14 months.

Isabell said that she is aiming Bella Rose as her German team Olympic mount.

The mare is back in work after recovering from an injury and, Isabell said, she plans to take her to a show to get used the atmosphere and then compete her in the spring.