Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein to Be Danish Team Coach

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Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein riding her Olympic veteran Digby. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein riding her Olympic veteran Digby. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 4, 2017

Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, the popular down-to-earth Olympic and championship Danish team rider, was named Tuesday as Denmark’s national coach to succeed Rudolf Zeilinger who has held the post for 19 years.

The 41-year-old princess with ties to the Danish and Greek royal families has been an international top rider for 15 years and has represented Denmark at two Olympic Games winning team bronze in 2008, four world championships and seven European championships.

Her greatest successes came with Digby, the Danish Warmblood gelding that is now 20 years old and retired.

She has trained with some of the world’s finest dressage coaches and for several years has served as coach of top riders in the Great Britain, Australia and Denmark.

She married Alexander Johannsmann in 2011 and has lived in Germany for many years.

“I am really looking forward to the position as national coach of Denmark,” she said. “It is a new and exciting challenge, which means a lot to me. I hope that I, along with the riders can form a strong team for the future and continue the good development that Danish dressage has undergone in the recent years.”

The Danish Equestrian Federation said it was in close contact with the country’s top riders “and there is broad support for Nathalie as national coach.”

“It is important for us that the new coach is highly qualified – both regarding coaching and riding skills as well as getting strong support from the riders,” said Kimi Nielsen, elite manager in dressage and chef d’equipe.

“Our goal is that we will continue to be at the very top in the world, and it requires that the work around our national team is based on trust and recognition. Therefore, it is gratifying that the riders, support our choice of coach. Nathalie is one of our most experienced riders, and as rider on the national team she has often delivered the best Danish results. In addition, Nathalie also has solid coaching experience and a wide network in the international equestrian sport, and I look forward to working with her.”