CHIO Aachen, World’s Premier Dressage Show, Forecasts “Showdown” Between USA’s Laura Graves & Germany’s Isabell Werth

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Showdown at the Soers! Laura Graves and Verdades vs. Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD. Photos: © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

AACHEN, Germany, June 26, 2017–The CHIO Aachen, the world’s premier dressage show, is highlighting “Showdown at Aachen Soers” that will pit American Laura Graves against Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD.

The competition that Aachen described as between “the currently most thrilling dressage riders” will be in the CDIO5* Nations Cup at the World Equestrian Festival July 14-23. The CDIO5*, a CDI4* and Under-25 are a pillar of the CHIO that attracts 350,000 spectators. Total prize money for dressage is €302,500/US$338,400.

Aachen described the “showdown” this way:

“On the one hand, the undisputed Queen, the giant of the dressage arena: Isabell Werth. She currently holds no less than three places under the top 10 in the world ranking lists.

“She has won everything there is to win on the international dressage circuit. Six Olympic gold medals (a total of 10 for the most of any equestrian), seven World Championship titles, 13-time European Champion and 14-time German Champion.

“On top of that, a further 10 victories in the Deutsche Bank Prize, the dressage Grand Prix of Aachen, victorious the last time in the year 2008. The 47-year-old German star is the most successful rider of all time. She is the Roger Federer of the equestrian sport. At least.

“And now Isabell has a challenger.

“The young American, Laura Graves and her Verdades have recently put in terrific performances. On Saturday, they won the Grand Prix and the Freestyle at the Dutch CHIO in Rotterdam. Graves additionally led the US American dressage team to victory in the Nations’ Cup.

“She came second in the FEI World Cup Final in Omaha–beaten only by Werth, albeit with a clear lead. Graves wasn’t exactly happy about having to make do with second place. The US rider, who will be celebrating her 30th birthday the day before the Deutsche Bank Prize at the CHIO Aachen 2017, is ambitious. The fact that Isabell Werth and her top horse ‘Weihegold’ left her trailing behind on home territory is gnawing away at her.

“So, it is time for the next round in Aachen: Werth vs. Graves. Weihegold vs. Verdades. Pure suspense.

“Graves is ‘sharp to win,’ according to the US National Coach, Robert Dover, in other words totally focused on victory. The showdown will take place in Aachen.

“I am particularly looking forward to this duel between two extraordinary riders and horses,” Aachen CHIO Show Director Frank Kemperman said.

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Dressage-news.com that has not missed a CHIO or championship at Aachen in many years, added:

The impressive Deutsche Bank Stadium that accommodates 6,300 spectators will be the scene of the “showdown” in dressage competition that starts Wednesday July 19 with the CDI4*, the Nations Cup Grand Prix on Thursday July 20, the Grand Prix Special Saturday July 21 and the Grand Prix Freestyle July 22.

Although Isabell as the “queen” of dressage and an obvious favorite of German fans, dressage spectators are viewed as knowledgeable and unafraid to express their opinion when disagreeing with results.

One of the most famous examples was in 2011 when Totilas ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath was awarded top place in the Grand Prix Freestyle that made the German combination the Deutsche Bank CDIO champion.

Steffen Peters of the United States on Ravel was placed second, two years after the pair had been the champion.

The crowd clearly believed that Steffen and Ravel should have won and booed and jeered the ground jury which was reported completely by the Aachen press office.

Matthias Alexander Rath on Totilas and Steffen Peters on Ravel in the 2011 Aachen Grand Prix Freestyle victory gallop. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com