Germany Ends 2017 With 6 In Top 10 World Rankings, Most Since At Least 2009. Laura Graves & Verdades At No. 4 for 2nd Year

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2017 World No. 1 Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD that won the World Cup title in Omaha and swept the European Championships for three gold medals. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 1, 2018

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Germany heads into 2018 with six horse and rider combinations ranked in the top 10 in the world, more than in any year since at least 2009, with Isabell Werth, the most decorated equestrian in history, accounting for three of the German partnerships.

For the first time over the same period, Great Britain is without a pair in the top 10 while dressage there rebuilds after the retirement of Valegro that Charlotte Dujardin rode to dominate the top tier of the sport from the 2012 to 2016 Olympics. The Netherlands, too, is without a duo in the top 10 for the second year in a row.

Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo, German Olympic gold team mates from 2016, ended 2017 at No. 2, after a year in which the horse and rider partnership became only the fifth in history to score at least 90 per cent in the Grand Prix Freestyle. The achievement came at the European Championships where he was reserve champion to Isabell and Weihegold.

Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo completing the Grand Prix Freestyle at the European Championships with a score of better than 90 per cent, one of only five partnerships to ever achieve the mark. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Isabell moved Emilio up to No. 3 during the year after finishing 2016 standing eighth, according to unofficial calculations by dressage-news.com.

America’s Laura Graves and Verdades were at No. 4 at the end of December as they were in 2017 and the only other duo to finish in the top 10 in both years. They had been as high as No. 2 over the summer.

The United States pair was the only one to beat Isabell on Weihegold since the 2016 Olympics, which they did in the CDIO5* Grand Prix Special at the premier World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany in July.

The Olympic team bronze medal pair and reserve Omaha World Cup champion held on to their ranking throughout the year although they did not compete again after their Aachen success but came home to rest Verdades to prepare to campaign for a start at the World Cup Final in Paris in April then the World Equestrian Games at Tryon, North Carolina, a few hours drive from their Geneva, Florida home base.

Laura Graves on Verdades after Winning the CDIO5* Grand Prix Special at Aachen, Germany. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The final 2017 standings, according to dressage-news.com, are:

  1. Isabell Werth/Weihegold OLD GER
  2. Sönke Rothenberger/Cosmo GER
  3. Isabell Werth/Emilio GER
  4. Laura Graves/Verdades USA
  5. Cathrine Dufour/Cassidy DEN
  6. Isabell Werth/Don Johnson FRH GER
  7. Dorothee Schneider/Sammy Davis Jr. GER
  8. Patrik Kittel/Deja SWE
  9. Helen Langehanenberg/Damsey FRH
  10. Therese Nilshagen/Danto Weltino OLD SWE

Dorothee Schneider was ranked third at the end of 2016 on her Olympic team gold medal mount Showtime. Helen Langehanenberg in 2017 returned to the top rankings on Damsey FRH, owned by Americans Louise Leatherdale and Susanne Meyer, for the first time since last competing on Damon Hill NRW at the 2014 World Games.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rankings are available online only from mid-2009. The rankings were changed in 2006 to horse and rider partnerships after previous standings were for the rider only.

At that time, Isabell Werth on Satchmo was atop the standings and was No. 5 on Warum Nicht FRH. The USA’s Steffen Peters on Ravel was at No. 2 and the Netherlands’ Anky van Grunsven No. 3 on Salinero and No. 7 on Painted Black with team mates Adelinde Cornelissen on Jerich Parzival at No.4 and Hans Peter Minderhoud on Exquis Nadine No. 8. Great Britain’s Laura Tomlinson (Bechtolsheimer before her marriage) on Mistral Hojris ranked sixth, with Germany’s Monica Theodorescu on Whisper at ninth and Matthias Alexander Rath on Sternthaler-UNICEF 10th.