Isabell Werth & Weihegold No. 1 for 20th Straight Month, USA 2nd to Germany in Top 50 Combinations

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World No. 1 Isabell Werth sharing celebratory Champagne with No. 2 Laura Graves. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

June 1, 2018

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD was the No. 1 combination for the 20th straight month with the USA’s Laura Graves and Verdades second ranked as of the end of May as competition heats up to earn a start at the World Equestrian Games less than four months away.

The United States also had eight combinations in the top 50 in the world, the highest number ever for the second straight month, and second to powerhouse Germany with 12. Historically strong Netherlands dropped to five combinations in the same bracket behind Denmark, Great Britain and Sweden each with six pairs.

The top 50 International Equestrian Federation (FEI) standings showed little change from the previous month, except for the Netherlands Emmelie Scholtens on Apache jumping to No. 24 from 128th at the end of April. Complete standings are available here.

Great Britain’s Spencer Wilton on Super Nova II dropped to 46th from 19th as the pair has not competed for more than eight months. Charlotte Dujardin on Mount St. John Freestyle climbed to 268th from 456 the previous month with only four competitions on their record–the top eight from the previous 12 months count for rankings–while Carl Hester on Hawtins Delicato made the rankings for the first time at 487 with only two scores from a single event.

Juan Matute, Jr., the 20-year-old college student who has been based in Florida but rides for Spain as did his father with three Olympics on his résumé, showed big gains on two horses–to 84th from 214th on Quantico Ymas and 91st from 222 on Don Diego Ymas.

The top 15 places showed no change at all in the latest rankings of 786 combinations in the world as competitions for teams and individual places intensifies for the world championships at Tryon, North Carolina opening Sept. 11. Qualifying for dressage for the WEG ends Aug. 13.

Spain’s national championships that are a key to selection are being staged this week while Germany and Denmark hold their championships next week.

More top American combinations move to Europe next week to compete for a team spot at two primary events, the CHIO at Rotterdam in three weeks and the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany a month later. Aachen will be the decision maker for several other nations.

The surge in American combinations in the top 50 in the world was tracked by dressage-news.com from records available from June 30, 2009 when there were 577 horses and riders on the standings.

At that time when Isabell Werth on Satchmo was No. 1 and Steffen Peters on Ravel was No. 2,  Germany had 16 pairs in the top 50, Netherlands nine, Great Britain and Denmark each with five, Sweden three and the United States tied with Austria with two pairs.

In 2014, the numbers for the United States climbed to six pairs in the top 50 from months in the previous five years the numbers varied from no combinations to a high of four with the Netherlands and Great Britain typically ranked second or third with Denmark and Sweden next in the standings.

The same month ending May 31 in 2016, Germany had 12 combinations, in the top 50 with seven for the U.S., Denmark and Sweden each with five and four each for Great Britain and the Netherlands. Last year, Germany had 15 combinations, with seven American pairs, six each for Great Britain and the Netherlands, Sweden with five and Denmark three.

The latest rankings show 12 for Germany, eight for the U.S., six each for Denmark, Great Britain and Sweden and five for the Netherlands.