Isabell Werth On Weihegold Enters 2019 at No. 1 for 3rd Year, Laura Graves & Verdades Match USA Record for Top 2 Placings

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Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD. File photo. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 1, 2019

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Isabell Werth on Weihegold entered 2019 at No. 1 for the third year while Laura Graves on Verdades matched the American record of eight months of top two placings held for more than 13 years by her personal trainer and newly appointed USA team coach Debbie McDonald.

Isabell, the most decorated equestrian of any Olympic horse discipline with 10 medals, ended 2018 at No. 1 with the Oldenburg mare for the 25th month beginning in October 2016, a month after the Rio de Janiero Games where the pair led Germany to team gold and captured individual silver.

Isabell, who turns 50 years of age in July, and the mare that automatically became 14 on Tuesday, the “official” birthday of all International Equestrian Federation (FEI)-registered horses in the northern hemisphere, went on to win the World Cup in 2017 and 2018 and sweep the 2017 European Championships.

Only the American pair of Laura Graves and “Diddy,” as she calls Verdades, broke Isabell’s string of 25 months atop the world standings, to become the top combination in September and October, the first ever by an United States partnership and finished the year No. 2. (see separate story).

Isabell and Bella Rose, the mare that she brought back from more than 3 1/2 years absence from competition to win emotion-charged World Equestrian Games team and individual gold medals in Tryon in September, was ranked third. Emilio that she’s competing as a backup to defend her World Cup title was ranked fourth at year’s end though the official rankings haven’t yet been posted.

Isabell Werth on Bella Rose at the end of their World Equestrian Games Grand Prix Special to win individual gold. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH, owned by American Louise Leatherdale and Susanne Meyer, moved up a couple of places to fifth, boosted by a pair of second places at the year-end World Cup qualifier in Mechelen, Belgium last week and Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Cassidy dropping to 13th from fifth because of a reduced number of scores that count for the rankings.

Helen, the 2012 German team Olympic and 2014 World Games rider of Damon Hill, narrowly missed taking the 17-year-old Hanoverian stallion to the Tryon WEG after a five-month break from competition to give birth to her second child.

Helen Langehanenberg on Damsey FRH. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St. John Freestyle, a star combination of the Tryon Games, moved up one place to No. 6. Charlotte holds the record since the current ranking format was introduced in 2006 with 36 months at No. 1 on Valegro, ending 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 as No. 1 in the world.

The Dutch superstar Anky van Grunsven topped the standings for a still unmatched five years from 2004 through 2008, with the final three years partnered with Salinero after the ranking format change.Netherlands

Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr. were up a spot to seventh and Edward Gal and Zonik to No. 8.

Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen now has three horses in the top 30 in the world–on Blue Hors Zack, his Tryon team mount, moving up one place to No. 9; on Blue Hors Zepter vaulting to 18th from 33rd at the end of November with results from the Christmas show at Frankfurt, Germany, and up a spot to 26th on Blue Hors Don Olymbrio.

Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Veneziano. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl produced rankings shattering performances on TSF Dalera BB, jumping to No. 10 from 20th in nine months at Big Tour, with two victories on the Trakehner mare, now 12 years old, at the Geneva CDI5* at the beginning of December.

Jessica climbed four places to No, 15 on Zaire-E while Unee BB that she competed at four World Cup Finals as well as on the German team at the 2015 European Championships was retired and dropped out of the top 50.

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB. File photo. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

American WEG silver medal team combinations Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet climbed to their highest ever ranking at No. 11 as did Adrienne Lyle on Salvino to No. 16, both up a couple of places.

Hans Peter Minderhoud, Netherlands Olympic and championship team rider, rode Glock’s Dream Boy at year-end shows to jump to No. 24 in the world from 48th a month earlier.