Isabell Werth Rides Weihegold to 3rd Straight World Cup Title, Beating Back USA’s Laura Graves & Verdades for Third Runner-Up Finish

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Isabell Werth completing the Freestyle on Weihegold OLD that won the pair the third straight World Cup. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, April 6, 2019–Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD on Saturday won the third straight World Cup victory for the German partnership, beating back the USA’s Laura Graves on Verdades for a third runner-up finish. The American-owned Damsey FRH ridden by German Olympian Helen Langehanenberg to a personal best score placed third.

Isabell rode one-handed passage on the final centerline on the 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding to score 88.871% for the victory. The most decorated equestrian Olympian in history began the string of three World Cup titles on Weihegold in Omaha in 2017, won in Paris in 2018 and came to Gothenburg to complete the hat trick.

Isabell Werth holding alof the World Cup her straight victory on Weiehegold OLD in the annual championship. © 2019 Pelle Wedenmark/dressage-news.com

Laura Graves on her 17-year-old KWPN gelding set the bar high with score of 87.179%, but three rides later in the Scandinavium stadium jam packed with 11,500 spectators the world’s No. 1 combination moved ahead with a one-handed passage on the final centerline.

Helen Langehanenberg, 36, World Cup winner on Damon Hill in 2013, elevated the drama on Damsey FRH, the last of 18 rides that at one stage was leading but finally settled at 86.571% for third place after a dramatic finish. The horse kept going at the end of the test before C that judge Magnus Ringmark of Sweden admitted he was “really shocked as I thought he was coming into my lap.”

An exhilirated Laura Graves on Verdades after their World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Ten of the 18 rides in the Freestyle were awarded more than 80%–all three Americans, two each from Germany, Netherlands and Sweden plus the one rider from Denmark. Three achieved personal bests: Helen on Damsey; Daniel Bachmann Andersen of Denmark on Blue Hors Zack, America’s Adrienne Lyle on Salvino and Emmelie Scholtens of the Netherlands on Apache.

Isabell, 49 years old has won a total of five World Cups, the first on Fabienne at this same venue in 1992, the second on Warum Nicht in Las Vegas 2007 and the last three on Weihegold.

She admitted she was watching Helen’s ride on Damsey who was doing so well, “we all went like, aaaawww.”

Wei, as she calls the horse, “was really fantastic. She derseves it; it was a nearly perfect ride. Today was her day

“I felt I was safe, a little bit too arrogant, and when the crowd started to clap I made a mistake in the one-tempi changes. I felt like I wanted to clap. The crowd gave me goosebumps.”

Isabell Werth (center), Laura Graves (left) and Helen Langenhanenberg on the World Cup medals podium at Gothenburg, Sweden. © 2019 Pelle Wedenmark/dressage-news.com

Laura, of Geneva, Florida said that the 17-year-old Verdades she has had since a foal was focused from the second they rode into the arena. A mistake in the one-tempi changes maybe cost her a couple of points, she said, but described the crowd and clapping as “amazing.”

She said “Diddy,” as he’s nicknamed, will “just keep going” so has to be smart about taking care of him.

Asked about the possibility of competing in Tokyo when Verdades will be 18, she said: “If there’s a chance of Tokyo we have to be very smart with him.” She will meet with the U.S. federation to discuss future options.

Helen Langehanenberg on Damsey stopping right in front of the C judge’s box at the World Cup Freestyle. © 2019 Digishots

Helen Langehanenberg was on a real high after her ride, the last in the competition, that was scoring highest for Damsey FRH, the 17-year-old Hanoverian stallion that’s owned by Louise Leatherdale of Long Lake Minnesota and Suzanne Meyer, the wife of the breeder.

“I am so proud that I did not get the ride on Damsey until he was 14 years old,” she said, “and I had to find a way for him to trust me and work with me after he had been trained and ridden by someone else.

“Now, it is such an achievement to have done this, for Damsey to have confidence in my riding. To come third in this level of competition, well, it is incredible.”

She said that Damsey was very fit and ready for the World Cup despite a length and highly competitive qualifying season over winter .

“When the crowd started clapping as we were near the end of the test, he said, ‘Oh, they want me to go again.’ So he kept going.”

Daniel Bachmann Andersen on Blue Hors Zack placed fourth on 80

Results:

World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle

Juges-K: Maria Schwennesen-AUS E: Jean-Michel Roudier-FRA H: Henning Lehrmann-GER C: Magnus Ringmark-SWE M: Maria Colliander-FIN B: Thomas Lang-AUT F: Stephen Clarke-GBR
Place Score Nation Athlete Horse K E H C M B F Spectators
1. 88.871 GER Isabell Werth Weihegold OLD – 207 88.725 90.750 88.175 87.000 87.700 90.125 89.625 88.071 (1)
2. 87.179 USA Laura Graves Verdades – 216 88.875 87.900 86.175 85.625 86.375 86.650 88.650 83.863 (3)
3. 86.571 GER Helen Langehanenberg Damsey FRH – 204 84.025 89.650 85.800 86.500 88.275 85.250 86.500 85.856 (2)
4. 85.468 DEN Daniel Bachmann Andersen Blue Hors Zack – 201 83.050 84.550 86.425 85.800 85.275 86.650 86.525 82.615 (5)
5. 84.975 USA Kasey Perry-Glass Goerklintgaards Dublet – 218 82.425 85.125 85.050 86.550 84.450 85.425 85.800 83.518 (4)
6. 82.464 SWE Patrik Kittel Delaunay OLD – 214 82.675 83.625 82.575 79.400 83.475 83.000 82.500 82.367 (6)
7. 81.832 USA Adrienne Lyle Salvino – 217 81.600 79.975 82.000 79.625 82.100 82.950 84.575 79.283 (8)
8. 80.782 NED Emmelie Scholtens Apache – 210 80.375 81.500 81.150 79.600 81.950 80.325 80.575 77.535 (10)
9. 80.718 SWE Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén Don Auriello – 215 80.025 80.600 80.750 81.800 81.050 80.375 80.425 80.320 (7)
10. 80.286 NED Hans Peter Minderhoud Glock’s Dream Boy N.O.P. – 209 83.250 79.575 80.050 80.500 79.975 78.875 79.775 77.691 (9)
11. 79.350 IRL Judy Reynolds Vancouver K – 208 78.950 77.650 81.625 78.075 81.250 76.400 81.500 77.502 (11)
12. 79.118 GER Benjamin Werndl Daily Mirror 9 – 205 79.250 78.200 80.525 76.525 79.750 79.325 80.250 75.480 (13)
13. 76.393 POR Maria Caetano Coroado – 211 75.900 77.000 76.225 75.625 76.550 76.650 76.800 75.504 (12)
14. 74.511 FRA Morgan Barbançon Mestre Sir Donnerhall II OLD – 203 75.000 74.300 74.425 72.425 75.175 74.900 75.350 72.570 (14)
15. 69.325 RUS Regina Isachkina Sun Of May Life – 213 72.850 68.425 67.975 69.700 68.075 71.175 67.075 68.481 (16)
16. 68.868 DOM Yvonne Losos De Muniz Aquamarijn – 202 71.200 66.800 70.900 65.075 68.150 70.025 69.925 67.788 (17)
17. 67.886 BLR Olga Safronova Sandro D Amour – 200 70.825 67.250 68.600 66.825 68.300 65.800 67.600 68.568 (15)
18. 65.164 RSA Tanya Seymour Ramoneur 6 – 212 67.275 68.125 66.400 64.200 64.450 63.500 62.200 66.035 (18)