Cathrine Dufour & Cassidy Back to Top 5 in World–Retirement for Cassidy, Not Yet

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Cathrine Dufour celebrating her Saab Top 10 Freestyle victory with Isabell Werth and Patrik Kittel. © 2019 Roland Thunholm

Dec. 2, 2019

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Victory in the Saab Top 10 has boosted Cathrine Dufour and Cassidy back to No. 5 in the world rankings from 131st just nine months ago.

Isabell Werth remains at No. 1 on Bella Rose as she has for the past five months, and No. 2 on Weihegold OLD, her Olympic German team gold medal and three-time World Cup champion that she competed in the Top 10 in Stockholm to capture the Grand Prix and place second in the freestyle.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) standings for the end of November, also show German team mates Dorothee Schneider on Showtime in third and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl on TSF Dalera fourth. Dorothee’s win on Sammy Davis Jr. in the World Cup in Madrid the same time as the Stockholm Top 10 moved the pair to 11th from 17th the previous month.

Laura Graves on Verdades slipped a place to sixth. Laura and Verdades, a year older than Cassidy, have not competed since the World Cup Final in April as she looks to the Olympics in Tokyo in July as the capstone to one of the most successful careers in American dressage.

Helen Langehanberg on Damsey FRH stands seventh, Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen on Bue Hors Zack at No. 8 as the pair were in October, with Isabell Werth on Emilio in ninth and the USA’s Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet rounding out the top 10.

Patrik Kittel of Sweden, the driving force behind the creation of the Top 10 that has become successful after three years that Saab has extended sponsorship until 2024, jumped to 13th in the world from 21st at the end of October on Well Done de la Roche, his mount in Stockholm. Teammate Therese Niulshagen on Dante Weltino OLD was right behind, up five spots in the past month.

Cathrine Dufour, who earned about US$78,000 for winning the CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle and placing second in the Grand Prix on Cassidy, acknowledged the scuttlebutt about the competition future for the Danish Warmblood gelding who will be 17 years old next month.

“This is of course huge for me,” said the rider who will be 28 years old a day after the official birthday of horses in the Northern Hemisphere, “and I’m so happy with my little chestnut pony. He’s 17 and people ask me if I will retire him, but he loves to compete and I think he really showed that today–nope, this is not the day.”

Cathrine and Cassidy have been partnered since both were youngsters. Their first international event was in junior rider events, taking European Championship team bronze and freestyle silver in 2010, moving up to team silver and freestyle silver a year later at the European Young Riders. In 2012 and 2013, the duo were dominant, topping the placings in all three competitions at each of the European Young Riders Championships.

The Olymics in 2016 were a highlight, but the European Championships in 2017 with third places in the Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle behind Isabell on Weihegold and Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo made them stars.

Cathrine and Cassidy vaulted to No. 3 in the world early 2018. A year later, they dropped to 131st.

After a break from competition for eight months to focus on Bohemian, her other Grand Prix mount, Cassidy was back in the arena in March this year and in 11 starts so far in 2019 have won six times. At the Europeans in Rotterdam in August, the pair took bronze in the Grand Prix Special after helping her team claim a start for Denmark at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.