Mariakalnok World Cup to be First CDI Since Coronavirus Lockdown 3 1/2 Months Ago, Draws Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, World Pony No. 1 Rose Oatley

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Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Zaire-E competing last year. © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

June 21, 2020

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, the top west European qualifier for the coronavirus-canceled Las Vegas World Cup Final, and pony world No. 1 rider Rose Oatley are scheduled to compete at this week’s Mariakalnok event in Hungary, the first international dressage competition since the global lockdown in mid-March.

Jessica will ride Zaire, at Mariakalnok, a village 56 miles/90 km southeast of Vienna, that launches the first of a revised lineup of 11 qualifiers in Central Europe for the 2021 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. Organizers report the event will be open to spectators but face masks and social distancing will be required.

Jessica was to compete at the wrapup Western Europe World Cup event in s’Hertogenbosch, Netherlands in March that was canceled at the last-minute while on the other side of the Atlantic, the Wellington, Florida Nations Cup was the last international dressage event to be completed before Covid-19 cleared the calendar for more than three months.

She plans to take TSF Dalera BB to next month’s CDI3* in Hagen, Germany, a newly created event after its premier Horses & Dreams became an early casualty of the shutdown. Jessica and Dalera are ranked No. 4 in the world and were on Germany’s 2019 European Championship gold medal team as well as earning individual bronze.

Rose Oatley, the 13-year-old daughter of four-time Australian Olympian Kristy Oatley, will compete Daddy Moon on which she is ranked world No. 1, in preparation for the European Pony Championships in Budapest at the end of August. Rose rides under the German flag. Kristy is entered on Du Soleil, the 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding she competed at the 2016 Olympics, the 2017 World Cup Final in Omaha and the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

Ulla Salzgeber, former world No. 1 on Rusty–that she rode to multiple Olympic, world championship and World Cup medals–is also returning to competition for the first time in more than three years (see separate story).

Mariakalnok has drawn entries from almost 140 riders from 18 nations and more than 170 horses.

Among them is Helen Langehanenberg on the American-owned Damsey, a partnership that was on Germany’s European Championship gold medal team in 2017 and placed third at the 2019 World Cup Final, Ireland’s Anna Merveldt on her Olympic hopeful Esporim and Simone Pearce of Australia on Destano, a Desperados offspring.

Competition begins Thursday.

The lockdown wiped 120 dressage competitions off the 2020 calendar, some of which have since been re-scheduled, as well as forcing cancellation of the World Cup Final in Las Vegas and postponement of the Olympics for a year to the summer of 2021.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) also canceled the 2021 European Championships of dressage, jumping, eventing and para-dressage citing a conflict with the Olympics. The move has sparked widespread criticism including from the European Equestrian Federation that is looking at ways to restore at least the jumping championships.