Britain’s Isobel Wessels to Compete Chagall at National Level for 2013 & to Keep Judging as FEI 5*

6 years ago admin Comments Off on Britain’s Isobel Wessels to Compete Chagall at National Level for 2013 & to Keep Judging as FEI 5*
Isobel Wessels and Chagall at CDI3* Hartpury, England, in 2012.

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Isobel Wessels has decided to compete Chagall, Great Britain’s Intermediate champion, at national levels in 2013 as she develops the horse to Grand Prix while continuing to judge at International Equestrian Federation 5*, the highest level.

The plans for Isobel and the German-bred horse that she owns with Brigit Powell have been the source of speculation as Isobel would have had to give up her international judging duties if she decided to compete the nine-year-old gelding (Contendro x Galatea) at Grand Prix internationally.

Chagall is a striking 17.1hh (1.73m) gelding that displays piaffe and passage at a level to make the horse a prime prospect for a British team at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Of the three combinations that won Great Britain gold, their first ever Olympic dressage medal, at the London Olympis this summer Mistral Hojris is retired while Valegro and Uthopia are both for sale and may not be availabe for future Briish teams.

Isobel, who will be 62 years old on Jan. 1, is one of three FEI 5* judges from Great Britain–Stephen Clarke, president of the ground jury at the London Olympics, and Andrew Gardner, are the others—is both popular and respected around the world for a keen eye and fair scoring as a member of international ground juries and admired as a competitor at the elite level. She is also in demand as a clinician.

“Chagall is the most amazing horse and I have very high hopes for his future but I know that the next step to big tour is a huge one and he needs time to strengthen and develop,” she told dressage-news.com. “Also, riding at the highest level is very demanding and at this stage I can only hope that I am good enough.

“My passion for the training and riding has always had the top slot but in recent years my judging has given me a huge amount of satisfaction and I am really enjoying that journey, too.

“Next year I will still be in the International Judge’s seat and plan to stick to national shows with Chagall.

“Let’s see what happens–with horses it’s better not to speculate but you can be certain I shall enjoy bringing him on and hopefully proving that judges can also ride!!”

Isobel worked with Carl Hester, a part-owner of both Uthopia and Valegro that he and Charlotte Dujardin, respsectively, were members of the British team of three combinaions that won Great Britain’s first ever Olympic dressage medal.

She lauds the training environment

“I couldn’t do it without them and they’re the happiest team to work with,” she said of Carl’s training center, Oakelbrook Mill, in Gloucestershire. “Also, I have to thank my husband Justin who supports me and trails around helping!”

And she laughed at her age when winning the British title: “Not bad for any old lady!”