Clash of Titans at World Cup Dressage Final–Entries for Lyon

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Helen Langehanenberg on Germany's Damon Hill NRW will be defending Her World Cup title against Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. Images ©  Ken Braddck/
Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg on Damon Hill NRW will defend her World Cup title against Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro in their first appearance in the Final of the annual championship. Images © Ken Braddck/

April 8, 2014


The highly anticipated head-to-head showdown between the defending World Cup champion, Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW and the challenger and holder of all the Grand Prix records, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro is schedule to take place at the end of next week in Lyon, France.

The Final at Lyon will be only the fourth show in the four years the two partnerships have squared off with Charlotte and Valegro ahead on results in both placings and scores–the British combination hold all the world records, for the Grand Prix, the Special and the Freestyle.

The two horses and riders go into the only annual championship, the World Cup, ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the globe.

Both partnerships will go into the electric atmosphere of the indoor arena with only a couple of shows on their résumés for the 2013/2014 circuit–Helen and Damon Hill because the rules require little to defend the title and Charlotte and Valegro with one qualifier in 2013 and a second in 2014 because the two victories were enough to earn the points for the pair to make the cut.

Eighteen combinations are scheduled to start in the World Cup Grand Prix and all will move on to the Freestyle that is the event to decide the championship.

Story lines at this World Cup are plentiful.

German great Isabell Werth and the Netherlands’ star Edward Gal have both stood atop the World Cup podium and are back for another shot.

Florida-based Danish combinations Lars Petersen on Mariett and Mikala Gundersen on My Lady dominated the North American League finishing first and second and make up two-thirds of Denmark’s contingent.

The American 2012 Olympic and 2010 World Equestrian Games duo of Tina Konyot and Calecto V are in their first World Cup Final and will be accompanied by Cesar Parra on Van the Man. He was a U.S. Pan American Games team gold medal rider and Olympian for his native Colombia.

Dong Seon Kim will be the first South Korean in the World Cup Final when he rides Bukowski into the arena. Counting the two Americans, the two longtime Florida-based Danes, he will be the fifth rider in the Final that is resident in the United States.

Danielle Heijkoop of the Netherlands on Kingsley Siro and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl on Unee BB represent the swelling ranks of the talented under-30 riders–that is, after Charlotte Dujardin who is still only 28 years old.

But the fans who will pack the arena and the audience around the world watching the riders from 11 nations on Internet streaming video, the highlight will be the clash of the German and the British titans.

“I never talk about my expectations before a major event,” Helen said. “What I can say is I have something in mind and we will give it our best shot. But I cannot force things and we can only be as good as we are! I am really looking forward to the final. Charlotte Dujardin? I have faith in Dami (Damon Hill)! We do not give up.”

For the record, Helen and the 14-year-old stallion began competing at international Grand Prix in November, 2010 and Charlotte and Valegro four months later.

They have crossed paths in the competition arena at only three shows to this point–reminiscent of the great long running rivalry between Isabell Werth and Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands.

At the European Championships in 2011, Charlotte and Valegro, a KWPN gelding now 12 years old, were fourth in the Grand Prix, sixth in the Special and ninth in the Freestyle, the only time that Helen and Damon Hill placed ahead. The German couple were eighth in the Freestyle, one spot ahead, but finished 14th in the Grand Prix and eighth in the Special.

Since then, Charlotte and Valegro have placed first–double gold at the Olympics in London in 2012 then first in all three Grand Prix contests at the 2013 Europeans in Herning, Denmark. Helen and Damon Hill were third in the Grand Prix and fourth in the Special and the Freestyle at London and the runnerup to the British combination in all three tests at the 2013 Europeans.

This year’s World Cup Final will be followed in four months when, all going well, they will meet again in Normandy, France, at the World Equestrian Games which will be a first for both.

As a chanmpionship, the ground jury of seven members and three for Judges Suprvisory Panel are:

Ground Jury–President, Jean-Michel Roudier of France; Members, Eddy de Wolff van Westerrode, Netherlands; Gary Rockwell, United States; Thomas Lang, Austria; Evi Eisenhard, Germany; Leif Toernblad, Denmark; Jacques van Daele, Belgium and Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños, Mexico (reserve).
Judges Supervisory Panel-Eric LETTE, Sweden; Mary Seefried, Australia and Henk van Bergen, Netherlands.

Entries, as of April 8, for the 2014 Reem Acra FEI World Cup dressage at Lyon, France April 17-21:

AUS Australia  Horse – Age/Sex/Breed
HANNA, Mary Sancette – 13/G/Hanoverian.
DEN Denmark
GUNDERSEN, Mikala Münter My Lady – 14/M/Danish WB
MERRALD, Nanna Skodborg Millibar – 13/G/Danish WB
PETERSEN, Lars Mariett – 16/M/Danish WB
FRA France
BOBLET, Marc Noble Dream Concept Sol – 12/M/Oldenburg
GBR Great Britain
DU JARDIN, Charlotte Valegro – 12/G/KWPN
GER Germany
BREDOW- WERNDL, Jessica von Unee BB – 13/S/KWPN
LANGEHANENBERG, Helen Damon Hill NRW – 14/S/Westfalen
WERTH, Isabell
Don Johnson FRH – 13/G/Hananoverian El Santo NRW – 13/G/Rhineberger
KOR Republic of Korea
KIM, Dong-Seon Bukowski – 15/G/Swedish WB
NED Netherlands
GAL, Edward Glock’s Undercover – 13/G/KWPN
HEIJKOOP, Danielle Kingsley Siro -15/G/KWPN
MINDERHOUD, Hans Peter Johnson – 12/S/KWPN
RUS Russian Federation
MERKULOVA, Inessa Mister X – 10/G/Trakehner
SUI Switzerland
KRINKE SUSMELJ, Marcela Smeyers Lazander – 13/G/Danish WB
SWE Sweden
VILHELMSSON SILFVÉN, Tinne Don Auriello – 12/G/Hanoverian
USA United States of America
KONYOT, Tina Calecto V – 16/S/Danish WB
PARRA, Cesar
Van the Man – 12/G/KWPN