Greatest (Dressage) Show On Earth Starts Wednesday–Most of World’s Top Riders to Compete
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
AACHEN, Germany, July 15, 2014–The greatest dressage show on Earth starts Wednesday to kick off five days of most of the world’s top riders competing for national pride, individual glory and €300,000 (US$400,000) in prize money.
Six of the seven currently active combinations that have posted 80 per cent in a Grand Prix–four of them on the German team in the Nations Cup as well as world No. 1 Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain on Valegro as well as Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands on Jerich Parzival are taking part in the World Equestrian Festival CHIO.
The CHIO, meaning Nations Cups in at least two disciplines is an annual event that draws the top competitors in dressage, driving, eventing, jumping and vaulting–a virtual global championship focused on merit.
The stakes are high as most of the dressage powers–Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States–are awaiting the results from Aachen before making the final team choices for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France at the end of August.
The CDI4* Grand Prix and Prix St. Georges are scheduled for Wednesday with the centerpiece CDIO5* Nations Cup set for Thursday.
The German squad of Helen Langehanenberg on Damon Hill NRW, Matthias Alexander Rath on Totilas, Isabell Werth on Bella Rose and Kristina Sprehe on Desperados FRH have all attained 80 per cent or better at Grand Prix and if they all do it again it would be a first in the history of the sport.
The United States has an all-female team, three of them under 30 years of age–Laura Graves of Geneva, Florida on Verdades, Caroline Roffman of Wellington, Florida on Her Highness O and Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, Idaho on Wizard as well as the 2010 WEG and 2012 Olympic combination of Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida and Caecto V.
The makeup of the team was formed after Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, the United States Grand Prix champion on Legolas, was hospitalized with pneumonia and pleurisy.
Indications were that he should be back in the saddle over the weekend and at full strength well before the Normandy would championship. Robert Dover, the U.S. dressage team leader, has been riding Legolas to keep the horse in peak condition.
Anna Kasprzak, the top Danish rider, is back with Donnperignon after an injury last month and is joined by the Florida-based Lars Petersen on Mariett and Mikala Münter Gundersen on My Lady as well as Lone Bang Larsen on Fitou L.