Bella Rose Shines Bright for Isabell Werth–45 Years Old Today–July 21, 2014
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
AACHEN, Germany, July 21, 2014–In five years in which Isabell Werth was suspended from competition, fought what looked like persecution by her own federation, saw a juggernaut from the Netherlands and then Great Britain claim the crown that for so long had been Germany’s, she quietly developed a mare that has catapaulted her back to the pinnacle of dressage.
Bella Rose is just 10 years old, but 18 months ago Isabell was already describing her as the best horse she’s ever ridden–and that’s saying a lot for Germany’s most decorated rider.
This correspondent watched Isabell working Bella Rose in the warmup arena at Munich in 2010 alongside Edward Gal and Totilas that were approaching the peak of their ability to capture the imagination and adoration of horse lovers around the world. Bella Rose was aged six and displaying talent that grabbed attention even with Totilas there.
The Westfalen chestnut seemed to grow from a gangly youngster to a grownup powerhouse in just four days of the World Equestrian Festival CHIO, the world’s premier horse show that ended Sunday at Aachen, Germany.
The partnership came to fruition against simply the best–world No. 1 Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, No. 2 Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW, Matthias Alexander Rath and a freshly polished Totilas, Adelinde Cornelissen, Jerich Parzival showing his age and a host of others seeking glory. Only Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover, third best, were absent.
In 2013, their first year at Grand Prix, the pair went to three events in Germany, and this followed the same path, first Munich in May then Perl in June but added Aachen, where the knowledegable from across the globe gather each year to watch the best.
Just a couple of weeks ealier the chestnut mare helped Isabell make history by notching the rider’s first ever 80 per cent CDI Grand Prix score, only the 12th rider ever to do so.
The Deutsche Bank stadium that is the equivalent for dressage as Centre Court is to Wimbeldon had been newly expanded to a 6,300-seat Colosseum with one end that had been open replaced with a soaring grand stand. The noise level rose accordingly. Horses and riders who might have been intimidated in the past were faced with a bigger challenge.
Isabell will now be working on strength and fitness for the big competitions that frequently include all three levels: the Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle at events such as this year’s World Equestrian Games, next year’s European Championships at Aachen of all places that will stage dressage in the main 40,000-seat stadium as they did at the 2006 WEG and then the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where Bella Rose will be just 12 years old
Isabell, by the way, is aged 45 years old July 21, 2014, and is the mother a young boy.