Isabell Werth Rates Germany’s World Games Team Strongest Ever, Names Holland, Britain Biggest Rivals

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Isabell Werth riding Bella Rose at Aachen, Germany last month. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth riding Bella Rose at Aachen, Germany last month. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Aug. 19, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Isabell Werth is heading into her fifth World Equestrian Games on a German team that Tuesday she rated the strongest ever and could provide her with a record four Nations Cup gold medals.

The teams from the Netherlands and Great Britain were the biggest threat in Isabell’s estimation.

“I think this is the strongest team ever,” said Isabell who was speaking to a small group of reporters as a Rolex Testimonee less than a week before the start of the world championship dressage in Normandy where Rolex is a partner.

“We’ver never had four horses like this,” referring to Totilas ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath, Damon Hill NRW ridden by Helen Langehanenberg, Desperados ridden by Kristina Sprehe and herself on Bella Rose, a 10-year-old mare.

“Really everything is possible. There are so many great combinations. Totilas is back. The German team is as strong as ever this year–I can’t remember it as strong as this year. It makes us focused with a lot of confidence to be honest.”

She pointed out that all four German combinations have posted scores of 80 per cent in the Grand Prix that determines the Nations Cup.

Since the World Games were launched in 1990 as the championships to be held once every four years of horse sports governed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), Germany has won team gold in five of the six events. The Netherlands claimed the top spot at Kentucky in 2010, Great Britain won silver and Germany bronze.

Isabell has won three team gold medals, the same number as compatriot Nadine Capellmann but Isabell would stand alone with four golds if Germany wins in Normandy. She also has three individual WEG gold medals.

Germany's 2006 World Games gold medal team of (left to right) Nadine Capellmann, Heike Kemmer, Isabell Werth and Hubertus Schmidt. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Germany’s 2006 World Games gold medal team of (left to right) Nadine Capellmann, Heike Kemmer, Isabell Werth and Hubertus Schmidt. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

This year is Isabell’s fifth WEG that matches the five in which Anky van Grunsven competed. Anna Merveldt of Ireland will also be riding in her fifth World Games.

For individual medals–to be awarded for both the Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix Freestyle–she named Britain’s double Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro, the holder of all three world records, as well as Edward Gal on Glock’s Undercover and possibly some others that could challenge German pairs.

“Everybody is expecting a very, very close battle,” said Isabell, who turned 45 years old a month ago and is the mother of a young boy.

“The performance on the day will decide, a little mistake could decide it. We may have some surprises with other combinations.

“We should have a very, very strong and exciting competition.”

Bella Rose was discovered at the breeder’s farm when the mare was just three years old in what Isabell described as a “really lucky moment,” only two weeks under saddle.

She started to build Bella Rose toward top sport, and competed in their first CDI Grand Prix 15 months ago with just three shows for all of 2013 and another three shows so far this year.

Isabell posted her first ever 80 per cent Grand Prix score on the Westfalen chestnut (Belissimo M x Cacir AA) two months ago.

“We really couldn’t expect she would come so quick to this top level,” Isabell said. But with some outstanding results at the end of 2013, “we were dreaming to bring her to the world championships. We decided to stay cool and not to ride her too much.”

At the World Equestrian Festival CDIO5* in Aachen, Germany a month ago–the third show for the mare in 2014–“she was brilliant. Day by day more and more cool and concentrated and focused on what she had to do.”

Bella Rose is, in Isabell’s view, “a horse with a great future. I have to keep my fingers crossed she stays healthy.

“With this talent and poential everything is possble for the future.”