Breakup of Helen & Damon Hill May Stall Germany’s New Found Dominance
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Nov. 10, 2014
By KENNETH J, BRADDICK
The breakup of Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW, confirmed Monday, along with the continued absence from the competition arena of Totilas ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath as Germany’s top two combinations could stall the country’s return to dominance of the sport.
Helen and the 14-year-old stallion have been the world’s No. 2 combination without break since July, 2013, and collecting along the way 2012 Olympic team silver, 2014 World Games team gold and two individual silvers, a World Cup title from 2013 as well as 2013 European Championship gold and silver.
Reports that the horse could be leased for either competition or breeding could not be confirmed.
Ingrid Klimke rode Damon Hill to the World Six Year Old Championship in 2006 and trained the horse to Grand Prix, competing in one show in 2009. Helen took over the ride in 2010.
Totilas, sidelined by injuries from the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Games, is No. 4 in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) world rankings at the end of October, and there is no word on when Matthias will be able to ride the black stallion, also 14 years old, will return to the show ring. Matthias has indicated he wants to take Totilas to the World Cup Final in Las Vegas but is not yet entered in any Western European League qualifiers.
The changes at the top of the standings is dramatic–the prospective German team that inclueded Totilas for the WEG would have meant four pairs that all had scored 80 per cent at Grand Prix.
The focus now is on the European Championships in Aachen, Germany in August as a qualifier for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain on Valegro remains atop the world rankings while Edward Gal of the Netherlands and Glock’s Undercover stay in third place as of the end of last month.
Isabell Werth, Germany’s most successful equestrian in history, is ranked No. 6 in the world on Bella Rose behind the veteran Dutch combination of Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival in fifth place.
Bella Rose, still only 10 years old and the top placed German combination in second in the Grand Prix at last summer’s World Games, is being developed carefully by Isabell–no World Cup qualifiers with the electric atmosphere of indoor shows until the mare is more mature .
Desperados FRH, also a black stallion, ridden by Kristina Sprehe in the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Games as well as European Championships, is the only other German combination ranked in the top 10, at No. 7 and will be 15 years old in 2015, not old by high performance dressage standards.
Both Isabell and Bella Rose and Kristina and Desperados are members of the exclusive 80 per cent at Grand Prix club.
The reshuffled lineup for Germany could be sorted out by the Europeans in Aachen–depending on whether Totilas returns to competition and remains sound.
Isabell fills the 12th and 13th places in the FEI world rankings on Don Johnson FRH and El Santo NRW, respectively, though neither is the quality of Bella Rose.
Jessica von Bredow=Werndl on Unee BB, a reserve for the German team for the WEG, is ranked No. 15 while Fabienne Lütkemeier on D’Agostino, who was the first reserve and made it to the team when Totilas was withdrawn, is No. 18. Ulla Salzgeber on Herzruf’s Erbe is in the 16th slot, but the horse has a record of injuries.