The Year in Photos

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Thumbs up from Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro after another victory at the European Championships in Aachen, Germany, © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Thumbs up from Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro after another victory at the European Championships in Aachen, Germany, © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The year was another triumph for Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro–two gold medals at the European Championships, repeat winner of the World Cup, nine victories in nine starts in 2015 (14 consecutive wins going back to mid-2014). Four years as the best of the best.

Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Desperados FRH performing their best ever Grand Prix Freestyle to win the European Championship individual silver medal. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Desperados FRH performing their best ever Grand Prix Freestyle to win the European Championship individual silver medal. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Performances by Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Desperados at the Europeans were poetry and although placed second the championships capped a year in which the pair posted nine victories and consolidated the top ranking in Germany and No. 2 in the world.

Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado, European Championships individual bronze medalists . © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado, European Championships individual bronze medalists . © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

At the European Championships the Spanish partnership of Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado rose to stardom after years of health issues kept the horse out of competition for most of his Big Tour career.

A tearful Morgan Barbançon Mestre of Spain riding Painted Black out of Aachen's Main Stadium at the European Championships, the last competition for the 18-year-old stallion. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
A tearful Morgan Barbançon Mestre of Spain riding Painted Black out of Aachen’s Main Stadium at the European Championships, the last competition for the 18-year-old stallion. The pair helped Spain win a team berth at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year in a second career after originally being competed by Dutch superstar Anky van Grunsven. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The jubilation of Matthias Alexander Rath on Totilas was short lived at the European Championships, which became the last competition for the black stallion. Totilas changed the face of dressage with charisma and eye-popping gaits that won millions of fans around the world.. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The jubilation of Matthias Alexander Rath on Totilas was short lived at the European Championships, which became the last competition for the black stallion. Ridden by Edward Gal, Totilas changed the face of dressage with charisma and eye-popping gaits that won millions of fans around the world. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen on Mariett after winning the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle. The partnership is ranked 30th in the world and with the retirement of Painted Black becomes the oldest horse in the top 50 on the international standings at the age of 17. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen on Mariett after winning the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle. The partnership is ranked 30th in the world and with the retirement of Painted Black becomes the oldest horse in the top 50 on the international standings at the age of 17. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The United States again has two combinations that give the country hope of being back on the Olympic medals podium–the decade-long American champion rider Steffen Peters with the exciting young mare Rosamunde and the veteran Legolas and the newly crowned title winner Laura Graves and Verdades.

Laura Graves on Verdades enjoying success at the Pan American Games where she was on the United States team that won gold and earned a start at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves on Verdades enjoying success at the Pan American Games where she was on the United States team that won gold and earned a start at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters on Rosamunde. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters on Rosamunde, eight years old and competing at Grand Prix on both sides of the Atlantic for a record of nine wins and three second places in 12 starts in CDIs in 2015 . © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Continuing to amaze as both trainers and riders were Isabell Werth and Carl Hester.

Isabell won her first championship gold medals–team and individual–a quarter century ago and in 2015 competed four different horses at Grand Prix with a fifth, Bella Rose, expected to return to competition early in 2016. She logged eight victories on Don Johnson FRH, four in four starts at Grand Prix on Emilio and one on El Santo NRW in 2015. Beatrice Buchwald, her assistant, logged four CDI wins in six starts on Weihegold OLD and was in the medals on the six-year-old DSP Belantis at the World Young Horse Championships.

Isabell Werth on Don Johnson FRH after another victory in 2015. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth on Don Johnson FRH after another victory in 2015. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

A mixture of humor and experience over more than a quarter century–most of it in Great Britain’s lean years–has made Carl Hester a much admired face of dressage. His knowledge and talent have produced a succession of elite mounts for himself and Charlotte Dujardin to help keep Great Britain on championship medals podiums for the past six years. Some of the horses: Escapado, Liebling II, Valegro, Uthopia, Dances With Wolves, Nip Tuck and others as well as coach of other team combinations.

Carl Hester on Nip Tuck in their second championship producing a result that helped Great Britain to the European Championship team silver medal. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Carl Hester on Nip Tuck in their second championship producing a result that helped Great Britain to the European Championship team silver medal. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com