Isabell Werth Starts New Year as No. 1 With Weihegold & No. 8 on Emilio

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Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD. © 2016 Ken Braddick/
Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD. © 2016 Ken Braddick/

Jan. 1, 2017


Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD start 2017 as No. 1 in the world after a year in which the German rider brought her Olympic medal tally to 10, the most of any equestrian in more than a century of horse sports at the Games.

The 47-year-old athlete also became the first No. 1 rider since July 2009 to have competed a second horse to rank in the top 10 which she did with Emilio at No. 8 up from 11th the previous month on the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rankings as of the end of December and released Sunday. In 2009, Isabell was No. 1 on Satchmo, her Olympic team gold medal mount in 2008, and No. 5 on Warum Nicht.

Rio team mates Kristina Bröring-Sprehe with Desperados FRH remained at No.2 and Dorothee Schneider with Showtime FRH in the third slot.

Laura Graves of the United States on her Verdades was at No. 4 and the highest ranked American based on their performances throughout 2016, including fourth place in the Olympic Freestyle.

Great Britain’s Carl Hester on Nip Tuck held on to sixth after their double victory at the London Olympia World Cup event in London in December.

Olympic and championship team mates Charlotte Dujardin who retired Valegro from competition at the same Christmas show was at No. 40.

Russia’s Inessa Merkulova on Mister X remained in the sixth position.

Spain’s Severo Jurado Lopez on Lorenzo moved up to the No. 7 to swap places with America’s Steffen Peters on Legolas who dropped back to ninth with Swedish Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén on Don Auriello rounding out the top 10.

In addition to Weihegold and Emilio, Isabell has two other horses on the Grand Prix world rankings–Don Johnson FRH at No. 301 and El Sannto NRW at No. 511.

Isabell and the black Oldenburg mare who officially became 12 years old Sunday as all competition horses in the Northern Hemisphere have their birthdays on Jan. 1 each year, moved into the No. 1 slot as of the end of October for the first time since being on top of the standings with Satchmo in 2009.

The pair were victorious in 11 of 16 starts in 2016, including Olympic team gold and individual silver at Rio de Janeiro–placing second behind Charlotte and Valegro.

The first ever 90 per cent result for the pair in the World Cup Freestyle event in Lyon, France at the end of October locked in the top spot, replacing Kristina and Desperados who had been No. 1 since the beginning of 2016. Charlotte on Valegro and Edward Gal on Totilas are the only other two combinations to break the 90 per cent mark in the freestyle.

Isabell, the mother of a seven-year-old son, took over the ride on Weihegold at the end of January after the horse was successful at small tour and developing Grand Prix when ridden by Beatrice Buchwald, an assistant trainer to Isabell at the time.

The partnership between Isabell and Weihegold was not even ranked at the beginning of this year and their first place in the standings was at 480 at the end of January after first and sixth placings in a World Cup event in Amsterdam.

Diana Porsche of Austria on Di Sandro was the Under-25 No. 1 as the pair head to Florida for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival over the next three months.

The Netherlands’ Jeanine Nieuwenhuits on TC Athene was at the top of the Young Rider rankings.

Semmieke Rothenberger of Germany on Dissertation was No. 1 Junior.

Complete rankings: