World Cup Horses & Riders See Competition Arena for 1st Time–Big Thumbs Up

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USA’s Laura Graves on Verdades working in the World Cup competition arena for the first time. Coach Debbie McDonald and Elizabeth Juliano In the background. © 2017 Ken Braddick/


OMAHA, Nebraska, Mar. 28, 2017–The 17 horses and riders in Omaha for the World Cup Final were able to work in the competition arena for the first time Tuesday and came away with high praise.

Isabell Werth, a two-time winner of the World Cup, riding her Olympic team gold mount Weihegold OLD; No. 4 Laura Graves of Geneva, Florida and Verdades, Carl Hester and Nip Tuck, Olympic team silver and No. 5 in the world, are among the 17 combinations from 11 countries in the 32nd staging of the annual championship.

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, No. 1 in the world and Olympic team gold. The German superstar has won the World Cup twice. 2017 Ken Braddick/

Laura said of the 15-year-old KWPN gelding that she competed at the 2015 World Cup Final in Las Vegas and after working in the arena, “I think he seems really comfortable in there. The whole venue is so friendly.

“It is fun to think of how much he has grown up since the Vegas World Cup.”

The first dressage competition will be the Grand Prix on Thursday with the Grand Prix Freestyle set for Saturday to decide the champion and decide how the total prize money of €250,000 (US$270,000) is split up.

Madeleine Winter Schultze, an owner of Weihegold, had high praise for the venue and the main hotel directly across the street “it is perfect.”

Carl Hester on Nip Tuck, his Olympic team silver medal mount, chatting with Tim Dutta as he leaves the arena. © 2017 Ken Braddick/

Carl Hester a veteran Olympics and championships as well as trainer of many horses, including Valegro, said of Nip Tuck that is known for being spooky, “My horse being a pretty good judge of what’s he’s notorious for I got a very nice surprise when I rode in. He looked left and right then has probably been one of the mot relaxed at a show on the first day he’s ever been. It does have a feeling of Olympia (in London) around it when you come in with the closeness and proximity. There seems to be a fairly calm feeling around the arena.”

Edward Gal riding Glock’s Voice. Edward won the title on Totilas in 2010. © 2017 Ken Braddick/

Edward Gal summed it up, “very good.”

Steffen Peters, winner of the World Cup in 2009, on Rosamunde. © 2017 Ken Braddick/

Steffen Peters of San Diego, California on Rosamunde: “I love it. We heard so many wonderful reports about it but I think it turned out even better than expected. On top of that it’s in the United States.”

Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet, the horse she rode on the United States Olympic bronze medal team competing in her first World Cup Final. © 2017 Ken Braddick/

Kasey Perry-Glass of Wellington, Florida on Dublet: “I loved it.”

Judy Reynolds wh rode Vancouver K for Ireland at the 2016 Olympics. © 2017 Ken Braddick/
Kristy Oatley on Du Soleil who qualified for the Final in the Western European League. Kristy, based in Germany, competed the horse for Australia at the 2016 Olympics. © 2017 Ken Braddick/

Kristy Oatley, “Once we got in the ring I didn’t even think about it.”

Inessa Merkulova on the big gaited Mister that made the Russian Olympic pair popular at the 2015 World Cup Final. © 2017 Ken Braddick/

Russia’s Inessa Merkulova riding Mister X, “Beautiful.”

The Netherlands’ Madeleine Witte-Vrees on Cennin. © 2017 Ken Braddick/
Xama dos Pinhais, ridden by the 21-year-old João Victor Oliva in the Olympics in his homeland of Brazil in 2016, competing in their first World Cup Final. © 2017 Ken Braddick/
Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke-Susmelj and Smeyers Molberg, a partnership at the 2016 Olympics, 2014 World Games and multiple World Cup Finals and European Championships. © 2017 Ken Braddick/
Mai Tofte Olesen of Denmark on Rustique. © 2017 Ken Braddick/
This is what they’re competing for, the World Cup, plus as big a slice as possible of the €250,000 (US$270,000) in prize money. © 2017 Ken Braddick/