Isabell Werth & Weihegold Win Aachen CDIO5* Freestyle, Sönke Rothenberger & Cosmo 2nd, Laura Graves & Verdades 3rd

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Isabell Werth on Weihegold at the end of their CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle ride. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

AACHEN, Germany, Julty 23, 2017–Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, Omaha World Cup champions, won the CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle Sunday with Olympic team gold medal team mate Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo runner-up while the USA’s Laura Graves and Verdades were third.

The two German combinations received standing ovations from the spectators that packed the 6,500-seat Deutsche Bank stadium for the individual title at the world’s premier horse show and after Germany had earlier won the Nations Cup.

Isabell and Weihegold scored 89.675 per cent for the victory, their fourth straight freestyle win since placing second to Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro at the Olympics last summer.

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD totally focused on the CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The score of 85.750 per cent for Sönke Rothenberger, 22 years old, and the 10-year-old Cosmo was a career high.

The freestyle was highly anticipated following the victory in Saturday’s Grand Prix Special by Laura and her 15-year-old KWPN gelding on which she is ranked No. 4 in the world and won team bronze at last year’s Olympics.

But as Isabell explained after the ride in which the pair were awarded 13 marks of the maximum of 10. “I’m really, really, really happy. It was a nearly perfect test.”

Sönke told dressage-news.com he plans to work on greater harmony, especially in the transitions, between now and the air’s next competition, the European Championships next month.

“With Cosmo’s three gaits of the walk, the trot and the canter there is no other horse on the planet that has a package like Cosmo,” he said.

Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo completing the CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Laura, who celebrated her 30th birthday with the Grand Prix Special victory, told dressage-news.com: “Obviously, finishing third is not where I wanted to be.”

However, with three mistakes–including missing the one-tempi changes that gave her some marks of four–she was “actually quite pleased” to finish with as high a score as the duo did.

The result, she said, “gives me motivation” to work more on the freestyle than might have been the case if there had been no mistakes.

Plus, the riders were not required to submit in advance the floor plan specifying movements with degrees of difficulty–a format used in the World Cup qualifiers and the Omaha final.

Laura Graves on Verdades received a mark of 10 for this daring one-handed left pirouette in the CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle at Aachen’s World Equestrian Festival. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

(A photo gallery will be posted of some of the top combinations in the CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle)

Results:

CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle

Judges–E: Annette Fransén-Iacobaeus H: Susan Hoevenaars C: Evi Eisenhardt M: Francis Verbeek-van Rooy B: Anne Gribbons

RANK NR. RIDER

EUR %
HORSE

1 387
Isabell Werth
GER
43000 89.675
Weihegold OLD

2 321
Sönke Rothenberger
GER
26000 85.750
Cosmo 59

3 385
Laura Graves
USA
20000 82.550
Verdades

4 307
Cathrine Dufour
DEN
13000 81.625
Atterupgaards Cassidy

5 326
Therese Nilshagen
SWE
7000 79.975
Dante Weltino OLD

6 330
Patrik Kittel
SWE
5000 77.650
Delaunay

7 384
Judy Reynolds
IRL
3500 76.525
Vancouver K

8 301
Claudio Castilla Ruiz
ESP
2500 75.800
Alcaide

9 353
Kasey Perry-Glass
USA
1000 75.500
Goerklintgaards Dublet

10 390
Patrick van der Meer
NED
1000 75.300
Zippo

11 374
Dorothee Schneider
GER
1000 75.075
Sammy Davis Jr.

12 361
Olivia Lagoy-Weltz
USA
1000 74.425
Lonoir

13 378
Marcela Krinke Susmelj
SUI
1000 73.200
Smeyers Molberg

14 359
Agnete Kirk Thinggaard
DEN
1000 72.775
Jojo AZ

15 372
Hayley Watson-Greaves
GBR
1000 72.700
Rubins Nite

16 311
Malin Nilsson
SWE
1000 72.450
Bon-Ami

17 360
Emile Faurie
GBR
1000 71.025
Lollipop 126

18 329
Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez
ESP
1000 70.100
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