World Cup Western European Circuit to Qualify for Las Vegas Final Starts This Week

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Isabell Werth celebrating victory on Weihegold OLD at the World Cup Final at Gothenberg, Sweden, the third straight championship title. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Oct. 13, 2019

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Highly competitive Western Europe begins its World Cup qualification circuit this week in Herning, Denmark with 11 events over the next five months seeking to join horses and riders from the rest of the world at the championship Final in Las Vegas next April 15-19.

At least half of the 18 combinations in the annual championship centered on the Grand Prix Freestyle will be from Western Europe–nine starting places are set aside for the area plus the title defender that is Isabell Werth of Germany who has held aloft the World Cup the last three years.

Las Vegas was one of Isabell’s five World Cup Final victories, on Warum Nicht in 2007.

Nineteen combinations are entered for Herning, including riders from Australia and Dominican Republic and two from South Africa.

Helen Langehanenberg, the 2013 World Cup champion, and who was third on Damsey FRH in the Final at Gothenberg, Sweden last April, behind Isabell on Weihegold OLD and America’s Laura Graves on Verdades, is entered in Denmark on the American-owned stallion.

Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands, the 2016 World Cup champion, will ride Glock’s Zanardi.

Also lining up for Herning are Daniel Bachmann Andersen on Blue Hors Zack, fourth in the 2019 Final, as well as Danish team mates Cathrine Dufour on Bohemian and Agnete Thinggaard on Jojo AZ that is expected to be the last international competition for her 2016 Olympic partner. Agnete is planning to spend the winter in Wellington, Florida campaigning two other horses for a place on the team for the Tokyo Olympics.

Isabell, who needs only two World Cup starts to be in the lineup at Las Vegas, makes her 2019-2020 debut in Lyon, France 10 days after Herning. She will decide closer to show time whether to ride Weihegold or Emilio. She may compete Bella Rose in one qualifier.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin on Mount St. John Freestyle, team and individual bronze medalist at the Tryon World Equestrian Games in 2018, is also on the schedule for Lyon.

The North American league of Canada and the United States, equally competitive in that only two slots are assigned to the region but is likely to get a third as the host, gets underway in earnest in January with the first of four qualifiers at Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival.

Steffen Peters is at the top of the standings having contested two of three required qualifiers on Suppenkasper. He will be in Wellington looking to earn an invitation to the Final, one of only two American rider ever to win the championship which he did on Ravel in 2009. The other was Debbie McDonald on Brentina in 2003.

Lindsay Kellock, a member of Canada’s gold medal team at the summer’s Pan American Games that earned the nation a berth in Tokyo, is ranked second at this stage.

It isn’t known yet whether Laura Graves will seek to compete Verdades in Las Vegas. The gelding, 18 years old in 2020, was reserve champion to Isabell and Weihegold the last three years.

Laura Graves and Verdades at the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Americans Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet and Adrienne Lyle on either Salvino or Harmony’s Duval as well as Canadians Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu on All In and Lindsay and Sebastien could also be contenders.

Circuits in Central Europe and the Pacific are winding down.

With two more events scheduled in Central Europe, Belarus riders Hanna Karasiova and Olga Safranova are atop the rankings for the two slots assigned to the region. However, a trio of Russian riders close by could earn enough points to change the standings.

The Pacific league stages the only head-to-head final to decide the sole place from the region. Distance and cost that have kept combinations from the final on several occasions also puts at a disadvantage riders based outside Australia or New Zealand, such as the Germany-based Kristy Oatley.

The schedule of World Cup qualifiers in the Western European League:
Herning Denmark Oct. 17-20
Lyon, France Oct. 30-Nov. 3
Stuttgart, Germany Nov. 13-17
Madrid, Spain Nov. 28-Dec. 1
Salzburg Austria Dec. 4-8
London, Great Britain Dec. 16-22
Mechelen, Belgium Dec. 26-28
Amsterdam, Netherlands Jan. 23-26
Neumünster, Germany Feb. 13-16
Gothenburg, Sweden Feb. 19-23
‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Mar. 12-15

Final Las Vegas April 15-19