Don Johnson Ridden by Isabell Werth in Final Big Tour Competition After 9 Years of Top Sport With Victory

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Isabell Werth on Don Johnson FRH in the final Grand Prix of the horse’s international career. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

FRANKFURT, Germany, Dec. 20, 2019–Don Johnson, the sometimes feisty Hanoverian gelding that Isabell Werth competed at top sport for nine years, was performing in the 18-year-old horse’s final international competition, going out with a victory in the CDI5* Grand Prix Friday.

Isabell and “Johnny,” as she calls the Hanoverian gelding (Don Frederico x Warkant) scored 75.869% for the win.

Ingrid Klimke, the German eventing star, placed second on 74.913% with Hubertus Schmidt on Escolar third on 74.804% and Benjamin Werndl on Famoso fourth on 73.826% to complete a German sweep of the top placings.

By Don Johnson’s final competition, the Grand Prix Freestyle scheduled for Sunday, the pair will have started 120 times since the first Big Tour event on Mar. 5, 2011.

Don Johnson ridden by Isabell Werth to victory in the World Cup Grand Prix at Frankfurt in 2011, the horse’s first year at Grand Prix. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Along the way, the duo competed for on the German gold medal team at the European Championships in 2013 and on the bronze medal team in 2015.

Their highest ranking was No. 3 in the world, in a period of nine years in which the most successful equestrian rider in history was also competing Satchmo at Grand Prix at the end of his Olympic gold medal career. Isabell’s other horses over the same span were 2007 World Cup champion Warum Nicht, El Santo, Der Stern, Harmonie, Laurenti, Emilio, Quantaz, Quintus, Bella Rose both before and after a 3 1/2-year absence now No. 1 in the world and three-time World Cup champion Weihegold OLD ranked No. 2. Totilas was being competed by a new rider at the time, and Valegro was soon to come along to be the dominant combination with Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin from the historic 2012 London Olympics to 2016 Rio Games.

Isabell Werth on Don Johnson competing on Germany’s gold medal team at the 2013 European Championships, a highlight of the horse’s career. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“He really educated me,” Isabell told dressage-news.com after the Grand Prix.

Although Don Johnson was high behind and the position of the head not seemingly the best when she first saw the horse at four years of age, Madeleine Winter-Schultze agreed to buy the horse for her. And Isabell received help from her long time coach Dr. Uwe Schulten Baumer.

Isabell was patient in developing Don Johnson. The horse reached his peak from the end of 2016 to mid-2018 when the pair started 30 times for 26 victories and four second places.

Isabell never competed Don Johnson outside Europe.

Results:

CDI5* Grand Prix

Judges: Yuri Romanov Elke Ebert Dr. Evi Eisenhardt Janet Lee Foy Christof Umbach
Place Score % Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B Spectators
1. 75.869 GER Isabell Werth Don Johnson FRH 77.065 73.696 75.978 75.978 76.630 72.952 (5)
2. 74.913 GER Ingrid Klimke Franziskus 15 74.674 74.674 75.109 75.217 74.891 73.921 (2)
3. 74.804 GER Hubertus Schmidt Escolar 73.804 74.348 73.043 74.674 78.152 73.564 (4)
4. 73.826 GER Benjamin Werndl Famoso OLD 74.022 72.174 74.239 73.478 75.217 74.803 (1)
5. 73.739 POR Maria Caetano Coroado 74.348 72.717 73.913 74.457 73.261 72.190 (8)
6. 72.543 ESP Juan Matute Guimon Quantico 74.130 72.065 69.239 73.478 73.804 72.265 (7)
7. 72.239 GER Dorothee Schneider Faustus 94 72.283 71.087 71.413 72.609 73.804 73.569 (3)
8. 71.609 GER Matthias Bouten Meggle’s Boston 69.674 70.870 72.065 72.826 72.609 71.213 (9)
9. 71.435 GER Jil-Marielle Becks Damon’s Satelite NRW 71.413 71.196 71.196 70.217 73.152 72.319 (6)
10. 70.500 FRA Alexandre Ayache Zo What 70.652 69.891 70.000 68.804 73.152 69.961 (11)
11. 69.630 NED Patrick van der Meer Chinook 70.217 69.674 68.043 69.565 70.652 70.423 (10)
12. 69.608 GER Helen Langehanenberg Annabelle 110 73.043 70.217 65.978 68.261 70.543 69.874 (12)
13. 69.565 SUI Estelle Wettstein West Side Story OLD 69.022 71.848 68.696 68.804 69.457 69.180 (13)
14. 68.217 AUT Astrid Neumayer Sir Simon NRW 66.087 69.457 67.609 68.043 69.891 67.734 (14)
15. 64.783 MAS Mohd Qabil Ambak Dato’ Mahamad Fathil Delatio 62.500 63.587 65.435 66.739 65.652 65.507 (15)
16. 61.413 KOR Young-Shik Hwang Despino 15 58.587 61.196 61.196 63.696 62.391 64.235 (16)