Farewell Don Johnson! Isabell Performs Victorious, Emotional Freestyle for Horse’s Final Competition

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Don Johnson FRH being ridden by Isabell Werth in the final competition for the 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding after nine years of top sport. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

FRANKFURT, Germany, Dec. 22, 2019–Don Johnson FRH was given a rousing farewell in a victorious CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle Sunday that was the final competition for the 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding after nine years of top sport.

Isabell, who credits Don Johnson with keeping her in in high performance dressage between Olympic and world championship mounts, showed off the best of the horse in their 120th Big Tour competition that was awarded 82.845%. The record included two European Championships and a World Cup Final.

The crowd packing three tiers of this stadium, began claaping in unison well before the end of the performance when the music switched to “Feliz Navidad,” (Merry Christmas), just three days before Christmas.

Isabell rode the final centerline one-handed, as the crowd started rising to its feet to give a standing ovation to “Johnny” and the world’s most successful equestrian (10 Olympic medals). Absent from the appearance was owner Madeleine Winter-Schulze at home recovering from an injury, but a formal farewell ceremony is expected to be held in Verden, Germany, home of the Hanoverian breed, next year.

Don Johnson FRH with Isabell Werth aboard leaving the arena to a standing ovation after the final competition for the 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Olympic and championship team mate Dorothee Schneider on Faustus was second on 78.785% and fellow German Matthias Bouten on Meggle’s Boston third on 78.195%.

Benjamin Werndl on Famoso led a German sweep of the Grand Prix Special with a score of 76.617%.

Ingrid Klimke on Franziskus placed second on 76.128% with Jill Marielle-Becks on Damon’s Satelite NRW third on 74.809%.

Results:

CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle

Judges: Christof Umbach Elke Ebert Janet Lee Foy Yuri Romanov Dr. Evi Eisenhardt
Place Score % Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B Spectators
1. 82.845 GER Isabell Werth Don Johnson FRH 85.125 83.000 82.850 82.000 81.250 81.946 (1)
2. 78.785 GER Dorothee Schneider Faustus 94 81.250 78.250 77.425 78.625 78.375 78.159 (2)
3. 78.195 GER Matthias Bouten Meggle’s Boston 80.125 77.500 77.225 78.125 78.000 77.176 (3)
4. 76.255 ESP Juan Matute Guimon Quantico 76.000 77.125 78.025 74.750 75.375 76.115 (5)
5. 75.775 POR Maria Caetano Coroado 74.500 75.125 75.625 76.500 77.125 74.287 (6)
6. 73.875 FRA Alexandre Ayache Zo What 78.125 73.875 75.125 75.125 67.125 76.326 (4)
7. 72.470 NED Patrick van der Meer Chinook 73.375 72.125 74.100 69.500 73.250 72.102 (7)
8. 67.150 KOR Young-Shik Hwang Despino 15 65.000 65.500 70.875 67.875 66.500 68.740 (8)

CDI5* Grand Prix Special

Judges: Dr. Evi Eisenhardt Yuri Romanov Christof Umbach Elke Ebert Janet Lee Foy
Place Score % Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B Spectators
1. 76.617 GER Benjamin Werndl Famoso OLD 78.404 76.702 78.830 73.723 75.426 76.332 (1)
2. 76.128 GER Ingrid Klimke Franziskus 15 77.660 76.596 75.319 74.043 77.021 76.118 (2)
3. 74.809 GER Jil-Marielle Becks Damon’s Satelite NRW 74.894 74.468 77.447 73.511 73.723 73.381 (3)
4. 74.596 GER Hubertus Schmidt Escolar 73.085 74.681 76.489 73.830 74.894 72.312 (4)
5. 71.426 SUI Estelle Wettstein West Side Story OLD 70.745 74.043 72.447 71.064 68.830 69.657 (7)
6. 69.532 AUT Astrid Neumayer Sir Simon NRW 68.298 69.468 71.064 70.213 68.617 70.988 (5)
7. 69.085 GER Helen Langehanenberg Annabelle 110 68.723 68.191 68.404 68.723 71.383 70.472 (6)
8. 66.958 MAS Mohd Qabil Ambak Dato’ Mahamad Fathil Delatio 67.660 64.894 68.404 66.915 66.915 66.118 (8)