German Dressage Championships Set for Next Week

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Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD in 2019, winning the third straight World Cup. File photo. © Ken Braddick/

Sept. 10, 2020

Isabell Werth will not compete world No. 1 Bella Rose, Dorothee Schneider will be without Showtime and Sönke Rothenberger will be on a horse other than Cosmo in the German Dressage Championships next week, the first year in four decades that the usually dominant nation will not have a chance to win a medal at an Olympics or international championship.

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl on TSF Dalera BB, team mate and the only combination from the of the 2019 European Championships to enter the competition at Balve. The pair took freestyle bronze and is newly elevated to No. 3 in the world behind Isabell’s top two mounts.

The Balve championships, for dressage only this year and with no spectators, was originally scheduled for May and typically determines the team for the Nations Cup at Aachen where the final selection for German Olympic and championship teams is determined.

The last time there was no Olympic or championship was in 1980 when Germany along with several other nations joined a U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Olympics. The first dressage World Cup was not held until 1986.

At next week’s championships, Isabell will ride Weihegold OLD, ranked No, 2 and her 2016 Olympic team gold and individual silver medal mount that missed out on capturing their fourth straight World Cup scheduled for Las Vegas but became the first major international championships to be canceled by the coronavirus pandemic this year. She will also compete No. 7 ranked Emilio, the 2019 German champion.

Bella Rose was last competed by Isabell to win team, individual and freestyle golds at the 2019 European Championships a year ago and team and individual golds at the Tryon World Equestrian Games a year earlier. The pair holds on to the world top ranking as scores acquired for the standings as of March but that are normally based on results from the previous 12 months have been frozen until competitions return to normal.

Dorothee Schneider will ride Faustus instead of Showtime, whose freestyle silver medal result at the 2019 Europeans elevated her into the elite company of combinations performing for a score of at least 90%–the others being Isabell on both Bella Rose and Weihegold, Sönke on Cosmo, Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro with a record 94.300% and Edward Gal on Totilas.

Sönke will compete Santiano that he began riding at Big Tour 17 months ago.

Other combinations include Benjamin Werndl with Famoso OLD and Daily Mirror, Helen Langehanenberg on Annabelle, Ingrid Klimke and Franziskus, Hubertus Schmidt on Escolar and Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain.