Helen Langehanenberg Wins Motešice World Cup Grand Prix on Annabelle to Move Closer to Championship Final

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Helen Langehanenberg and Annabelle. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mar. 12, 2022

Helen Langehanenberg  was a step closer to her sixth World Cup Final with a win on Annabelle in the Short Grand Prix qualifier at Motešice, Slovakia Saturday that had only one other competitor.

Helen and the 14-year-old Holsteiner mare were awarded 70.737% with only the Freestyle Sunday and its 20 points for the winner standing in the way of an appearance at the Final in Leipzig, Germany April 6-10.

The only other competitor was Katarzyna Milczarek of Poland on Guapo, a 13-year-old Polish Sport Horse stallion, scoring 69.026%.

With a victory Sunday in the last qualifier anywhere Helen, who won the only annual global championship on Damon Hill in 2013, capped a circuit-long roller coaster. It began at the opening of the 2021-22 Western European circuit last October, followed by a victory in Madrid a month later then withdrawal from a third qualifier when Helen said Annabelle did not feel right.

However, she became a beneficiary of late season changes–Western European rules were changed to provide for three qualifying scores instead of four and this competition was a late addition to the schedule.

Isabell Werth, the defending champion from 2019, guaranteed a start with more than the  required qualifying competitions for the titleholder. World No. 1 Jessica von Bredow-Werndl on her Olympic and European championship gold medal mount TSF Dalera BB this weekend seemed likely to clinch the second of three starting places allowed for one country among the total lineup of 18. Thus, only one opportunity would remain for a third German combination.

The 20 points likely to go to Helen and Annabelle in the Freestyle Sunday will make her the third German qualifying combination by one point over fellow German Frederic Wandres. Helen, ranked 23rd in the world on Annabelle. Katarzyna and Guapo are ranked 100th.

There is no provision in Europe for reduced points with a seemingly unprecedented lineup of so few rider and horse combinations. In North America, fewer than eight combinations in a World Cup competition causes significant reduction in the award of points.

Frederic Wandres on Duke of Britain last year. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Frederic had an insurmountable lead in Western Europe with four scores required for most of the circuit.

He had planned his schedule in line with the rules before they were upended by cancellation of five of 11 Western European qualifiers that led to reducing the number of qualifying scores to three from four.

The late rule change by the International Equestrian Federation last month stripped him of one of his scores and put him in a position to be overtaken

Frederic suffered disappointment in 2020 when he had to cancel the flight for himself and Duke of Britain to the Final when it was called off because of coronavirus.

In Wellington, Florida for the second year at the Global Dressage Festival, Frederic told dressage-news.com he was disappointed but voiced no complaints.

“It is what it is,” he said. “We follow the rules. I hope I can qualify Duke of Britain for a Final as he has worked so hard and it would be great for him to be at the World Cup.”


CDI-W World Cup Short Grand Prix

Judges–E: Simona FIALOVA-CZE H: Sławomir Pietrzak-POL C: Bernard MAUREL-FRA M: Ilja Vietor-SVK B: Gotthilf Riexinger-GER

Place Rider/Nation Horse Dressage
E H C M B Result
Helen Langehanenberg
ANNABELLE 110 (15)
Mare / HOLST /
Katarzyna Milczarek
GUAPO (16)
Stallion / PSH /