Germany’s Isabell Werth Strikes First at FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final Grand Prix

Gothenburg, Sweden – April 5, 2019 – Germany’s superstar dressage athlete, Isabell Werth, prevailed in the first contest of what is shaping up to be quite a competitive FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden with the top eight riders scoring in the high 70s and 80s. Werth steered her two-time World Cup champion Weihegold OLD to victory in Friday’s Grand Prix, holding off challenges from a talented field, including her main rival, American Laura Graves. The top two riders of the FEI World Ranking list, Werth and Graves, placed in their respective, first and second placings, both with scores over 80 percent.

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD

American Kasey Perry-Glass laid down the gauntlet early, scoring a 77.267 percent on Goerklintgaards Dublet and concluding the first half of the class in the lead. When Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Leatherdale Farm’s Damsey FRH posted a 76.957 percent as the second-half action began, the U.S. rider was still out in front. However, it didn’t take long for her to be overcome by the most-winning equestrian in the world, Werth on Weihegold, who took a substantial lead on a score of 81.755 percent.

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet

Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen put 78.152 percent on the board with his stallion Blue Hors Zack, who is blind in his right eye. The pair finished the class sitting in third position.

Daniel Bachmann-Andersen and Blue Hors Zack

World No. 2 combination of America’s Graves and Verdades were fourth-last to go. Some big early scores in her test suggested the American just might oust the defending double-champion, but there was a little bobble in extended trot and the final score of 80.109 left Werth on top. However, the most decorated athlete in the history of equestrian sport is taking nothing for granted as she chases down her third consecutive, and fifth overall, World Cup title. It was in Gothenburg that Werth posted her very first FEI Dressage World Cup Final win with Fabienne in 1992.

The U.S. dressage contingency, overall, had an impressive evening in Gothenburg. Not only did Graves place second and Perry-Glass finished in fourth place, their teammate, Adrienne Lyle earned a 75.326 percent tied for eighth place on Betsy Juliano’s Salvino. All three rides are coached by Olympian Debbie McDonald, the new U.S. dressage technical advisor who keeps a busy schedule training top Americans as well as teaching clinics around the country, including Rutledge Farm.

Laura Graves and Verdades

Tomorrow’s Freestyle competition looks set to be another thriller, and the sold-out venue will be even more electric. While Bachmann Andersen believed the energy suited his stallion Blue Hors Zack when the crowd clapped enthusiastically as they came into the ring, Judy Reynolds’ Vancouver K didn’t feel the same way, spinning around with fright and boiling over at times when they were first to go. The crowds ecstatic clapping only escalated when their Swedish riders, Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Patrick Kittel entered the arena.

The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final title will be given following Saturday’s Grand Prix Freestyle, which will take place in the Scandinavium arena at 4 p.m. local time.

Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH

Results: Longines FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix
Place / Athlete / Country / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Isabell Werth / GER / Weihegold OLD / Christine Arns  / 81.755
2. Laura Graves / USA / Verdades / Laura Graves & Curt Maes / 80.109
3. Daniel Bachmann Andersen / DEN / Blue Hors Zack / Blue Hors Aps / 78.152
4. Kasey Perry-Glass / USA / Goerklintgaards Dublet / Diane Perry / 77.267
5. Helen Langehanenberg / GER / Damsey FRH / Louise Leatherdale & Susanne Meyer / 76.957
6. Patrik Kittel / SWE / Delaunay OLD / Patrik Kittel & Carol u Andrew / 76.304
7.  Emmelie Scholtens / NED / Apache / A. Valk / 75.792
8. Adrienne Lyle / USA / Salvino / Betsy Juliano LLC / 75.326
8. Hans Peter Minderhoud / NED / Glock’s Dream Boy N.O.P. / Glock HPC NL B.V.,J.T.M. Maree,Stal / 75.326
10. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén / SWE / Don Auriello / Lövsta Stuteri & Antonia Ax:son / 73.882
11. Benjamin Werndl / GER / Daily Mirror / Flora Keller / 73.758
12. Maria Caetano / POR / Coroado / Juan Manuel Cordeiro / 72.096


Isabell Werth (GER) – Longines FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix winner

On her test:
“Weihegold was very focused and motivated. I knew she was in really great shape but she’s really motivated, sometimes maybe too much. The only challenge and risk for me was that maybe she was a little too motivated. She was really fantastic yesterday in the warm up ring and the day before, so I felt really confident but you never know. It was a pleasure to ride here today and it was already a really great atmosphere with a lot of spectators for the Grand Prix. I am completely happy. Tomorrow is a new game and you never know. I know that she [Laura Graves] is fighting and all of the others as well so I feel the breeze on my neck and we will see what happens.”

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD


On Gothenburg:
“Gothenburg is special for me personally. I have come here many times and have a great memory of my first World Cup victory here with Fabienne. I have had a great start and a great career in different kinds of competitions. Weihegold is quite famous here with her breeding and it makes it exciting for the crowd. It makes me really happy to present ourselves in the right way.”

On the venue:
“Thank you for a great atmosphere here, it was a really great ride so hopefully tomorrow is just a repeat! There are a lot of great competitors here and I think all of us will try to show the best we can do with our horses. It is always a great show here and a super atmosphere. It is really enthusiastic and electric so hopefully, we can show up and stay great and win!”

Laura Graves (USA) – Longines FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix second place

On her test:
“I was super thrilled with my horse today. He is known for being very sensitive to the atmosphere but he felt actually very rideable and quite relaxed. Hopefully, that gives me a good idea of how to ride him tomorrow. There were just a couple of greedy mistakes on my part. We will hopefully get those straightened out before the freestyle tomorrow. As Isabell said, I am incredibly hungry to be back on top of the podium and we are going to give it our best!”

Laura Graves and Verdades


On the freestyle:
“I know there is a real chance. I believe in this horse. He is 17 this year and I think he is in the best form of his life. I think there is always a chance and we are going to ride like there is no other chance except to win.”

On the American rides:
“It’s an exciting thing for us. We are all under 35 and that is really exciting for us as American to have 3 young women who have brought along these horses and have the drive and motivation to keep doing it with other horses for this team. To see all of our horses going neck-and-neck with the other great horses in the world is a really proud thing for us. I am really proud of every rider we put forward and to be stamping our own American training on these horses.”

Laura Graves and Verdades

On her plan for the Olympics:
“I’m looking forward to Tokyo. It’s a day by day thing with Diddy. We weren’t even sure he would come and do a season this year. Every fall I wait for him to tell me what he wants to do and every fall he gets a little bit naughty so he goes back to work. This year will be no exception, he has done so much for me so the year that he says ‘Mom that is enough,’ then he stays home.”

Daniel Bachmann Andersen (DEN) – Longines FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix third place

On his test:
“I am very happy. I’m coming off a win in s’Hertogenbosch and it gives some confidence. At home between this show and s’Hertogenbosch, I have just been keeping him happy with not really any hard work. You can see that he comes here fresh and happy. I have to say that today was a really good ride again and he felt really good, so I can’t wait to ride tomorrow. He actually goes better and better with more going on. The closer the people sit and the more that is going on, the better he goes. It’s an amazing ability for a horse. It’s really nice.”

Daniel Bachmann-Andersen and Blue Hors Zack


On the loss of his horse’s eye:
“He lost it when he was six. He pulled back and the halter broke and it swung up on the other side and hit him [in the right eye]. Luckily, the clinic saved his eye, so it is his own eye, but he is completely blind in it. It is working and it blinks but he cannot see out of it at all. It is not a problem [in their training]. Sometimes I have to help him a little bit when I am on the left rein by not riding too close to the fence. I help him a little bit with my right leg but it is minimal. He’s really cool with other horses coming close and I have done so many different things; gala shows, spotlights, and he just does it! He is a fantastic character.”

Patrik Kittel (SWE) –  Sweden’s top rider who finished sixth

On the crowds’ enthusiasm:
“It’s a blessing to have such an enthusiastic crowd here in Sweden. It’s what makes our sport what it is, a really cool sport. People are so happy, not just for myself, but for everybody. They really embrace the riders and their horses and I love that. It’s unique. For me, it makes me want to ride better and do better. It is quite a sensation riding here.”

On his test:
“I was really happy. Sadly, in the reinback, after 3 steps, he went into the railing and didn’t want to do the last two and that cost me immensely. It was my own fault because I should have stopped him a little bit inside rather than directly on the fence. That was a total rider mistake which I take on myself. Otherwise, I am super happy. It’s an amazing competition here and everyone is so close and so good. I don’t think I have seen a final like this and I’ve done a couple.”


Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) – fourth place

On her test:
“It felt great. I feel like it was a really great atmosphere, very friendly. He went into it really confident. He caught me off guard because he sucked back a little bit in the trot work, which I am not used to, usually he gets a little bit lit. My first piaffe was a little bit iffy but we were able to get it back and make up a lot of points in our canter work. I felt like he was very rideable today and he came out and made an impression and showed off his best work so I am very happy.”

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet


On her partnership with Goerklintgaards Dublet:
“It feels good to have confidence! He gives me confidence and I am learning to give him confidence. We are growing together and I just couldn’t be more proud of him and how his scores keep coming up. He is starting to get really consistent so I am really proud of him.”

On U.S. chef d’equipe Debbie McDonald’s advice before entering the ring:
“I get popcorn if I do a really good job, which is always a motivation for me! She is very confident in us and we do our work at home. He came out feeling fresh and ready to go so she had all the confidence in the world.”

Adrienne Lyle (USA) – tied in eighth place

On Salvino’s performance:
“I am thrilled with my horse today. This is Salvino’s first World Cup, my first World Cup and his first ever indoor show so this has been a lot for him to take in. He has been a little bit wide-eyed in some of the places — we had a little bit of spook in one of the corners but then he settled into it by the end. I really could not have asked for more from him for his first time in this environment.”

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino

On the Freestyle:
“I think now he has had a chance to get in there once and see all of the venue, I think he will be a little more relaxed. I think there is still a little bit more power and energy we can keep more consistently when he is just a touch more relaxed. I am just really looking forward to riding my first World Cup freestyle!”

On U.S. chef d’equipe Debbie McDonald’s advice before entering the ring:
“Debbie is wonderful, I have been with her for almost 14 years now and having her voice in your ear is like being at home, it makes you comfortable. She has been there from the very beginning. I also want to thank my amazing owner Besty Juliano for supporting myself, Salvino and this journey.”

On representing the USA:
“This is huge. Debbie did the World Cup here some time ago quite famously. I have always heard of this venue and dreamed of what it would be like to be here riding on your own horse. It is such an incredible honor. To be here with the other girls from the US, Kasey and Laura, who are amazing teammates and friends, it is just such a magical place. It is a fun crowd, they are really enthusiastic and a really fun venue to ride at.”

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