Isabell Werth Posts Fourth Victory of Season in Neumunster

© Photo by FEI Stefan Lafrentz.: Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH. Photo by FEI Stefan Lafrentz. Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH. Photo by FEI Stefan Lafrentz.

Neumunster, Germany — Feb. 19, 2017 — Germany’s Isabell Werth claimed her fourth victory of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League at Neumunster, Germany, scoring 82.455 percent. Werth has already earned wins aboard the 12-year-old mare Weihegold FRH at Lyon, France, Stuttgart, Germany, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. However, in Neumunster, it was the 15-year-old Don Johnson who claimed the limelight with Werth, who is the most medaled athlete in equestrian sport.

The cozy fit of the Neumunster arena is always a character-test for horses, with the judges and spectators only a whisper away from the action, so Werth was delighted that “Johnny” held it together after tension in yesterday’s Grand Prix which they won by a relatively slender margin ahead of Madeleine Witte-Vrees.

“He was really super today, really happy and focused so I enjoyed it and could take a lot of risk,” Werth explained. ““It’s great to have so many horses in good form at the same time and I’m delighted with Johnny today. He’s like a good red wine, he keeps getting better!

“The atmosphere here is always difficult but I was fairly confident, even though you never know exactly what’s going to happen – especially with Johnny! ” Werth continued. “The crowd here goes crazy after each test, so a lot of horses get a bit crazy with all the applause and the prize-giving can be very intense! Sometimes Johnny bucks when he’s excited but mostly he tries to take care of me.He has a lot of character and he doesn’t mean to be mean.”

© Photo by FEI Stefan Lafrentz: Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH. Photo by FEI Stefan Lafrentz Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH. Photo by FEI Stefan Lafrentz. 

Runner-up with a 79.15 percent was Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg aboard the 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion Damsey FRH, who is owned by Leatherdale Farms. Langehanenberg was FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion with Damon Hill in 2013.

“I won here in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and it’s very emotional to be back!” Langehanenberg explained. “The crowd was fantastic and welcomed me back so it’s been a great day. I’ve had this horse for a year but we are still getting to know each other. His previous rider was very tall and I’m small so we both have to adapt. Today I felt we were really working together so now it is time to start making some plans.”

The Netherlands’ Madeleine Witte-Vrees finished in third place on a mark of 77.765 percent while, last to go of the 15 starters, Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke-Susmelj finished fourth with Smeyers Molberg.

“With today’s points I may be qualified for Omaha so if it stays that way I will definitely go,” Witte-Vrees said. “I changed things in my test today and it was good — I’m happy. There were three major mistakes during the test too, but my horse is still quite young, only 10, so it’s ok to make mistakes, we know we still have work to do.”

Neumunster Grand Prix Freestyle Results
Rider/Country/Horse/Total Score
1. Isabell Werth/GER/Don Johnson FRH/82.455
2. Helen Langehanenberg/GER/Damsey FRH/79.150
3. Madeleine Witte-Vrees/NED/Cennin/77.765
4. Marcela Krinke-Susmelj/SUI/Smeyers Molberg/75.620
5. Patrick van der Meer/NED/Zippo/74.090
6. Kristy Oatley/AUS/Du Soleil/74.015
7. Borja Carrascosa/ESP/Foco Loco W/73.765
8. Carola Koppelmann/GER/Deveraux B/73.380
9. Jan-Dirk Giesselmann/GER/Real Dancer FRH/73.380
10. Judy Reynolds/IRL/Vancouver K/73.275
11. Juliane Brunkhorst/GER/Furstano/72.045
12. Bernadette Brune/GER/Spirit of the Age OLD/71.385

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