EThe applause that was missing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo was finally delivered: Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and her mare Dalera also won all available gold medals at the European Dressage Championships in Hagen, and this time in front of 3900 fans. A long-missed noise echoed from the fully occupied grandstands as she rode out of the arena, ending her championship season.
On Saturday she won the third European title, this time in the freestyle after the team competition and the classic Grand Prix Special. With 91.021 percentage points, she was the only one to exceed the 90 percent threshold, thus crowning the outstanding achievements of her Olympic year: At the moment, nobody can match the 32-year-old Bavarian from Aubenhausen and her 14-year-old Trakehner mare.
“I’ll just collect more of it,” replied Jessica von Bredow-Werndl when asked what her goals were after winning a total of five gold medals since the Olympic days in Tokyo. It was “such an incredible feeling”, said the 35-year-old, that she “couldn’t really put it into words”.
Isabell Werth gets nothing
The surprise: Isabell Werth got nothing with Weihegold in the freestyle, she came fourth after a weak performance. Silver went to the Danish Cathrine Dufour with Haute Couture, bronze to the British Charlotte Dujardin with Gio, two strong riders with young, peppy horses, to whom the future belongs. The 16-year-old Weihegold, on the other hand, lacked the strength for further brilliant deeds after a brilliant Grand Prix Special on Thursday after a day’s break. “The battery was empty,” said Isabell Werth.
Shortly before the first piaffe, her horse dropped a few apples, the exercise was tough. “She doesn’t normally mind that,” said Werth. But already at the warm-up area she noticed that her mare was lacking energy on this warm September Saturday. She saved herself to the finish line with a dosed effort, after all there were still 84.896 percentage points.
Obviously, the fact that Weihegold was rarely used this year also took revenge. Olympic horse Bella Rose and young horse Quantaz came first. “In a competition you get your stamina,” said Werth. Even she, said the most successful rider in the world, needs a breather after this turbulent year – on Wednesday, on top of everything else, Bella Rose was operated on for colic – now. Fortunately, Bella Rose is doing well again.
The third German starter, Olympic substitute rider Helen Langehanenberg (Havixbeck) and her Holstein mare Annabelle landed in 14th place. In her freestyle, in which she had not skimp on difficulties, one exercise failed, which the two never actually caused difficulties: the pirouette to the right. The rider took all the blame on herself: in order to hit the music, she wanted to initiate the right-wing pirouette a little later than usual, it had resulted in a mess. Probably due to a number of minor discrepancies, she received only 77.217 percentage points – she is used to more.
And again there was a clear gap between the individual grades of the seven judges: They fluctuated between 74 and 80 percent for her. “That’s a lot,” said Helen Langehanenberg ambiguously. As is often the case, the problem is more complicated than it looks. So many criteria are now included in the grades that the judges apparently have problems weighting them uniformly. “The judging will have to be evaluated,” said national coach Monica Theodorescu.
Another hit it even harder: The freestyle of the Dutch Adelinde Cornelissen with the black stallion Governor was rung by the German chief judge Henning Lehrmann. Blood could be seen on the horse’s mouth, which automatically leads to disqualification. “He was probably impressed with the audience,” she said. “He bit his cheek from the inside.” Memories were awakened of the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, when the same rider with Parzival was one of the favorites and had also been called because of blood on her mouth. But she preferred to distract from this topic in Hagen. “I’m glad my horse is fine,” she said.