Poised and Collected—The Scene is Set for the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final
RELEASE: March 27, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Malina Gueorguiev
The participants for the 23rd FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final are ready and waiting, having all arrived at the ‘Brabanthallen stables in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where the prestigious title will be awarded for the eighth time.
This is the first truly international meet of the season, and with the Olympic Games looming in the not-so-distant future, eyes will be riveted on every performance, particularly when it comes to title defender Isabell Werth with powerful chestnut Warum Nicht FRH against home favorite Anky van Grunsven. And with three wins each this season—for Werth these were Odense, Franfurt and Neumünster while van Grunsven took London, Mechelen and Amsterdam—the odds are rather even.
“The FEI World Cup™ Final is, no doubt, the highlight of the indoor season,” Isabell Werth commented. “I am very much looking forward to it! I have never been one to hide and have always faced challenges. Meeting Anky van Grunsven and the other best riders of the world, having to give the best, that can only mean improvement. I am convinced Anky and I are as good as we are because of each other and not in spite of each other.”
Werth’s win last year aboard Warum Nicht FRH alias ‘Hannes’ was not her first FEI World Cup™ title, but her second, having also won the Final in 1992 in Gothenburg aboard her mare Fabienne.
However, when it comes it FEI World Cup™ titles, van Grunsven is the all-time record holder, having won the FEI World Cup™ Final eight times, not to mention that three of these—2004, 2005 and 2006—were aboard Salinero. Van Grunsven is more than pleased to be competing in the FEI World Cup™ Final again, which she missed last year due to the birth of her daughter Ava Eden. She comments, “I am looking forward to the Final. However I feel it’s not about facing and meeting Isabell in the show arena again, it’s about riding the best possible myself. Riding is my job, and I like the competition.”
For the enthusiastic home crowd, two team members from the historic Gold-medal team at the 2007 FEI European Championships are on the list of participants—Dutch Imke Schellekens Bartels with Hunter Douglas Sunrise and Laurens van Lieren and Hexagon’s Ollright.
Schellekens is in the company of Australian Rozzy Ryan. Ryan has chosen, just like previous times, the Academy of the Bartels family to stable and train her horse Donna Carrera. During Easter weekend she prepared herself and Donna Carrera in a national dressage show in Hulten in The Netherlands. It will be the 10th time Australia is represented in an FEI World Cup™ Final. At an earlier occasion, Ryan’s horse Excellent stepped on a nail in the arena. Ryan is not superstitious and says, “It was a sad experience ending on an operation table at the Veterinary clinic in Utrecht, but I am sure I will be able to finish my test properly this time.”
The two American participants Jane Hannigan with Maksimilian and Courtney King with Idocus flew in to Amsterdam and prepared at the the place of Klaus Balkenhol, the U.S. Dressage Chef d'Equip, in Germany.
Together with home country The Netherlands, Denmark will be the best represented in the FEI World Cup™ Final with three riders, Anders Dahl, Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein and Andreas Helgstrand.
Organizer Gerrit Jan Swinkels is happy and proud to be hosting the FEI World Cup™ Final for the eighth time. “We are ready for the frenzy! Already eight weeks to go and the Freestyle Final on Saturday was sold out!”
For more information, visit www.indoorbrabant.com
FEI World Cup™ Dressage has entered its 23rd season. The FEI World Cup™ Dressage is the only worldwide series in this discipline. The series, created in 1985, today comprises four leagues encompassing Western Europe, Central Europe, North America (including Canada) and the Pacific League (Australia, New Zealand, Asia).