The inaugural edition of the Saab Top 10 Dressage held at the 2017 Sweden International Horse Show CDI/CSI in Stockholm, Sweden, on 2 - 3 December 2017 became a major success with the riders and audience. With a purse of 145,000 euro and a Volkswagen car to be won, the elite of the dressage world jumped at the occasion to compete at this 5* CDI in Stockholm.
The Saab Top 10 Dressage is the brain child of Swedish Olympic team rider Patrik Kittel, who was able to motivate the organizers of the Sweden International Horse Show to host the event in Stockholm. He also intrigued and convinced sponsors with the concept and pieced together a proper purse that served as magnet for Europe's top ranked dressage riders.
"The Saab Top 10 was a real success," said Patrik Kittel. "The concept with super riders and horses and classes that are not too long worked perfectly. That is what the sport needs. The dream was that people who were watching were to go home wanting to come back for more. We had top athletes, top horses, a massive audience and prize money to boost the sport of dressage. I cannot wait for next year. Our goal is to make the Saab Top 10 the best show in the world and we are on a good way."
The show organizers were thrilled with how the two-pronged Saab Top 10 Dressage competition was received by the audience. On both days of competition, the Grand Prix on Saturday and the Kur to Music on Sunday, a record attendance was counted. Furthermore on Friday the venue welcomed 17,696 visitors who were interested in hearing the "Patrik and Friends" concept for which Kittel invited some of the Saab Top 10 riders to join in an open discussion with Swedish riders. The Grand Prix Freestyle drew a crowd of more than 13,000 spectators.
"We also broke the record for the spectactor judging, by far," said CDI Stockholm press agent Caroline Berggren. "Over 900 people in the audience used the app, on which you can do your own judging of the riders instantaneously."
The Saab Top 10 Dressage was sponsored by Saab, a major defense company in Sweden. They secured a Volkwagen Tiguan as additional prize to the cash purse. Winning rider Isabell Werth took home 45,000 euro and the car by topping the board in the freestyle. As dressage is a sport discipline dominated by female riders and spectators, Saab saw an opportunity to connect its brand to the event.
"The main reason Saab is contributing to the dressage sport is their need for female engineers for the future," Berggren explained.
"It was a weekend of pure magic. For Saab it's fantastic to host 10 of the world's best dressage riders. We will, together with Sweden International Horse Show, continue to develop Saab Top 10 Dressage to be the top dressage competition in the world," said Håkan Buskhe, CEO at Saab.
The major success of the first edition of the Saab Top 10 Dressage has spurred the organizers and sponsors to continue their efforts to host an even bigger and better edition in 2018.
"Our aim is to take the dressage sport further and create a modern, all inclusive competition: a unique dressage experience in which interaction with the audience is an important part," Berggren stated. "We want to draw an even bigger audience and continue to work on all the details. We are very, very proud of this year and so happy about the positive feedback from the riders, the sponsor and the visitors."
For 2018 the prize money will be almost doubled, making the Saab Top 10 Dressage the richest international dressage competition in the world!
For more information, visit www.swedenhorseshow.se
Scores 2017 CDI Stockholm
Isabell Werth First Champion of Saab Top 10 Dressage at 2017 CDI Stockholm
Werth and Emilio Win the Warm Up Grand Prix for the Saab Top 10 at 2017 CDI Stockholm
Entry Field Complete for Saab Top 10 Dressage at 2017 CDI Stockholm
Saab Top 10 Dressage, New Exclusive Competition for Best Riders in the World at 2017 CDI-W Stockholm