Isabell Werth Signs an Impressive Win as the Season Gets Underway at 2008 CDI-W Odense

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 00:00
2008 CDI-W Odense


Isabell Werth made an impressive start by winning the first leg of the 2008-2009 FEI World Cup™ Series for the Western European League in Odense, Denmark.

Silver Olympic medallist Isabell Werth didn’t make it easy for herself, combining her show start in Odense with a clinic in Helsinki. She flew in and surprised the Finnish audience with a great clinic showing her skills and praising her first riding instructor Dr Schulten Baumer as well as her current instructor Wolfram Wittig and her horse owner and valued advisor and friend Madeleine Winter Schulze.

The clinic in Helsinki didn’t prevent Isabell from winning both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle in Odense, thus grabbing the first World Cup points in the new season of the Western European League.

“I was very pleased with my Hannes”, Isabell praised the big Hanoverian chestnut Warum Nicht. “He was not distracted in his first indoor show and was very concentrated on his job. Although I had some mistakes, I was happy with his performance.” In the extended canter a mistake occurred when Warum Nicht made a change behind and there was a mistake in the one tempi changes. However the judges praised the risks Isabell took in both of her rides and the flair and impulsion she presented the big Hanoverian gelding with.

Anky van Grunsven relied on her black stallion Painted Black for Odense. In the Grand Prix, the stallion had a little too much on his mind and was not always cooperative. In the Freestyle, however, Anky had the horse on her side which resulted in a much more fluent presentation and a very nice contact and uphill image. “Only at the CDI3* in Lingen I had higher marks than this time. I am very happy with him”, Anky commented. “I do regret, though, the mistake in the two tempi changes, which might have prevented a record score with this horse.”

Third and fourth place also went to The Netherlands. From an almost impossible position and an early start after the eighth place in the Grand Prix, Olympian Hans Peter Minderhoud had a ride of a lifetime aboard the mare Nadine. Only the last part of the test showed a little unevenness and the pair received the third position. Fourth was Jeannette Haazen, who with her cheerful and pleasant ride aboard Nartan swept away the bad memories from her car accident on the road to Scandinavia last year.

Monica Theodorescu , who in 1993 and 1994 rode the musical performer by heart Ganimedes to World Cup™ wins, was present in Odense showing Whisper and while the Grand Prix was a joy for the eye, the Freestyle did not go as smoothly leaving the pair in fifth place.

The best placed Danish rider was Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein. Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein has always dreamed of riding for Denmark at the Olympic Games. She managed to give the ride of her life on Digby in Hong Kong and supplied the team’s highest score for the bronze. “I couldn’t expect Digby to be in the form of Hong Kong, however it was a joy to be back in my home country again and to feel the welcome atmosphere and the happiness around. We have celebrated the medal of course”, Nathalie said.

Olympic champion and FEI World Cup™ Final winner of 2008 Anky van Grunsven said that the participation in this first leg had been a record field. “I wonder whether any World Cup™ Qualifier will have this participation on the starting list. Great for Odense, Scandinavia and the FEI World Cup™”, Anky praised the organisers.

The Odense organisers did earn the positive words, as the show was sold out and they had for the second year in a row a great field and great prize money. Runner up Anky van Grunsven also won a trailer as an extra prize, as for Isabell, she is the proud owner of a new car. “Last year I gave it to my sister. I have to decide what to do now”, Isabell commented. Her first thoughts however are for her horses. “In Stuttgart after a deserved rest in the field Satchmo will be back in the arena”, Isabell promised. Frankfurt will be her next FEI World Cup™ qualifier.

Photos copyrighted: Dan Norden and Leanjo de Koster