Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD decisively won the Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup Finals™ 2017 in Omaha last night with an impressive score of 82.300%. The pair performed with their characteristic consistent and correct movements and made the piaffe, pirouette and half pass look easy. “Today I was well prepared, but you never know what can happen. It was expected that Weihegold could get 80%, but you never know. I was very happy,” said Werth of her performance.

The pair competed at the Rio Olympics and earned an individual silver and team gold. Previous World Cup Dressage victories include wins at Gothenburg, Sweden in 1992 and Las Vegas, Nevada USA in 2007. Isabell commented that she was very pleased with the accommodations at the Century Link in Omaha, Nebraska. She felt that the travel had been an easy flight from Amsterdam to Omaha and that the horses were settling in well.

Laura Graves & Verdades.

The USA’s Laura Graves and Verdades had a spectacular performance with big elastic movement that earned a score of 79.800%. The pair are beautifully matched with Laura’s quiet and imperceptible aids guiding the big elegant gelding. The fluid ride showcased smooth lead changes, breathtaking pirouettes and piaffe’s and Verdades supple and spirited gaits. “Basically I came here to win and finishing second to Isabell still feels a lot like winning.” Graves admitted some rider error that may have cost her the first place slot but said Verdades was very honest. Riding indoors makes the crowds seem louder and it is something the horses have to adjust to.

Great Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck delighted the crowd with an appropriate ride to James Bond music that earned them the third place score of 76.671. Hester’s perfect body position aligned well with Nip Tuck, and the pair executed a very nice piaffe and half pass. The horses extensions were notable and the crowd rewarded Hester with much appreciation at the conclusion of the ride. Hester said he rides conservatively the first day and that generally Nip Tuck is great on the second day. He doesn’t expect to be too far behind on Saturday with the Dressage Freestyle to Music. The Freestyle scores will determine the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final champion!

While USA’s Steffen Peter’s and Rosamunde placed 8th with a score of 72.257% - it would be a travesty not to mention the pair. The air was electric with Rosamunde’s incredible power, elegance and presence. Mouth’s agape, mine included, the crowd watched in awe as they performed their test. While the ride could have been more correct on the horse’s part - it didn’t diminish the appreciation for a truly amazing horse with boundless potential. When the ride concluded, the crowd stood and more than applauded - there were shouts of absolute delight. It was a moment to be remembered.

By Peg Fairfield