Aachen, Germany—June 29
Any German dressage fan who attended the Prize of Family Tesch CDIO5* Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen today likely left the show grounds satisfied. The home team took a comfortable lead on the first day Nations Cup competition (235.41 points to Denmark’s 228.60) and scored an individual victory, with World No. 1 Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB topping the class on 82.30%.
“She just felt amazing today,” said von Bredow-Werndl, the reigning individual Olympic gold medalist. “To me it’s not about winning; it’s about developing. It still feels there is room for improvement, and I think I had the best Grand Prix so far— except the hiccup in the entrance—but she felt so, so good.”
But the Nations Cup competition isn’t over yet; competitors will do the Grand Prix Special on Saturday before that’s decided.
“We are all looking forward to Saturday,” von Bredow-Werndl said. “We’ll give our best on Saturday, and then we’ll see.”
Two other German riders slotted into the top 10—Frederic Wandres and Bluetooth OLD, who spent the beginning of their year in Florida, dominating the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, earned fifth (77.08) and Isabell Werth eighth with DSP Quantaz (76.02)—but the rest of the podium positions were taken by British riders. Charlotte Dujardin rode Imhotep for second (79.78), and Charlotte Fry and Everdale finished third (78.91). The British team is in a close third (228.56), less than half a point behind Denmark.
“This is my third Grand Prix back with Imhotep, so what a show to come and do your third Grand Prix,” said Dujardin, who gave birth to daughter Isabella in March. “I’m absolutely delighted with Imhotep. This is the best and biggest show to ride at, and to have the crowd supporting you is amazing. He is an inexperienced horse, and he’s only 10; has not done that many Grand Prix [classes]. He’s a ball of energy and so much fun to ride. The piaffe is one of the best I’ve ever sat on, and for me it’s about sitting there and trying to manage and control the balance of what he produces.”
The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team (Susan Dutta on Don Design DC, Alice Tarjan on Serenade MF, Sarah Tubman on First Apple, and Anna Buffini on FRH Davinia La Douce) finished the day in eighth place out of the eight squads with a score of 213.60.
Anna Buffini was last in the ring today aboard FRH Davinia La Douche, and she scored highest of the U.S. riders with a 72.80% for 17th place.
“It was better than I could have expected. I was so happy with it,” she said. “She just brought it home today. I’m so proud of her. She was excited to go.”
Dutta was the trailblazer for the four U.S. riders, scoring a 69.73%. She’s been riding Don Design DC since the horse was 5 and credited help from Germany’s Wandres for some recent improvements.
“My plan really was to ride just a clean test,” she said. “That was No. 1. Then No. 2 was to try and make it look pretty and easy, and you know, deal with whatever mistake, or if something happened, to chill and try to ride just like I ride at home, which is not such an easy thing in this venue.
“He seems to really like this venue, and he wasn’t bothered by anything,” she continued. “He really was good for him, and there’s so much more in there. We’re really in a building curve. I’m happy to have a clean test and decent score but really believe there’s much, much more to come.”
Watch Jessica von Bredow-Werndl’s winning test with TSF Dalera BB, courtesy of ClipMyHorsetv:
Tarjan, second to go to the U.S. squad, scored a 71.08% with Serenade MF. They almost couldn’t make the trip to Aachen at all. A few days before the mare was due to fly out, she wasn’t sound.
“I rode her Wednesday. She was fantastic. The vet came Wednesday afternoon to do a jog before we put her on the plane Thursday, and he called and was like, ‘Yeah, we have a problem.’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said, ‘She’s dead lame because she has a quarter crack.’ I said, ‘The farrier just did her Monday. I rode her; she was fantastic,’ and he said, ‘Yeah that’s not the case right now. This is a problem.’
“So thank God the farrier came out and worked on her almost all night, put these fancy shoes on her,” she continued. “She’s got perfect feet, so I don’t know where it came from. I guess that’s horses for you. We were debating whether to put her on plane or not, and they thought it would resolve. Knock wood, she seems happy.”
This is the first Aachen CDIO5* for Sarah Tubman—she competed in the CDI4* here last year—and she’s riding on her first Nations Cup team with First Apple. In today’s Grand Prix they earned a 69.67%.
“We had some good things and some mistakes today, but overall I was really happy with how he’s developing, and it’s always something special to go down centerline with this crowd and at this amazing venue,” Tubman said. “His jam is to be in a big venue like this.”
See full results here.