Gothenburg, Sweden—March 24
Tomorrow the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final kicks off in Sweden, and we’ve compiled all that you could need to know before the first horse canters down centerline.
Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB. Photo by Kat Netzler
One of the biggest stories so far is who isn’t here.
- Isabell Werth, ranked No. 1 in the Western European League with 77 points, suffered minor issues with both her mounts—Weihegold and Don Johnson FRH—and she was forced to withdraw from contention.
- Top Dutch rider Edward Gal injured his back in a fall at home just a few weeks before the final.
- U.S. rider Steffen Peters, ranked No. 1 in the North American League, declined the invitation for Legolas 92.
- Laura Graves and Verdades were fifth on the same list, but Graves is also opting to skip the competition.
- Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat, tied for fifth on the Western European League ranking list, didn’t want to make the journey from Barcelona with Delgado.
- Charlotte Dujardin, last year’s title winner, never planned on competing Valegro this year. But she had intended on competing Uthopia, until an ownership dispute with the stallion prevented that from happening.
“So who’s most likely to take the title?” you might ask.
That’s a good question! Of the 18 pairs entered, we’ve ranked them in order of highest Grand Prix freestyle scores from CDIs in 2015 or 2016. But, as you know, anything can happen on the day, and this should not be taken as an assumed order of placing.
1. Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB (Germany): 83.35 percent in January 2016
2. Inessa Merkulova and Mister X (Russia): 83.15 percent in February 2016
3. Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt (the Netherlands): 82.25 percent in January 2016
4. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello (Sweden): 82.20 percent in July 2015
5. Fabienne Lutkemeier and D’Agostino FRH (Germany): 80.77 percent in February 2015
6. Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic (Sweden): 81.87 percent in June 2015
7. Anna Kasprzak and Donnperignon (Denmark): 80.10 percent in July 2015
8. Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K (Ireland): 79.70 percent in March 2016
Judy Reynolds and Vancouver. Photo by Kat Netzler
9. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Jojo Az (Denmark): 78.05 percent in January 2015
10. Marcela Krinke Susmelj and Smeyers Molberg (Switzerland): 78.00 percent in October 2015
11. Terhi Stegars and Axis TSF (Finland): 77.60 percent in February 2015
11. Guenter Seidel and Zero Gravity (United States): 77.60 percent in September 2015
13. Emilie Nyrerod and Miata (Sweden): 77.35 percent in June 2015
14. Beata Stremler and Rubicon D (Poland): 76.40 percent in March 2016
15. Mary Hanna and Umbro (Australia): 75.50 percent in October 2015
16. Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy 9 (Australia): 75.45 percent in July 2015
17. Tatiana Dorofeeva and Kartsevo Upperville (Russia): 75.32 percent in June 2015
18. Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo (United States): 75.20 percent in March 2015
Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt. Photo by Kat Netzler
What happened at the jog?
All 18 passed! But Axis TSF and Kartsevo Upperville were held and then passed after presenting the second time.
Who are the U.S. pairs?
This year the United States is represented by a veteran of many teams, Seidel, and a rider at her very first big tour international championship, Jorst.
Jorst’s Kastel Nintendo is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Negro—Rodieni R, Monaco), and Zero Gravity is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Royal Hit—Naica, Contango) owned by James and Charlotte Mashburn.
(Guenter Seidel and Zero Gravity. Photo by Kat Netzler)
What did they have to say on the eve of the Grand Prix?
“It’s so great, and it’s so much fun, and Nintendo and I are so excited to be here and to come in and show everybody what we’re made of. I can’t wait to smile. When I went to Verden [Germany, for the FEI Young Horse World Championships] with Vitalis, all I hear about now is that nobody remembers what number I got in the ring, they just remember I smiled the whole time. So I’m good with that. I’m just going to do that, and then hopefully they’ll remember me again.” —Charlotte Jorst
“It’s a big step for [Zero Gravity], and it’s a very new environment for him. I haven’t really ridden him in that environment, so I have a good feeling about it and hopefully he will do well. I think he certainly has it in him.
“He was quite good [in the ring]. [Wednesday] I had bad timing, and there were literally 40 jumpers in the ring, and he got almost run over. That got him little unsettled for a minute, but he was great [Thursday] morning when they had the dressage ring up.” —Guenter Seidel
Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo. Photo by Kat Netzler
Some fun facts:
- None of this year’s competitors have ever won a World Cup final.
- Four horses in the field are 17 years old: Miata, Watermill Scandic, Donnperignon and Axis TSF.
- Zero Gravity and Mister X are the youngest horses in the field at 12.
- Two riders, Australia’s Lyndal Oatley and Sweden’s Patrik Kittel, are married.
- The 18 riders are from 11 countries.
- This is the 14th time Gothenburg’s hosted the show jumping final, and it’s the eighth time for the dressage.
Other crucial details:
In Sweden! More specifically, at the Scandinavium arena in Gothenburg. This arena most recently hosted the joint finals in 2013.
The ring where it happens. Photo by Lisa Slade
The Grand Prix goes at 12:30 p.m. local time (that’s 7:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time in the United States, and 4:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time). The Grand Prix determines the order of go the freestyle, which takes place on Sunday. All participants who finish the Grand Prix with a score of at least 60 percent will continue to the freestyle, but their scores do not carry over to the final result—they start with a clean slate for the freestyle.
Ready to be confused? By Sunday morning, Europe will have switched to daylight saving time, and so the freestyle starts at 1:15 p.m. here, which is 7:15 a.m. in U.S. Eastern time and 4:15 Pacific.
How to watch?
You can watch the tests on FEI TV. (You do need a subscription for the service.)