The tough battle between the titans Isabell Werth and Anky van Grunsven was not decided until the very last ride - Anky's. Isabell Werth and the big chestnut Warum Nicht FRH had a great test. But the pair left little room for improvement when they a mistake in the one tempi flying changes and hardly halted at the end, which brought the score down to 82,60%.
Anky van Grunsven (NED) aboard IPS Salinero, winners of the 2008 FEI World Cup Dressage Final.
© Dirk Caremans/FEI
"I changed my preparation and trained IPS Salinero yesterday when a show jumping class was going on to help him get used to the noise. I had made a mistake on Thursday, as Salinero thought he was in a quiet place and overreacted to the crowd. It worked much better now," Anky said.
"The improvement Hannes has made this season, makes me very satisfied. Today he was just not well prepared for the one tempi changes," said Isabell Werth.
Both riders are looking forward now to the selections for the Olympic Games.
Finland's Kyra Kyrklund finished in third place, and she said she could not have wished for more. The unlucky fourth position was for Dutch Imke Schellekens-Bartels and her mare Hunter Douglas Sunrise. The magic was not there this time as the mistakes in both the one tempi changes and two tempi changes brought the scores down to 77.40%.
Wonderful rides had already attracted the eye of the completely sold-out audience of 11,000 before the last pairs went.
Danish Anders Dahl had done a great test with flying changes on the circle and difficult transitions like canter to piaffe, rewarded with a score of 71,55%.
American Courtney King showed 18-year-old Idocus fresh and moving to his advantage but dropped down in the score as she performed a three double pirouette to the right in error. This made the mark for the pirouette go to zero and the mark for the well-calculated risks at the artistic side of the sheet to five.
President of the Ground Jury Jan Peeters commented afterwards: "We will advise the technical committee to make a rule change as this feels unfair. My colleagues here in 's-Hertogenbosch and I would rather see an error of course and a sanction for that, than punish in the calculated risks and technical marks."
For FEI Official International Judge Jan Peeters the 23rd FEI World Cup Dressage Final was the last big championship before his retirement. "I have loved every minute of it, but now there will be more time for my wife and our grandchildren left and probably for educating and teaching near home," he said.
The indoor Brabant Horseshow will do a bid next week to organise the 25th FEI World Cup Dressage Final in 2010. Next year the FEI World Cup Dressage Final will be in Las Vegas again as a combined Rolex FEI World Cup Final in Dressage and Jumping.