Germany’s Isabell Werth won her second gold medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games at Tryon in North Carolina on Friday, riding Bella Rose to victory in the Grand Prix dressage special.
In silver was US rider Laura Graves and Verdades and defending champion, Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin rode Mount St John Freestyle to bronze.
Werth and fiery chestnut mare Bella Rose came out as the last rider of 30, presenting a flawless test. The pair scored 86.246%, including several 10’s from the judges’ panel of seven.
“Three were out with more than 80 already so I knew we had to give it our best. When Bella started to trot I felt she wanted to go and do it and the half passes could not have been better,” Werth said.
Graves had put everything into her ride, presenting the 16-year-old Verdades with utmost precision in each step, despite gusts of wind picking up during her ride. They scored 81.717.
“It feels amazing. Two days in a row we really delivered for our country. The heat is a test of a horses’ character.”
It is the first individual silver medal to be awarded to a US dressage rider at a global championship, including the World Equestrian Games and Olympic Games.
Equally sensational was Charlotte Dujardin’s ride to bronze, piloting her nine-year-old mare Mount St John Freestyle to a personal best of 81.489%. The youngster showed picture-perfect passage that is usually only acquired at a more advanced age.
“Her passage was incredible. We continue to work on it and will give Isabell a run for her money,” Dujardin said.
“I’m absolutely delighted! She’s only nine and that was just her third [Grand Prix] Special. I knew going in I had nothing to lose and rode her every inch of the way. That feeling I had in the arena today was amazing and for me, it didn’t matter if the test won me a medal as I knew she’d given me everything.”
Germany’s Sönke Rothenberger missed the podium by 0.44 points after mistakes in the one-tempi changes.
“I am disappointed. The horse would have deserved a medal because of its overall quality, but of course, we should not make mistakes.”