Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER), riding TSF Dalera BB part of the winning team for Germany competing in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ 2023 - Aachen (GER) (© FEI/Stefan Lafrentz)
The podium looked nearly identical in the FEI Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special as Germany, Denmark and Great Britain battled for top honors in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ at Aachen (GER), and as the start list reached its end in the Special, only the top two athletes in the FEI Dressage World Ranking remained—Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER) and Charlotte Fry (GBR).
The reigning individual Olympic and FEI Dressage World Cup™ Champions, von Bredow-Werndl and DSF Dalera BB took their second victory of the week Saturday at the World Equestrian Festival, receiving 81.021% in the Special to go along with a Grand Prix win Thursday (82.304%). Those scores clinched a fourth Nations Cup victory of the 2023 season for Germany.
Led by von Bredow-Werndl, Isabell Werth (DSP Quantaz), Frederic Wandres (Bluetooth OLD), and Sönke Rothenberger (Fendi). Germany's winning total was 468.285 points, the sum of the team's top three scores in both tests. Denmark finished second with 460.097 points, followed by Great Britain (459.756 points).
"For me, it is not as much about winning, but instead about the development. It still feels like there is room for improvement. [TSF Dalera BB] felt so, so good."
Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER)
The Grand Prix Special was particularly impressive for Germany, who did not have a rider finish outside of the top 10. For Rothenberger, the test was especially meaningful, as he and his 9-year-old stallion Fendi improved their score by nearly five percentage points after having some tense moments in the Grand Prix.
"In preparation for the [Grand Prix], I had a really good feeling. He was super training in the main arena, and I underestimated the atmosphere [during competition]," Rothenberger said. "I don't have a spooky horse, but I could feel he was getting quite tense, and I couldn't support him how I would have liked to support him."
"It took two and a half days in between [the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special] to give him security in the arena. That was my main goal, and I'm really happy with the confidence we could give him. This was the third Special [Fendi] has ever done, and I'm really happy with how well I could get him back on my side. I'm really proud of him."
Sönke Rothenberger (GER)
Ultimately, consistency was the deciding factor when it came to separating the world's top combinations. Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin (Imhotep) and Charlotte Fry (Everdale) were repeatedly on von Bredow-Werndl's heels, but Wandres and Werth were never far behind, either.
"It's always a good thing when you can show consistency, especially in team competition and especially with Bluetooth OLD. In the Grand Prix, he had a very harmonious and exceptional round," Wandres said. "The feeling we started with [in the Special] in the extended trot to passage, forward and backward, he felt so amazing. I'm proud of him to shine in an arena like that."
Germany extended its lead in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ standings with 56 points. Sweden sits second with 32 points, followed by Denmark with 28 points.
The 2023 FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ season concludes at Falsterbo (SWE) on 16 July 2023.