2008 CDIO Aachen

Isabell Werth Wins CDIO Aachen Fifth Time in Her Career

Aboard Madeleine Winter-Schulze's Hanoverian gelding Satchmo (by Sao Paulo x Legat) Isabell Werth won the CDIO Grand Prix Kur to Music at the 2008 CDIO Aachen in Aachen, Germany, on Sunday July 6, 2008 and became the Aachen Dressage Champion for the fifth time in her career.

The 38-year old Isabell rode to a recomposed version of her "March with Me" freestyle. Her symphonically orchestrated kur with music by Vangelis was originally filled with thrilling vocal arias by soprano Montserrat Caballe, but after the 2007 European Championships, some judges recommended getting rid of the vocals. The result now is an instrumental freestyle with the captivating soprano moments missing.

Werth's freestyle was atypically strewn with faults. The bay gelding broke into canter before the right half pass in trot and in the highly technical movement of two tempi's on a half circle followed by one tempi's on a diagonal, Werth lost count and made a mistake in the transition from two's to one's. The rest of the test, though, was astonishing. Great extensions, lovely piaffe and passage moments and the steady, soft contact with the bit was never lost even when those mistakes were made. They scored 80.150%.

"I have been focusing on the Grand Prix and the Special lately and haven't been practising the freestyle much," Werth confessed. "The mistakes were made because the movements came as a total surprise to Satchmo." 

Adelinde Cornelissen, Shooting Star at Aachen

Dutch Adelinde Cornelissen placed second for the third time during the Aachen show week. Aboard the 11-year old Dutch warmblood gelding Parzival (by Jazz) she showed gorgeous movements, but her ride could have been executed more to perfection. The first extended trot was not ridden to the fullest, the pirouette left should have been more forward and when Cornelissen collected her horse, the half halts in his mouth were unsubtle; the rider hanging into the reins. The piaffe and passage, however, were gorgeous and the flying changes straight and big. The suppleness and suspension of this horse are breath taking. The combination scored 77.500%, placing first with Dutch judge Fouarge and and fifth with German judge Riexinger.

"It is certainly no disgrace being placed behind Isabell Werth," the 28-year-old Dutch girl said. "Unfortunately, we didn't qualify at the trials in the Netherlands, because Parzival was very spooky. But he seems to feel comfortable here in Aachen and I'd certainly like to come back."

Adelinde's kur feels very amateurish. Though catchy beats mark the piaffe and passage well, most of the tunes make one long string of sound. She has only performed her freestyle based on rock'n'roll melodies four times. "It is not too difficult yet technically speaking, but we will constantly increase the degree of difficulty," she commented.

Swiss Olympic Rebel Silvia Ikle Finished Third

Swiss Olympic rebel Silvia Ikle had her act together in Aachen. With Hansruedi Geissmann's Swiss bred Salieri (by Sinklair x Lysander), Ikle showed textbook exercises in the ring. Her steady, soft contact with the bit resulted in a Happy Athlete performance with highlights in the piaffe and passage. They finished third with 77.350% The piaffe and passage were performed to perfection in rhythm, regularity and relaxation. The pirouettes could not have been any smaller, but could have had more jump and lift in the shoulder. Though the contact is usually always light, Salieri repetitively flicks with his tongue. It doesn't hang outside, but in the kur it showed regularly on the right side of his mouth.

Ikle's music is delightful. The piaffe and passage are ridden to the greatest tango music and the straight one tempi changes on the centerline are executed on fun carnaval samba tunes.

"Salieri presented himself in a solid form," Ikle said. "After a good Grand Prix, an excellent Special followed and today in the Kur he totally gave himself. I'm in very happy with the performances of my horse," Ikle added.

The Swiss rider withdrew from Olympic participation in the winter 2008 because she believes the Games, the travelling and quarantaine procedures are too hard on the physical health of her horse. The result was that the Swiss Equestrian Federation decided that it was no longer useful to send an entire Swiss Dressage Team to the Games. All other Swiss riders were refused an Olympic entry. "It wasn't an easy decision to take, but I made it very consciously and in my opinion it was the right decision," Ikle added.

Isabell Werth Also Wins Two CDI-Tour Classes with Warum Nicht

While the CDIO Grand Prix classes took center stage at the 2008 CDIO Aachen, high quality dressage tests were executed in the CDI tour. Isabell Werth and Madeleine Winter-Schulze's Hanoverian gelding Warum Nicht FRH (by Weltmeyer) won the Grand Prix and Special with top percentage scores.

In the Grand Prix, Warum Nicht excelled in his extensions and half passes, but he got stuck in the pirouette right and none of his halts were square. When an elementary, basic level rider does not ride a square halt, he will get a penal 4 or 5. When Isabell does not halt squarely, she scores 7s and 8s and in the final halt even a 9 from judge Furuoka. Werth scored 75.042% and placed almost a full 4% ahead of the second placed combination.

"Hannes was brilliant, " Werth commented. "We only made a small mistake in the pirouette, but otherwise I was completely satisfied. He wanted to start too soon."

Werth opted to ride the Grand Prix Special, which she won as well with 73.280% though her ride was not fault-free. The 12-year-old Warum Nicht erred in the tempi changes, just like he did at the 2008 World Cup Finals. Werth was quite critical about her winning ride. "Unfortunately, I made several mistakes in the flying-changes, which were definitely down to a lack in my concentration."

Anky van Grunsven Wins CDI Kur to Music with Painted Black

Dutch Anky van Grunsven only brought her second horse Painted Black (by Gribaldi x Ferro) to Aachen. Her rides on the compact licensed KWPN stallion resulted in a third place in the Grand Prix (71.042%) and the victory in the CDI Grand Prix Kur (76.800%).

As soon as double Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven appears in the ring, confusion seems to strike the judges panel. In the Grand Prix, the Dutch diva made two small mistakes which caused the judges to hyperventilate: For a loss of rhythm in the second extended trot she still earned a 7 from judge Withages and for an unscripted, early flying change on the diagonal following the extended canter the panel awarded marks between 4 and 8! The first extended trot was powerful and engaged and earned her 9s. The extended walk was just ok with one hoof overtrack, but the piaffe and passage were good. Anky's ride on Painted Black was energetic and engaged, but the mouth of the horse was wide open in the half passes and every time Anky collects him for a movement, his ears flatten, he looks grumpy and grinds his teeth loudly. The "happy athlete" was not at Aachen.

"Painted went well, but there were moments that it didn't go smoothly," Anky commented. "I had a mistake in the rhythm in the medium trot and he changed sooner than I expected after the extension. I didn't enter the piaffe-passage tour that well, but in the final piaffe he was super."

Anky recovered in the Grand Prix Kur to Music and made no major mistakes. She chose to ride her former kur makers', Slings & Kerkhof, absolutely gorgeous Tango Kur and won with 76.800%. The contact with the mouth was not optimal which Anky confirmed in her own statement. "I was pleased that we made no mistakes. But Painted Black's head carriage was not good the whole time, which bothered me somewhat. I think it resulted from his inner tension," said the mother of two. 

German, Spanish and Danish Olympic Team Announced at Aachen

The German Equestrian Federation, German chef d'equipe Martin Richterhagen and German team trainer Holger Schmezer announced the German Olympic Dressage Team in a press conference at the CDIO Aachen.

The German Olympic Team includes:

  • Isabell Werth - Satchmo (Hann, Sao Paulo x Legat)
  • Nadine Capellmann - Elvis VA (Hann, Espri x Garibaldi II)
  • Heike Kemmer - Bonaparte (Hann, Bon Bonaparte x Consul) Reserve: Monica Theodorescu - Whisper (BaWu, Welt Hit I x Weltstar) 


Danish team trainer Rudolf Zeilinger and the Danish Equestrian Federation announced the the Danish Olympic team.

The Danish Olympic Team includes:

  • Andreas Helgstrand - Blue Hors Don Schufro
  • Nathalie zu Saeyn Wittgenstein - Digby
  • Anne van Olst - Clearwater Reserve rider: Anders Dahl - Afrikka  

"Anders is a good athlete and he totally understands my decision," Rudolf Zeilinger said. "The team produced good results here in Aachen and we'll take Don Schufro to Hong Kong as he can give us extra points."


The Spanish Equestrian Federation (RFHE) and Spanish chef d'equipe Jan Bemelmans announced the Spanish Olympic Team

The Spanish Olympic Team includes:

  • Juan Manuel Muñoz Diaz - Fuego XII
  • Beatriz Ferrer Salat - Fabergé
  • Jordi Domingo - Prestige
    Reserve: Juan Matute -Wie Atlantico 


Spain will be represented in Hong Kong with a full team as four Spanish riders were able to qualify throuh individual ranking. It will be the first Olympics for Munoz Diaz and Domingo, Ferrer-Salat already two medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics with Beauvalais. It will be the first Games for her horse Faberge (by Falkland). Spain's reserve rider Juan Matute was part of the Spanish team in Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996) and was the first Spanish dressage rider to participate in an Olympics.


More CDIO Aachen coverage at Eurodressage.com

Text and Photos copyrighted: Astrid Appels/Eurodressage.com

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