Omaha, Nebraska - Isabell Werth of Germany, the most decorated dressage rider in Olympic history, performed in the main arena at the FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha 2017 on Friday afternoon, but in a different capacity.
Instead of competing, Werth headlined the "Young Horses to Grand Prix with Olympic Champion Isabell Werth, presented by the Dressage Foundation". The event demonstrated the process of taking young horses to Grand Prix level and it was the first time Werth had ever taken part in an exhibition of this type in the U.S.
Werth is renowned for her ability to ride and train horses for the sport of dressage. This past Thursday, she won the FEI World Cup™ Final Dressage Grand Prix competition on her Olympic mount Weihegold OLD. In the event, Werth rode to an impressive score of 82.300%, the only entry to score above 80 percent.
The Young Horses to Grand Prix exhibition featured four horses, two young 5-7 year-olds, a Small Tour horse and a young Grand Prix horse. Werth explained her training methods and the stepping stones she took in bringing a young horse up the levels to the highest level of dressage - the Grand Prix.
"We showed what was involved in taking a young horse from the beginning of his career to the highest level of dressage, that of the Grand Prix level," said Werth. "We wanted to inform the public about the process, the challenges and the steps involved in training a horse to reach the pinnacle of dressage."
The Dressage Showcase also featured Tristan Tucker, an Australian horsemanship guru, who entertained the public with "Fun Dressage". Para riders Katie Jackson and Annie Peavy performed dressage movements and "Fun Freestyles" were performed by Lynn Palm, a top competitor in Western Dressage; Sabine Schut-Kery, a Gold medalist at the 2015 Pan American Games; Missy Fladland, a local Small Tour competitor; and Barbara "Bebe" Davis, the highest ranked U.S. Young Rider.
Following the opening ceremony, Devoucoux introduced their new dressage saddle, the Makila Harmonie. This ground-breaking saddle is the first to use a Dynamick® saddle tree, enabling a new and thoroughly modern way of riding. As part of the unveiling, international dressage rider Monica Burssens (MEX) rode in the saddle that Devoucoux believes will revolutionize the dressage world.
The FEI World Cup™ Finals are equestrian sports' top annual indoor championship for jumping and dressage horses and draws the top names in the sport, including Olympic, World and European Champions. The 2017 FEI World Cup™ Finals at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha include the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final and the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final and will be the biggest event on this year's international equestrian calendar. Riders representing 27 countries are competing in two Olympic disciplines in front of more than 60,000 fans from all 50 states and 20 countries.
For more information about the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha, hotel information and to purchase tickets, please go to www.OmahaWorldCup2017.com.