With the gorgeous Wiesbaden castle as backdrop for the international dressage competition CDI Wiesbaden, did Rafael Soto and Isabell Werth excite the crowds by winning the big tour classes. The Spanish Rafael Soto Andrade won the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Kur to Music. Riding the Andalusian breeding stallion Invasor, Soto conquered the Grand Prix with 72,00%, beating German Hubertus Schmidt on the French bred Galant du Serein (69.17%). Finishing third in that class was American Guenter Seidel on his number one mount Nikolaus, a Westfalian gelding by Weinberg. The pair scored 68.88%. Steffen Peters followed in eighth place on his Dutch bred Grandeur (by John U to Berry xx) with 67.83%
In the Freestyle, Soto reigned supreme with 77.97 %, while Isabell Werth followed in a distance in second place (73.76%). Werth saddled her Oldenburg Alabaster offspring Apache OLD for that class and beat Seidel on Nikolaus, who ended third with 73.34%. Steffen Peters improved his act in the kur and with a lovely 71.02%, the Californian resident ended seventh in a field of top European competitors.
Although the change to Madeleine Winter Schulze's training stable forced former Olympic champion Isabell Werth to built up new partnerships with "green" FEI horses, Werth already seemed to have found a Gigolo-replacement in the Hanoverian Satchmo. Winning both the Grand Prix (for Special) and Grand Prix Special, Werth bested a group of 19 competitors. In the Grand Prix, Werth and Satchmo got the blue for a 72.54% test while Danish Lone Jorgenssen had to be content with 72.04% and a second place.
In fourth position were Debbie McDonald and Brentina. For the Grand Prix, the combination was not in their usual top shape, but the stressful travelling from Goteborg (April) to Del Mar (May) to Wiesbaden (June) in barely three months time can be partially accounted for that. The mare's busy schedule seemed to have taken too great a toll and with "only" 69.88 % the duo ranked fourth. Guenter Seidel and his number two Grand Prix horse Aragon placed seventh (67.29%) while George Williams and his black Rocher ended eighth with 66.67%.
In the Grand Prix Special, Werth dazzled the crowds with her bay gelding Satchmo and with 74.04% they took home their second trophy of the show. Dutch Ellen Bontje and her good-old Gestion Silvano N (by Sylvester) are still in their prime. With 73.40% they placed second and were one percent ahead of Debbie McDonald. Brentina was more relaxed in the Special and McDonald was much more able to highlight the mare's strenghts. With 72.40% McDonald scored considerably higher than her team mates. Williams and Rocher got 67.20% from the panel of judges and finished seventh right in front of Seidel on Aragon (66.80%).
In the small tour, Nadine Capellmann swept the score board with her newest acquisition Bouton, a Hanoverian gelding by Bolero, who Capelmann bought in 1999 but who has been scarsely shown. With 70.30% in the Prix St Georges and 72.85% in the Intermediaire I, Capellmann was twice ahead of Monica Theodorescu on Cooper.
Mary Phelps and JJ Hathaway were live at the CDI Wiesbaden. Surf to dressagedaily.com and horsesdaily.com daiy as coverage of their 2003 Euro-tour continues to grow.