Dressage Finalists Take up the Gauntlet for FEI Rolex WC™ Final Dressage in Las Vegas

Monday, April 13, 2009
Posted by Christy


The highest level ever can be expected at the 24th FEI WC™ Final Dressage in Las Vegas, starting next week. Overlooking the present World Cup™ season, in Europe, the three victories of Adelinde Cornelissen, the four victories of Isabell Werth and the strong rides of Anky van Grunsven aboard IPS Painted Black immediately come to mind. However, there are more serious contenders to keep an eye on. In the USA, Steffen Peters and his Ravel have simply improved since their Olympic debut. In great form, they reached a record score in the Grand Prix in Wellington in February. A growing state also can be recognized in Olympic contenders Dutch Hans Peter Minderhoud with his mare Exquis Nadine and Canadian Ashley Holzer showing Pop Art. The last pair have impressed merely with wins in Florida this spring. Olympic reserve Monica Theodorescu, one of the first enthusiastic contenders in the FEI World™ Cup, having won the Final twice, in 1993 and 1994, showing her impressive black Ganimedes, is now back in full strength with her talented Whisper. She will take up all challenges and perform as best as possible.

Isabell Werth Likes the Challenge

Best final ever. Considering all finalists, this FEI WC™ Dressage Final might not be a Final with the two dressage queens Werth and Van Grunsven fighting each other only. More participants may actually be able to take up the gauntlet. Isabell Werth has won the Final twice, in 1992 with her great mare Fabienne and in 2007 riding her big chestnut Warum Nicht FRH. For the 2009 WC™ Final she will saddle her individual Olympic silver medallist Satchmo. She agrees with the openness of competition: “And I like it! Anyone who really knows me, will have witnessed that I never walk away from challenges in competition. Satchmo and I have built on our mutual trust and form and we’ll see what that will bring now.”

Las Vegas Means Special Memories to Anky van Grunsven


Title defender Anky van Grunsven has not been allowed to bring Olympic gold medallist IPS Salinero to Las Vegas, due to regulations. However, although a stallion and probably not as imperturbable as most geldings, IPS Painted Black can in fact set top performances, not to be ignored either. “Due to a serious pause for IPS Salinero after the Olympic Games and due to suddenly occurring back problems of myself, I have not been able to start IPS Salinero twice in this WC™ series. Although I was disappointed in the beginning, I don’t believe it’s worth arguing about. But you can count on me giving the best I can! I love going back to Vegas!”, Anky explains, who also has special memories of the place, as she got married to Sjef Janssen in Las Vegas two years ago.

Youngest finalist Adelinde Cornelissen still hasn’t left the feeling of new surprises in her life behind her. “I left for my first  WC™ Qualifier this season in Stockholm without any special expectations. But Parzival and I immediately took the win, which included a car! It was far more then I had ever dreamt of, absolutely superb!”, Adelinde expresses.  She has no special expectations from competing in the final, all but to do her very best and try and do what she can. “I live one day at a time and try and do as good as possible”, she summarizes.

Katrina Wüst: Heroes and Emotions Belong to Dressage…


German judge Katrina Wüst expects the 24th FEI Rolex WC™ Final Dressage in Las Vegas to become the strongest Final ever. “Look at the field of all competitors!”, the German judge says who is a member of the FEI dressage Task Force as well. “I am looking forward to the Final very much. Beautiful dressage is also about sharing emotions. And dressage loves celebrating its heroes. The official Farewell ceremony for American heroine Brentina and the last show appearance of European hero Briar in the arena, that’s also what for me makes this 24th World Cup™ Final into a complete and emotional dressage party, celebrating top sport and its heroes!”

Best of Three Worlds Breeders Meeting April 17 at the World Cup Finals




The Swedish Studbook (ASVH) welcomes guests to a unique breeders’meeting at the Thomas & Mack Arena on Friday April 17. The event kicks off at 8:00 a.m. sharp during the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas. The Swedish Studbook, in cooperation with Karin Reid Offield, owner of the breeding stallion Lingh, invites everyone interested in learning about breeding to attend this great event. Join us 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. at arena section 227, balcony level. 

Edward Gal showed Lingh to the Grand Prix win in Las Vegas. Lingh belongs to Offield now and Gal now will ride the talented Wynton in a special show in Las Vegas Picture Louise Davidson

Breeding has become an essential part of the modern equestrian culture and the 2009 ASVH Breeders’ Meeting showcases the best of the three worlds and will hopefully create a new way of including breeders in international equestrian events in the future. The ASVH hopes to create an inspiring experience for breeders across borders. Best of Three Worlds has been chosen for the theme for this meeting as international guests arrive from Sweden, the Netherlands, and, of course, the U.S.A. The vice president of the studbook’s Stallion Committee, Jan-Ove Olsson, will represent the ASVH in Las Vegas.






Attendees will enjoy the unique behind the scènes setting of the early morning warm-up of the World Cup Finals, which was arranged with the help of Las Vegas Events, producers of the show. Attendees must have a ticket to the dressage session on Friday to attend the breeders’meeting. The box office will open at 8:00 a.m.on Friday morning for last minute ticket sales.

A breeding to Briar 899 has been donated by the stallion’s breeder and owner Hans-Yngve Göransson Photo Credit: Dressage Training Online

As special invited guest speakers, the Royal Dutch Warmblood Studbook (KWPN)  and the Swedish Warmblood Association of North America (SWANA) will share information about their systems and organizations. Points of interest include the future development of the American sporthorse breeding market and how to encourage young equestrians to become breeders.

Meeting attendees have a chance to win a County Saddle, the saddle recommended by the winner of the 2005 Las Vegas World Cup Grand Prix, the stallion Lingh himself. In addition, a breeding to Briar 899 has been donated by the stallion’s breeder and owner Hans-Yngve Göransson. Briar has competed in eight World Cups, three Olympic Games, four European Championships and two World Championships. Briar will officially say goodbye to the World at his last show appearance in Las Vegas.





Trilogy Dressage Saddles Honors Brentina at Retirement Ceremony






Trilogy Dressage Saddles, a longtime sponsor of World Cup Dressage Champion Debbie McDonald, will bid a proper farewell to McDonald’s World Cup partner Brentina during the world-champion horse’s official retirement ceremony at the FEI World Cup in Las Vegas.

Trilogy Saddles will honor Brentina, the only U.S. horse to ever win the Dressage World Cup Final, with a special cooler during the retirement ceremony. “We have supported Debbie and Brentina for many years and we are looking forward to being part of her retirement ceremony,” said Deborah Witty, President of Performance Saddlery, the makers of Trilogy Saddles. 

Part of Performance Saddlery’s ongoing relationship with McDonald includes a line of saddles called the Debbie McDonald Signature Series, which features The Debbie McDonald Dressage Saddle and The Debbie Special, designed for the petite rider. “The Debbie Special was developed so that the saddle would accommodate a rider that is physically unable to establish their position in a regular size saddle because there is just too much leather and saddle surrounding them. Instead everything is tailored to suit the smaller in stature so that they can effectively put their leg on the horse, shift their seat bones and communicate clearly to the horse without the bulk of the saddle getting in the way,” Witty said.

For more information on Trilogy Saddles, visit their website at www.trilogysaddles.com.

Performance Saddlery, makers of Trilogy Dressage Saddles, will host autograph sessions with FEI World Cup Champion Debbie McDonald during the World Cup in Las Vegas and honor Brentina with a special cooler during Brentina’s retirement ceremony at the World Cup™ Final Las Vegas next week. (Photo courtesy Elma Garcia)




Marco Bernal Wins Fourth Halter In Style





Columbian dressage rider Marco Bernal will be debuting in next week’s FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas, just as Australian Heath Ryan, Dutch Adelinde Cornelissen and American Jan Ebeling. The well dressed Columbian rider Marco Bernal and his handsome Trakehner stallion Halbgott have become an almost unbeatable combination when it comes to the CDI jogs throughout West Palm Beach’s winter dressage circuit. Bernal and Halbgott trotted away with another win at the recent WEF Dressage Classic CDI-W, winning already their fourth beautiful leather Vespucci halter in the jog sponsored by The Paddock Saddlery and World Equestrian Brands.

“It’s a fun competition before the serious riding begins,” Bernal said about the jog. “It really gets the handlers looking professional and since these CDI’s are international events, it is important to present a professional image.”  Bernal’s professional appearance on the international circuit may serve him well again next week in Las Vegas as he has been selected to compete at the 2009 FEI World Cup Finals. 

In the end, Bernal said he couldn’t take all of the credit for his “dress to success” look and the fact that he has now won four Vespucci halters. “My wife and children give input and usually have the final say,” he said.

Bernal and Halbgott have become the team to beat as they have won four halters this season with their jog. Here they show off one of their won Vespucci halters which was sponsored by The Paddock Saddlery and World Equestrian Brands Photo courtesy of JRPR, Inc.