Two weeks ago, the Partner Pferd horse show in Leipzig, Germany, hosted four World Cup finals after two years of pandemic pause. It’s time for a visual lookback at the thrilling dressage and jumping finals.
By: Madeleine D. Bergsjø
Turning 30 this year, the swiss rider is already one of the biggest names in the sport. A recent individual silver and team gold medallist at the FEI European Championship of last year, another individual silver from the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games and a second place behind teammate Steve Guerdat at the last World Cup Final in Gothenburg in 2019, young Martin Fuchs came to Leipzig with a serious mission. He describes his now retired top horse Clooney as the most talented horse he has ever had, but coming out of the price ceremony in Leipzig, he reminisces back to how the 15 year old KWPN Chaplin felt like a very expensive sports car the first time he rode him.
“Chaplin is just the biggest fighter; he doesn’t have the ability that Clooney has but at the end he always gives everything […] Last year he started breeding, so in the last weeks we got a lot of pictures of new Chaplin babies. That was exciting, and now to come here and win the World Cup Final with him.”Martin Fuchs
Reigning World Cup champion Steve Guerdat was in Leipzig with a mission to both defend his title from 2019 and make history as the first four-time champion of the jumping final. The previous world number one ended the weekend in Germany on 17 penalties and an 11thplace on the overall ranking on his chestnut Victorio des Frotards.At the press conference after his big win, Fuchs revealed the motivational words Guerdat presented him after the first round where they had a disappointing 5 and 13 penalties respectively: “Congratulations!”, Steve said, “now you must win on Sunday after what you did today”.
Only early in their twenties, mates Harry Charles and Jack Whitaker placed 4thand 5thafter delivering solid rounds all weekend. While the ambitious leader of the FEI Longines U25 Ranking Charles was somewhat disappointed with finishing only one penalty outside the podium, Jack was thrilled placing fifth. With the white stallion Equine America Valmy De La Lande, they became the only pair to not touch a single fence all weekend.
After her achievements at last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, was there really any doubt about who would become the dressage World Cup Champion in Leipzig? Still, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl faced serious competition on German ground with queen of dressage, Isabell Werth, and Danish Dufour right on her impressively shiny, riding boot heels.
Jessica and TSF Dalera BB’s final freestyle scored a massive 90,836% – securing their World Cup win more than four percent ahead of Dufour on Vamos Amigos and Werth on Weihegold OLD. While Werth’s Weihegold did his last freestyle before retirement, the pregnant Jessica was emotional before her maternity leave from the sport, but also more motivated than ever to come back to her top position in the sport.
“There are no words! She was phenomenal! She always leaves her heart for me in that square and it’s not natural at all, and at the same time she does it again and again. I have the feeling, even now, that we are not yet at the end of our journey together!”Jessica von Bredow Werndl
“When we are competing together it always feels like team competition. Thanks for the moments, the fun and congrats on all of your success, Nanna Merrald and Cathrine Dufour”, Danish Carina Krueth wrote after placing fourth, just ahead of Danish dressage colleague Nanna Merrald.