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Now while Dressage is possibly the furthest you can get from George R.R. Martin's masterpiece, there is certainly no middle ground when it comes to the FEI World Cup™ Final in Dressage, as only one rider of eighteen will come away from the arena as victor.
And with the recent retirement of Valegro, the competition is going to be red hot as the remaining riders and horses battle it out for top honours in Omaha.
Last year’s winner, Hans Peter Minderhoud, won the final World Cup qualifier in his home country of the Netherlands at s-Hertogenbosch with a beautiful test and a personal best Freestyle score on Glock’s Flirt - and obviously will be looking to defend his title this year.
Even with Hans Peter’s incredible performance at s-Hertogenbosch, Isabell Werth remains the rider to beat in Omaha.
She has been in incredible form and has qualified top of the Western European league, traditionally one of the strongest leagues with the imposing presence of Germany, The Netherlands, Great Britain and the Scandinavian nations.
...but as any Dressage fan will know – you have to watch out for almost any rider with a German or Dutch flag alongside their name.
American dressage fans can look forward to the presence of Laura Graves, who’s had a meteoric rise since starting to compete at Grand Prix level in 2014.
This has included an individual fourth and team bronze in Rio last year, along with fifth place at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2014 and a fourth place at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals in 2015.
If you have to move away from your TV, definitely don’t do it when Laura Graves’ test starts, because she is in with a real chance of claiming her first World Cup medal this year.
Laura is a rider to watch not only for 2017, but for many years to come.
We wouldn’t expect a win from Dressage’s most likeable character, but he will turn in a solid performance and garner appreciation and praise from his loyal fans.
And then there’s Judy Reynolds, the first Irish rider to qualify for the World Cup Finals.
We don’t expect her to finish with a medal – but she did Ireland proud in Rio last year and has had a very solid run through the qualifiers. Podium finish or not, her test will be a fun one to watch.
When it comes to the final scoreboards though, we’d wager our money on seeing Isabell Werth at the top.
Text by Sophie Kate Baker
Images by Liz Gregg, RIchard Juilliart & Cara Grimshaw