Dressage at WEG:
What You Need
to Know

06 September 2018

Let's take a closer look at what the Dressage competition has to offer at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ and which athletes should be on your radar...

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ are almost here and fans from across the globe are about to descend upon the North Carolina town of Tryon.


The Dressage will be held over four days and the world’s top riders and horses will be piaffing and pirouetting their hearts out for a chance at a medal.


The final day is arguably the most exciting, featuring the Grand Prix Freestyle which decides the individual medals.


The competition is looking strong this year, and Germany in particular have put forward a formidable team with Isabell Werth, Sonke Rothenberger, Dorothee Schneider and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl..


Rothenberger in particular is on a roll and could post some very high scores...

The choice of Werth’s horse, Bellissimo M daughter Bella Rose II has raised some eyebrows given the passing up of both Weihegold and Emilio in favour of the mare who Werth is backing as her top contender, despite what the rankings say.


Bella Rose 2 has returned to competition after nearly four years away from the ring due to injury.


She is so far unbeaten on comeback, but has not scored as highly as European gold medallist and twice World Cup victor Weihegold, with whom Werth is ranked number one in the world…with Emilio and Werth ranked second.


She also lies seventh on Don Johnson, so the inclusion of Bella Rose over Werth’s top horses is an interesting decision. Whether it pays off in Tryon remains to be seen, but one can never write off the queen of dressage.


Other interesting teams to follow include Great Britain, where both Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin have been named on promising young horses; Hawtins Delicato and MSJ Freestyle respectively.


Admittedly the horses are both young inexperienced at this level, but are being piloted by riders who could easily rock the boat. Unsurprisingly, Edward Gal has been named to the Dutch team on Glock’s Zonick, alongside Madeleine Witte-Vrees and Hans Peter Minderhoud.


Denmark have sadly lost their best chance at a medal after top performer and world number four Cathrine Dufour was forced to withdraw due to horse injury.


Sweden’s main contender would be Patrik Kittel, who has recently been training with Werth herself.


The French have taken a surprising stance by opting not to send a team to the Games.


Team USA features stalwart of the sport Steffen Peters as well as standout performer Laura Graves, who is currently ranked third in the world.


We would expect to see team Germany taking top honours, possibly followed by Great Britain or The Netherlands – but for now, the silver and bronze medallists are looking very tough to call.

Never write
off the Queen
of Dressage

Who will challenge Werth to the top spot?

Individual medal contenders would include US rising star Graves aboard Verdades, as well as Rothenberger and his top horse Cosmo.


Both of these young riders stand a good chance of challenging Werth to the top spot, especially with Dufour out of the running.


All eyes will be on Dujardin who will be there to prove that she’s more than just a one hit wonder with a comeback to top international levels after retiring Valegro. Given her propensity to turn out stellar performances when it really matters, fellow competitors should see her as a dark horse.


Where medal contenders would normally be clear, the 2018 World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon are shaping up to be the sort of show where it really is anyone’s game.


With the shock inclusion of Bella Rose, the outside contender of Dujardin and Hester, the withdrawal of Dufour and the rising stars of Rothenberger and Graves one thing is for sure: the WEG medals are going to be very, very hotly contested.


Tune in to all the action of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 Dressage on FEI TV, and cheer for your favourite athletes!


Text by Sophie Baker