Germany’s Isabell Werth won the dressage title at the FEI World Cup Finals for the fifth time on Saturday.
The 49-year-old, the most successful equestrian athlete of all time, steered her 13-year-old mare, Weihegold OLD, to victory with a score of 88.871, completing a hat-trick of back-to-back titles with this horse.
America’s Laura Graves pushed her all the way but had to settle for the second place with Verdades on 87.179 while Werth’s compatriot and 2013 FEI Dressage World Cup champion Helen Langehanenberg finished third with Damsey FRH on 86.571.
Werth, a six-time Olympic gold medalist, said, “My ride was really fantastic. My mare did a perfect test and she really deserved the win.”
Werth, who also won eight gold medals at the World Equestrian Games and 12 from European Championships, vowed to fight on for the Tokyo Olympic Games even though she has been competing some of the riders who were born after she had won her first Olympic gold medal in 1992.
“I live what I do…and this is what keeps me so competitive.”
“The sport has changed a lot since I won my first final (27 years ago),” Werth said. “We now have such a professional team around us, and there are great improvements on all sides. It is very important for us to keep the respect for the horse for the future and it’s great to see so many older horses still performing at this level. It shows how well they are cared for and how much respect their riders have for them.”
Graves said of her 17-year-old horse, “Like Isabell said it is our duty to take care of our horses and try to keep them healthy. My horse likes his job and never puts a foot wrong when I ride him, although at the barn he knows he’s the boss.”