The 2023 FEI Dressage World CupTM Final presented by Havensafe Farm gave us a glimpse of the competition as the arena familiarization and Horse Inspection both took place Wednesday, April 4.
Today was the second day of arena familiarization for the dressage riders. The original 17 riders dropped to 16 riders. Alisa Glinka of Moldova and Aachen did not make the trip due to paperwork concerns. The rider and horse combinations were divided into groups of two or three. Each group had 30 minutes to ride in the CHI Health Center Omaha coliseum, site of the FEI World CupTM Finals in Omaha, Nebraska, April 4-8.
Early Dressage Schooling Sessions
The first two competitors in the arena were Germany’s Ingrid Klimke with Franziskus FRH and the Netherland’s Marieke Van Der Putten with Torveslettens Titanium RS2. Klimke’s eventing roots showed through with her riding in two-point position while cantering the 15-year-old stallion around the warm-up arena. She then proceeded with more collected work in the competition arena. The Hanoverian stallion had a tremendous amount of presence and was clearly on his toes.
American Alice Tarjan, riding her own Serenade MF, was part of the second group. This is the first World Cup appearance for both rider and horse. The 10-year-old mare, an American-bred Hanoverian, may be relatively small in stature, but she appeared relaxed and confident in the arena. Alice admitted to being nervous. “Shrimp,” as Serenade is affectionately known because of her smaller stature, “is a good girl. Hopefully I can do her justice.”
The defending FEI Dressage World CupTM Final Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl from Germany and TSF Dalera BB were in the third group. The lovely Trakehner mare exuded professionalism as she worked through the movements. The two of them together are a quintessentially elegant, but quietly understated pair.
Among the next group was USA’s AnnA Buffini and FRH Davinia la Douce. This pair made their World Cup debut last year and clinched the last spot on the U.S. team at the final qualifier in Wellington, Florida. The chestnut mare looked a little bit tense at the beginning of the ride but settled nicely as the ride continued.
Experienced Final Dressage Group
The last two riders to go were the most experienced of them all. Between the two of them, they possibly have more experience than much of the rest of the field combined. Germany’s legendary Isabell Werth riding DSP Quantaz and the USA’s Steffen Peters, a crowd favorite making his sixth World Cup appearance, riding Suppenkasper wrapped up the morning for dressage.
The two riders were extremely focused, and at times came perilously close to one another. Werth’s mount, a 13-year-old German Sport Horse, seemed tense and bold throughout much of the ride. In contrast, Peters’ horse, affectionately known as “Mopsie”, was relaxed even when the crowd cheered for him. Peters said they had a great work today and that Mopsie still has a lot of energy. “If he goes that well tomorrow, I’ll be thrilled,” he said.
Dressage Horse Inspection
The Ground Jury, led by Ground Jury President Janey Foy, passed all 16 horses. One horse, Dinja Van Liere’s mount Hermes, was held for reinspection at the end. The dark bay stallion was difficult to trot in-hand as he was excessively fussy, but he was passed after the reinspection. The USA horses finished out the day all being quiet and relaxed for their presentation.
Thanks to Vita Flex for sponsoring our coverage of the FEI Dressage World CupTM presented by Havensafe Farm.