Isabell Werth made it a back-to-back double of victories when winning the second leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series at Lyon in France. Just five days ago the German rider topped the opening round at Odense, Denmark with a great performance from Satchmo, and tonight she brought out her 2007 series champion Warum Nicht to head the line-up once again.

“I was really satisfied with Hannes tonight,” she said, referring to her 14 year old chestnut gelding. “He had a lot of power and he felt very impressive,” she added.

Runner-up was her compatriot and another former World Cup champion Ulla Salzgeber whose 11 year old gelding Herzruf’s Erbe has re-opened the door into the very top level of this demanding sport for his 52 year old rider. Salzgeber, who was Dressage World Cup champion in 2001 and 2002 with the legendary Rusty, has been waiting patiently in the wings for another special ride. “After I retired Rusty I always said I would only come back when I had a horse that was good enough to go the top again, and now I have one!” she said proudly after finishing less than one full mark behind the winning score.  Third place went to the very pleased Valentina Truppa from Italy with Chablis. “This is my very first World Cup competition, so I am very happy with my result!” said the rider who competes in the uniform of the Caribinieri.

The Lyon start-list included competitors from eight nations, but it was the host country’s Marc Boblet and Whitni Star who were in the lead after the opening group of seven riders had completed their Freestyle tests.  The Frenchman’s 11 year old gelding bounced into the arena and produced lovely extended trot and smooth and easy canter changes, his presence and lightness creating a charming picture.  However their score of 70.40 was always going to be beatable.  Boblet said afterwards that the sport has changed a lot over the last two to three years and the demands are correspondingly different – “the style required now is more dynamic, but I feel I’m making progress and I’m happy with my horse today” he pointed out.

As the final group of riders took their turn, The Netherlands’ Christa Laarakkers went into pole position when scoring 73.95 with Divoza Horseworld Ovation. Their test improved with every movement and was brought to a close with some attention-seeking passage, and although Great Britain’s Richard Davison followed with a crowd-pleasing performance from Hiscox Artemis it was the Dutch rider who still held the advantage with five horses left to go.

Salzgeber’s big chestnut gelding Herzruf’s Erbe however shot to the top of the leaderboard with a mark of 78.850 after a sparkling test.  He powered into the arena and produced great extended trot and passage.  He put a huge effort into his piaffe and never stopped trying to please his rider who knows that this is a horse with great potential.  She couldn’t stop smiling about him all night.  “This was the first time in his life for him to be in this kind of atmosphere, it’s the first time he has ever competed indoors and he has so little experience at this level – I’m delighted with him!” she said.

Truppa came next with her 13 year old chestnut gelding Chablis who scored 74.50 for the rider who is based in Asti near Torino in Italy, and Salzgeber’s advantage still didn’t look to be in danger when Belgium’s Claudia Fassaert and the expressive Donnerfee put 70.70 on the board, but from the moment Werth and Warum Nicht set off they had “winners” written all over them.  The big gelding was edgy during his preparation outside the arena, but once inside he threw himself into his task, producing passage and piaffe of the highest calibre and executing canter changes that were crisp and clean.  There were a couple of spooky moments, but he didn’t allow them to spoil the overall picture of a horse that was right on top of his game and a rider who knew that she had another win under her belt.  And although the spectators were disappointed with the score of 70.70 given to the final competitor, Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat who had to settle for sixth place with her black gelding Faberge, they greeted their winner with a roar of appreciation during the prize-giving ceremony.

Werth now plans to take a break from the Reem Acra FEI World Cup? qualifiers until Frankfurt in December.  “My next international competition will be at Stuttgart and Munich where I will ride my younger horses El Santo and Don Johnson – I’m very excited about Don Johnson” she admitted, “and I’m playing around with the options of where to take him next, he’s really coming along very well”.  She added that she is hoping El Santo will be ready to do a World Cup qualifier “next year”.  And she was very proud of her “Hannes” (Warum Nicht) tonight.

“I’m looking forward to Frankfurt now, and that will be my last big competition for the year because after that is Christmas!” she pointed out.  Christmas, it seems, will be a family time so, with another good day’s work behind her, she rose from the table after tonight’s Press Conference and, walking over to the buggy in which her beautiful year-old blonde baby son Frederick was enjoying a good snooze, she wheeled him away with an air of quiet satisfaction.

The next leg of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup? series takes place in Stockholm (SWE), 26-28 November.  For all information on the Swedish fixture go to website or contact Press Officer Lotta Amnestal, Email: [email protected] Phone: + 46 709 79 56 35.

1. Warum Nicht FRH (Isabell Werth) GER 80.150
2. Herzruf’s Erbe (Ulla Salzgeber) GER 78.850
3. Chablis (Valentina Truppa) ITA 74.500
4. Divoza Horseworld Ovation (Christa Laarakkers) NED 74.050
5. Hiscox Artemis (Richard Davison) GBR 72.950
6. Faberge (Baetriz Ferrer-Salat) ESP 70.700
7. Donnerfee (Claudia Fassaert) BEL 70.700
8. Whitni Star (Marc Boblet) FRA 70.400
9. Withney Van-t Genthof (Stefan van Ingelgem) BEL 70.250
10. Apollo Van Het Vijverhof (Jeroen Devroe) BEL 69.950.

Facts and Figures
– Today’s competition was the second leg of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup? Dressage series.
– The members of the Ground Jury were – At E, Mrs. Isabelle Judet (FRA); At H, Dr Deitrich Plewa (GER); At C, Mrs Isobel Wessles (GBR); At M, Mr Ghislain Fouarge (NED); At B, Dr Wojciech Markowski.
– The top French fixture at Lyon was granted FEI World Cup? status in both Dressage and Jumping for the first time in 2009.
– In 2004 Lyon was a big National horse show, it had 4-Star status in 2004 and achieved 5-Star status in 2005. It has been one of the most important shows on the French equestrian calendar for many years.

Ulla Salzgeber, talking about her horse Herzruf’s Erbe which finished second tonight – “I bought him as a three year old in Rusty’s last year of competition and last year we were to be in the German team but then he was injured just before the Grand Prix Special.  This year he started in Dortmund and Bremen and we did three or four outdoor shows”.

Isabell Werth – After winning the FEI Grand Prix at Lyon yesterday, Isabell Werth was asked how she would feel if she was offered the opportunity to ride Totilas, the multiple-record-breaking stallion which took team, individual Freestyle and Grand Prix Special gold for Dutch rider Edward Gal at the recent Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. The stallion has since been sold to Germany’s Paul Schockemohle.  Werth replied “To ride a horse that was made by someone else is not really something I am looking for. The satisfaction of this sport is to reach a high level with a horse that you discovered, you worked with and shaped for a high level. I certainly felt sorrow for Edward. I couldn’t stand being separated from Gigolo, the horse of my best years and I am very lucky as something like that could not happen with Madeleine Winter-Schulze and Brigitte Werth, the owners of my horses. This selling of Totilas is part of our sport; for Paul Schockemöhle it’s a great advertisement for his stud and the offer of stallions. But riding Totilas is no warrant for a gold medal at the next Olympics.”