Lottie Fry and Dark Legend complete their first FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final
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After a strong start for World Cup debutants Lottie Fry and Dark Legend in Thursday’s Short Grand Prix, where they posted 73.365% for eighth, tonight the young British star did a masterful job of nursing an expensively unsettled Dark Legend through their freestyle. It might not have been the British pair’s day but the Grand Prix Freestyle at the 2022 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Leipzig, Germany, provided an incredible finale won by the home nation’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB.
Last to go before the break, Dark Legend, who typically shows such super balance and a positive sensitivity, tonight displayed some uncharacteristic nervousness in the big atmosphere to give Lottie a tricky ride. A spook and spin before entering the arena gave an indication of the challenging ride to come; however, the young Netherlands-based Brit rode with her trademark tact and maturity, giving the Zucchero x Tango gelding the confidence to complete the routine despite his nerves.
A major spook at the C end of the arena and a couple of further spins, and tension, kept the running score in check, though they managed to claw back some marks as Dark Legend started to settle. He showed some lovely piaffe and passage, plus further glimpses of what we’re used to seeing from this fabulous partnership, and the trending score started to pick up. It wasn’t however enough to bring them up the leader board. With a big smile from Lottie at the end of the test and plenty of pats for 'Darky', she gave a wave to the knowledgeable crowd who clearly appreciated the skilful riding they’d just witnessed.
The score was announced as 67.550% putting them 17th. It’s an unusual place on the leader board for this superstar combination but they will no doubt come back fighting and we look forward to seeing Lottie at many more World Cup Finals.
The Top Three
It was an emotional night for Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl who tonight became the first German rider to win a World Cup Final on home soil. Five months pregnant with her second child, she will miss this summer’s World Championships, making this victory even more meaningful.
Their world-famous programme which won them gold in Tokyo, choreographed to an ethereal La La Land soundtrack, captivated from the start to the final centre line. The balletic 15-year-old mare’s rhythm, energy and frame is exemplary, which was reflected in the score announced as 90.836%.
“I can’t describe it in words, I’m a bit emotional,” said Jessica afterwards. “The mare is incredible - the feeling is unbelievable. She always gives her best and always gives her heart in there.”
Second place was claimed by Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour who presented the rising star, Vamos Amigos. Owned by Sarah Pidgley and Cathrine herself, the Vitalis-sired 10-year-old is brimming with energy and talent and is a horse we’re sure to see a lot more of in the years to come.
Riding to her Les Misérables programme ‘borrowed’ from Bohemian with whom she won individual freestyle bronze in Tokyo, Cathrine skilfully rode the athletic bay gelding to earn a score of 86.164%. At such a young age, and with so much yet to come, Vamos Amigos has to be one of the most exciting horses to appear on the international stage in the past 18 months.
The emotion was clear to see in the connections of defending World Cup title holders Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, who were watching on from the ‘kiss and cry’ as this legendary German partnership left the arena to a standing ovation following their swansong performance.
Isabell and the Don Schufro x Sandro Hit mare, who is now 17 years of age, have won the World Cup title for a record three consecutive years. This was their final appearance together before the mare’s official retirement at the end of the evening.
Isabell rode a beautiful test showing supreme balance and harmony to score 85.921% for a well-deserved podium place. What a way to bow out!
1. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB, 90.836% (GER)
2. Cathrine Dufour and Vamos Amigos, 86.164% (DEN)
3. Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, 85.921% (GER)
4. Carina Cassøe Krüth and Heiline’s Danciera, 84.971% (DEN)
5. Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia, 81.239% (DEN)
6. Helen Langehanenberg and Annabelle, 78.839% (GER)
7. Morgan Barbançon and Sir Donnerhall II OLD,76.986% (FRA)
8. Patrik Kittel and Blue Hors Zepter, 76.725% (SWE)
9. Ashley Holzer and Havanna 145, 75.532% (USA)
10. Yvonne Losos de Muñiz and Aquamarijn, 75.386% (DOM)
11. Thamar Zweistra and Hexagon’s Ich Weiss, 75.125% (NED)
12. Anna Buffini and FRH Davinia la Douce, 74.011% (USA)
13. Yessin Rahmouni and All at Once, 73.679% (MAR)
14. Rodrigo Torres and Fogoso Horsecampline, 73.593% (POR)
15. Juan Matute Guimon and Quantico, 72.882% (ESP)
16. Alisa Glinka and Aachen, 71.389% (MDA)
17. Charlotte Fry and Dark Legend, 67.550% (GBR)
Photo © Digishots
Words: British Dressage/Joanna Bowns