Indeed, now that the 50-year-old ‘Dressage Queen’ has won everything there is to win in the sport, on multiple occasions – Olympics, World Championships, European Championships, the Dressage Top Ten and of course World Cups – the question of Werth’s motivation at the highest level of competition is an obvious one. And her answer is straightforward.
“I live what I do,” the World No.1 (with Weihegold Old), No.3 (Bella Rose 2) and No.4 (Emilio 107) explained after her latest victory in Sweden, “and this is what keeps me so competitive.” Moreover, that unwavering drive is paralleled by the total comfort Werth feels in the saddle: “My home is on the horse. A quiet ride makes me happy.”
In the same Scandinavium Arena where she won her first World Cup Final title 27 years ago with Fabienne, Werth’s 2019 triumph (highlights here) was her third straight victory in the annual competition, each time with Weihegold Old. The now 14-year-old black mare began competing with Werth in 2014, but even as a youngster was already turning heads, as at the 2008 Oldenburg Elite Mare show in Germany where she was named grand champion. “Weihegold Old embodies the almost ideal characteristics of a riding horse,” Oldenburg’s breeding director Dr Wolfgang Schulze Schleppinghoff said at the time. “She is incredibly beautiful and impressed us most today in walk and trot.”
“I can’t describe the feeling of this power and collection,” Werth herself said last year about her all-conquering partner. “She’s like a metronome – we can do whatever we want!” And in the past three World Cup Finals, the pair have claimed first place ahead of three-time runner-up American rivals Laura Graves and 17-year-old gelding Verdades. The final scores after the latest Grand Prix Freestyle are here, with Werth’s compatriot Helen Langehanenberg and the 17-year-old stallion Damsey FRH finishing in third (the two German riders are pictured above).
In any case, with three horses currently ranked in the top five of the sport and a new global title under her belt, Isabell Werth is in a characteristically strong position to keep riding her momentum towards some major competitions on the horizon, including the 2019 FEI European Championships in Rotterdam and 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. And wherever she rides into action, the odds are that her medal collection will soon grow even larger.