Omaha, Neb. – March 29, 2017 – Though the weather outside of the CenturyLink Center was dreary, the energy inside was bustling with excitement during the health inspection for the horses at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals. While 18 horses were granted an invitation to compete in the Finals, only 16 made the trip to Omaha: defending champion, Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands and Glock’s Flirt withdrew due to an injury, and German rider Jessica von Bredow-Werndl withdrew Unee BB after a mild bought of colic.
All 16 horses presented on Wednesday afternoon passed with flying colors. Russia’s Inessa Merkulova was requested to go down the jog lane a second time, but Mister X passed after the reinspection.
Dressage riders from around the world qualified for the event in four FEI World Cup™ Leagues: the North American League (NAL), the Western European League (WEL), the Central European League (CEL), and the Pacific League (Australia and New Zealand) (PAL).
The North American League originally received two starting positions, which were given to Laura Graves on Verdades and Kasey Perry-Glass on Goerklingaards Dublet. An extra starting spot was granted to a third rider representing the United States, Steffen Peters on Rosamunde. Graves placed fourth aboard Verdades in the 2014 FEI World Cup™in Las Vegas, and hopes to move up onto the podium this year. All three American’s were members of the bronze medal-winning team at the Rio Olympic Games.
“Dublet feels amazing and he definitely is ready to go,” Kasey Perry-Glass said regarding her 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding. “The venue is fantastic, very horse friendly and it looks like it’s going to be a great World Cup.”
Five-time Olympian, Carl Hester qualified his mount, Nip Tuck, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, in the Western European League after winning the qualifier at the London Olympia Horse Show and placing second in the qualifiers at both Lyon and Amsterdam. Representing Great Britain, Hester and Nip Tuck, the horse with whom he won a Team Silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, have settled in well.
“We are a thrilled to be here!” Hester said. “Everyone is so friendly. This is my first World Cup in 12 years and Nip Tuck is absolutely ready to go.”
The first day of dressage competition kicks off on Thursday, March 30, at 2 p.m. CST with the Grand Prix. The Grand Prix Freestyle, which will decide the World Cup champion, will take place on Saturday, April 1, at 2 p.m. CST.
Grand Prix Order of Go
1. Maria Florencia Manfredi/ARG/Bandurria Kacero
2. Edward Gal/NED/Glock’s Voice
3. Marcela Krinke-Susmelj/SUI/Smeyers Molberg
4. Hanna Karasiova/BLR/Arlekino
5. Joao Victor Marcari Oliva/BRA/Xama Dos Pinhais
6. Carl Hester/GBR/Nip Tuck
7. Mai Tofte Olesen/DEN/Rustique
8. Madeleine Witte-Vrees/NED/Cennin
9. Kasey Perry-Glass/USA/Goerklingaards Dublet
10. Steffen Peters/USA/Rosamunde
11. Judy Reynolds/IRL/Vancouver K
12. Kristy Oatley/AUS/Du Soleil
13. Wendi Williamson/NZL/Cennin
14. Inessa Merkulova/RUS/Mister X
15. Laura Graves/USA/Verdades
16. Isabell Werth/GER/Weihegold Old