Werth and Germany waltz to dressage team Olympic title

Germany's Isabell Werth on Weihegold Old performs her routine during the equestrian dressage Grand Prix team final on August 12, 2016 (AFP Photo/John MacDougall)
Germany's Isabell Werth on Weihegold Old performs her routine during the equestrian dressage Grand Prix team final on August 12, 2016 (AFP Photo/John MacDougall)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Germany's dressage team inspired by the undoubted queen of the rarified discipline Isabell Werth regained the Olympic title in Rio on Friday.

A comfortable success over defending champions Britain saw Werth equal a record six equestrian gold medals for Germany, all in the dressage ring. She also became the first German to win six Olympic titles.

She was ably assisted by teammates Sonke Rothenberger, Dorothee Schneider and Kristina Broring-Sprehe.

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With 47-year-old Werth top scoring on her horse Weihegold, Germany took the title with a total score of 81.936.

Britain finished on 78.595 in silver with the United States on 76.667 in bronze.

Werth, explaining why she was still competing 24 years after winning her first title in Barcelona 1992, replied: "It is the love of horses and enjoyment in training.

"Winning gold with three different horses (Weihegold, Satchmo, Gigolo) - that is worth more than many other things."

She added that success in Rio had not come as a total surprise.

"To be honest we knew we were up to getting the gold, as I can't remember seeing a German team like ours, with four horses capable of scoring 80%.

"I'm so proud of the team, it's a wonderful team effort. It's a great day."

This was Germany's second equestrian gold in Brazil after Michael Jung defended his individual eventing title on Tuesday.

Britain were led by dressage star Charlotte Dujardin and her outstanding horse Valegro.

Dujardin heads the standings for the individual dressage title which concludes in Rio on Monday but even a high-scoring performance here could not lift the British team ahead of 2008 champions Germany.

Dujardin's teammate, Carl Hester, mapped out his plans for the weekend.

"I am taking Charlotte (Dujardin) to Christ the Redeemer tomorrow to pray for Monday. That is what we are doing tomorrow."

Another member of the British team, Fiona Bigwood, was collecting silver despite a serious riding accident that left her with blurred vision forcing her to wear a patch over her right eye when competing.

"Two years ago I was giving up," she related.

"I was not going to ride, was not going in the stables. I was not allowed to have a fall for another year because of the damage that had already been done.

"I never thought I would be riding again at this level, so it really is a dream come true."

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