Final 2024 looks an intriguing prospect

Media updates
10 April 2024 Author: Louise Parkes

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2024, which kicks off in Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a weeks’ time, looks set to be a right royal battle between some of the top names in the sport.  

The 2023 champion and longtime world number one athlete, Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, is not lining out this time around and that leaves it wide open for the rest of the field of 17 horse-and-rider combinations from 12 countries. The flags of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the USA will be flown when the action begins with the Grand Prix on Wednesday 17 April.

First champion

This will be the 37th Final in the history of FEI World Cup™ Dressage which saw its very first champion in Denmark’s Anne-Grethe Jensen who came out on top in ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands in 1986. 

Just six years later, in 1992, Germany’s Isabell Werth claimed her first title partnering Fabienne in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the lady often referred to as “The Queen” of international Dressage continues to be nothing short of phenomenal. She now has a total of five World Cup wins under her belt, and is the most decorated athlete in equestrian sport. She is heading to Riyadh with a sixth title clearly in her sights.

She had to wait 15 years before posting her second victory in Las Vegas, USA in 2007 partnering Warum Nicht FRH and then, 10 years later in Omaha, USA she racked up the first of her three-in-a-row wins with the great mare Weihegold who went on to repeat successes at the Finals in Paris, France in 2018 and Gothenburg, Sweden in 2019. 

Currently second in the world rankings, Werth brings DSP Quantaz to Riyadh after dominating the Western European League qualifying series. With Emilio she posted a win in Stuttgart, Germany in November and a second-place finish in Basel, Switzerland in January behind von Bredow-Werndl which still earned maximum points because her compatriot was not entitled to points as 2023 champion.

Riding DSP Quantaz she had to settle for second place behind Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry and Everdale in Amsterdam later in January but she reversed those placings at the last qualifier in ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands in March, leaving her with a three-point advantage over Fry at the top of the final Western European League leaderboard.


After leading the series standings for much of the early season, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel finished third. He got off to a flying start with victory at the sixth leg of the Central European League in Budapest, Hungary last June and then added maximum points again at the opening leg of the 2023/2024 Western European League at Herning in Denmark in October. He then lined out in four more legs of the Western European series over the winter months and finished just two points behind Fry at the end of the season, ahead of Germany’s Matthias Alexander Rath in fourth and Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald in fifth.

If the form-book is anything to go by then the real clash is likely to take place between Werth, Fry who is ranked third in the world, Kittel who is ranked sixth and Skodborg Merrald, the latter a member of the historic side that claimed team gold for Denmark for the very first time at the FEI Dressage World Championship 2022 on home ground in Herning, who is ranked fourth. The Dane rode three different horses during the season, finishing second in Herning, Lyon and Stuttgart with Blue Hors Zack, Blue Hors San Schufro and Blue Hors Don Olymbrio respectively, and fourth in Amsterdam with Don Olymbrio who she brings to Riyadh.

Fry of course is a formidable opponent. With the black stallion Everdale she was a member of the British bronze-medal-winning team at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 before taking team silver and both Grand Prix Special and Freestyle gold with her other stallion, Glamourdale, at the World Championship the following year. 

With Everdale she posted two Western European League wins this season at Mechelen, Belgium in December and Amsterdam, The Netherlands in January as well as finishing second in London, Great Britain before Christmas and at the last leg in ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands last month.   

Add in the established and rising talent from the rest of the Western European League and those from Central Europe and North America along with the sole Pacific League contender, Melissa Galloway who brings Windermere J’Obei W, and the stage is set for an intriguing contest.


Repeat wins are a theme of this Final, and nobody has ever come close to matching the nine posted by The Netherlands’ Anky van Grunsven with her two great horses, Bonfire and Salinero, between 1995 and 2008.

However, no matter the result next week, no-one can rival Werth when it comes to sheer consistency as Riyadh 2024 will be the 24th FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final of her extraordinary career. 

More history will be written in the coming days, so don’t miss a hoofbeat….

More about the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2024 Final:

The Ground Jury:

Level 4 Judges  

President - Hans Christian Matthiesen DEN

Janet Lee Foy USA

Peter Storr GBR

Elke Ebert GER

Thomas Lang AUT

Susan Hoevenaars AUS

Maria Collander FIN

Level 3 Judge

Eva-Maria Vint-Warmington EST

The Judges Supervisory Panel

Mary Seefried AUS

Liselotte Fore USA

The Timetable:

Grand Prix - Wednesday 17 April at 13.15 local time

Grand Prix Freestyle - Friday 19 April at 17.15 local time.  

The Competition Format:

FEI Grand Prix - drawn order, draw will take place on Tuesday 16 April at 20.00.

FEI Grand Prix Freestyle - all athlete/horse combinations who completed the FEI Grand Prix with a score of at least 65% will continue to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.