The queen of dressage
Isabell Werth is one of the greatest dressage specialists that the equestrian world has ever seen, winning gold medals in each of the four appearances at the Olympic Games.
A native of Sevelen in the Rhineland, Germany, Isabell Werth’s brilliant academic career culminated in a position with a law firm in 2001. But from an early age her true passion was horse-riding, and specifically dressage. When she was 17, she was taken under the wing of the renowned owner and trainer Dr Uwe Schulten-Baumer. It was the start of the most successful collaboration in the history of dressage, one which reached its apogee when Schulten-Baumer teamed Werth up with a chestnut gelding by the name of Gigolo.
A winning partnership with Gigolo
Between 1992 and 2000, Werth and Gigolo won four Olympic golds in the dressage (in the team event at Barcelona 1992, individual and team at Atlanta 1996, and the team once more at Sydney 2000) and two silvers (in the individual event in 1992 and 1996). They also won four world titles (individual and team in 1994 and 1998) and five European crowns, making them the most successful pairing in the entire history of dressage. Together horse and rider took their sport to new levels with a dazzling combination of precision, artistry, talent and stamina.
Always at the top
After working briefly as a lawyer and then in marketing at the turn of the millennium, Werth decided to turn professional and devote herself to equestrianism full-time. Ending her long association with Dr Schulten-Bauer she opened up her own stables in the Rhineland and was soon enjoying more international success with a new generation of horses. A double world champion in 2006, she returned to the Olympic arena at Beijing 2008 to win another team gold and an individual silver, taking her overall tally to eight Olympic medals (five of them gold), and six world and seven European titles.
A lifetime in the saddle
Despite developing and launching her own successful range of equestrian accessories (clothing, saddles etc.), Werth has indicated she has no desire to stop competing, so further successes seem almost inevitable. “My goal is to carry on for as long as possible, for at least another 10 years. Whatever happens, I’m sure that horses will always play a big part in my life,” she said recently.