Dressage superstar Isabell Werth has certainly made a name for herself in the equestrian world. She continues to dominate the dressage world, taking home a gold and a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Isabell Werth was born on July 21, 1969, in Issum, Germany. Growing up on her family’s farm, she has been surrounded by horses since birth. At just five years old, she made her show ring debut on her pony Illa.
In the 1980s, Werth’s career in dressage took off. While riding Gigolo, she won her first gold medals at the European Championships, World Equestrian Games, and Olympic Games. Her success only continued from there, earning her the nickname “Dressage Queen.”
Stats about Isabell Werth:
|Height:||5 ft 7 in (169 cm)|
|Born:||21 July, 1969|
|Birthplace:||Sevelen, Issum, Germany|
|Net Worth:||$4 Million - $7 Million|
1. Dressage Wasn’t Isabell’s First Passion
Before becoming a famous dressage rider, Werth competed in show jumping and eventing. At 17 years old, Werth received an invitation from her neighbor Dr. Uwe Schulten-Baumer to come ride some of his horses.
Werth, who was friends with Schulten-Baumer’s youngest daughter, eagerly accepted the offer. The partnership quickly blossomed and Werth began training under Schulten-Baumer. Under the direction of Schulten-Baumer, Werth’s career took off.
She skyrocketed to success with Schulten-Baumer’s horse Gigolo. Werth continued to train under the guidance of Schulten-Baumer for fourteen years before deciding to become more independent in her riding.
2. Isabell Werth is the Most Decorated Olympic Equestrian Ever
Werth, who rides for Team Germany, is the most decorated Olympic Equestrian ever. She has competed at the Olympics six times, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2016, and 2020.
Across the span of the six Olympic Games, Werth has brought home eleven medals. While riding Gigolo, she took home Team Gold and Individual Silver in 1992, Team Gold and Individual Gold in 1996, and Team Gold and Individual Silver in 2000. In 2008, she brought home Team Gold and Individual Silver with Satchmo. In 2016, she won Team Gold and Individual Silver with Weihegold.
Most recently, Werth won Team Gold and Individual Silver at the 2020 Olympic Games with Bella Rose. She has won gold at every single Olympic Games she has competed in. In 12 career Olympic events, she has never finished below second place, a feat no other female Olympian has done.
3. She Has Won Over 40 Gold Medals at International Events
To add to her Olympic medals, Werth has also won numerous medals at the World Equestrian Games, World Cup Finals, and European Championships.
She has won 41 gold medals, seven from the Olympics, nine from the World Equestrian Games, five from the World Cup Finals, and 20 from the European Championships. In addition, she has won 13 silver medals and five bronze medals at international events.
4. She Has Developed Saddles With Wintec and Bates
With so many gold medals under her belt, it’s no surprise that others want to ride like Werth. Werth has worked with both Bates and Wintec to develop her own dressage saddles.
Werth worked directly with saddle makers to develop a saddle that provides comfort while placing the rider in the proper position. She was even hands-on in the process, test riding different saddle models until achieving just the right design.
Bates and Wintec are both manufactured by Saddlery Brands International, which is owned by the parent company Hammersmith Nominees. The difference between the two saddles is that Bates is made with leather, whereas Wintec is made with synthetic materials. Both saddles feature a deep seat, CAIR Cushion System, an Adjustable Ergonomic Stirrup Bar, and HART (horse and rider technology).
5. Isabell Werth is a Published Author
Werth published her autobiography, Four Legs Move My Soul: The Authorized Biography of Dressage Olympian Isabell Werth, in 2019. In her biography, Werth collaborates with accomplished sports journalist Evi Simeoni to tell her story.
The book includes Werth’s journey as a rider, from the very beginning to where she is today. She shares her biggest accomplishments along with her failures on her journey to become one of the world’s best dressage riders. She shares insight from her experience as both a trainer and rider.
In addition, Werth also shares her thoughts on some of the biggest controversies within the sport of dressage. She also shares tidbits about some of the most talented horses she has worked with within her career.
6. She Worked as a Lawyer and in Marketing Before Opening Her Own Stables
In 2000, Werth passed the bar exam and began working as a lawyer at Oexmann Law Firm. A year after working as a lawyer, she took a job at Karstadt, her new sponsor, in the marketing department.
In 2004, Werth decided to make riding her profession and opened up a training facility in Rheinberg. Her stables include 22 stalls, where her groom, Steffi Wiegard, along with other staff members, help care for the horses.
7. Madeleine Winter-Schulze Has Been One of Her Biggest Supporters
Along with her family and Dr. Schulten-Baumer, Madeleine Winter-Schulze has been one of Werth’s biggest supporters. As a former dressage rider herself, Winter-Schulze has become one of the largest sponsors of dressage in Germany.
After training with Schulten-Baumer, Werth went on to spend some time working with Winter-Schulze. During their two years together, Winter-Schulze helped Werth stay at the very top of her game. Werth has competed with several of Winter-Schulze’s horses.
8. Isabell Werth is One of the Few Dressage Riders to Score Above 90%
Only a few riders in the dressage world have achieved a score above 90%. It is a huge accomplishment that takes a very special horse and rider combination to achieve.
So far, Werth has surpassed the 90% barrier five times. Four of those times she was riding Weihegold. With a personal best of 90.98%, the pair has only received a score under 80% on three occasions. Werth also passed the 90% mark with Bella Rose with a score of 90.875%.
Werth currently resides in Rheinberg, Germany, which is where her stable is also located. Werth lives with her partner Wolfgang Urban and her son Frederik.
Currently, Werth’s two main mounts are Bella Rose 2 and Weihegold Old. Her other mounts include Dsp Quantaz, Emilio 107, Den Haag 12, and Superb 2. In addition, she has other horses she is developing at her stables.
Weihegold is a 16-year-old black Oldenburg mare. Werth has won several international titles with Weihegold, including Team Gold and Individual Silver at the 2016 Olympics. In addition, the pair has won gold at the FEI World Cup Finals from 2017-2019 and 2017 European Championships.
Bella Rose is a 17-year-old chestnut Westphalian mare. In 2014, Werth won Team Gold with Bella Rose at the World Equestrian Games. She had plans to take the mare to the 2016 Olympic Games, but soundness issues put her career on a standstill.
In 2018, Bella made a comeback to the show ring and won gold at the World Equestrian Games. Just a year later, the pair also won gold at the European Championship.
Werth went on to achieve her goal of taking Bella Rose to the 2020 Olympics. The pair won Team Gold and Individual Silver. After her Olympic success at the 2020 games, Werth announced that Bella Rose is retiring from competition.