As a young horse, 11-year old Emilio was once so frightened and unmanageable that no one could get on him, but he has since gone on to give Germany’s Isabell Werth her fifth victory in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017 Western European League qualifier in Sweden this weekend.
Her score of 84.200 put her well ahead of Swedish runners-up Patrik Kittel and Delaunay (80.910) while Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB (80.845) slotted into third.
Werth (47) only had a two-day turnaround after winning the previous leg of the series with Don Johnson at Neumunster (GER) last weekend.
Speaking after her Grand Prix success, Werth said: “So I asked my rider at home to prepare Emilio in the right way - and I think she did that!
“I realise now that he needs more training because he didn’t always know what to do and we had two mistakes, in the pirouette and tempi changes.
Her preferred ride for the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha, Nebraska next month is her Olympic mare Weihegold, but she now considers Emilio a strong reserve.
"For Omaha, Weihegold is my first choice and Emilio is my second choice, but there is no need to put pressure on him (Emilio) so we will see how it works out.
"He has great potential, already his piaffe and passage are fantastic!”
Talking about the erratic behaviour that left Emilio with something of a reputation in his early years, Werth explained that there seemed no future for a horse with such a dangerous and debilitating level of inexplicable fear. She said: “He nearly went to heaven."
Runner-up Patrik Kittel added: “Emilio was lucky to come to Isabell, not all horses find the right people!”
Result: 1, Emilio (Isabell Werth) GER 84.200; 2, Delaunay (Patrik Kittel) SWE 80.910; 3, Unee BB (Jessica von Bredow-Werndl) GER 80.845; 4, D’Agostino FRH (Fabienne Lutkemeier) GER 77.720; 5, Di Lapponia T (Paulinda Friberg) SWE 76.750; 6, Thriller (Katja Gevers) NED 73.630; 7, Rustique (Mai Tofte Olesen) DEN 72.805; 8, Languedoc (Kristian von Krusentierna) 70.415; 9, Charmeur (Malin Rinne) SWE 70.030; Edvin (Per Duvefelt) SWE 66.185; 11, Catch Me (Margo Timmermans) NED 62.665.