The first international edition of the Dutch Masters took place in 1967, and over time the show has grown into the largest indoor horse sports competition in the Netherlands, a powerhouse equestrian sports nation. Indeed, every year, the world’s best riders in different disciplines face off in the southern Dutch city’s Brabanthallen venue, which has in the past hosted the World Cup Finals for both jumping and dressage. This year, the FEI Dressage World Cup Final – the 34th edition of the event – will be held at the Gothenburg Horse Show in Sweden from April 3–7, and ’s-Hertogenbosch is the 10th and last qualifier for it in the Western European League after Herning, Lyon, Stuttgart, Madrid, Salzburg, London Olympia, Mechelen, Amsterdam, and Neumünster.
As a reminder, there are a total of 18 places available for riders in the World Cup Dressage Final: nine for Western European riders; two for Central Europe; one for the Pacific region; two for North America; one non-league rider; one for the defending champion (Germany’s Isabell Werth); one extra (based on rankings); and one host nation athlete (from Sweden this year). The current League standings are here, with the top three spots held by Germans: Helen Langehanenberg; Dorothee Schneider, and Benjamin Werndl, all of whom are entered in this weekend’s competition. However, there is a maximum of three horse-and-rider combinations per nation allowed in each World Cup Final, with Werth and her mare Weihegold OLD already automatically taking one of those places thanks to their victory in Paris last year.
For their part, Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and her mount Vancouver K have a good shot to move up into the top nine European qualifiers this weekend, as France’s Morgan Barbançon (who is ahead of Reynolds in the standings) is not entered in the Dutch show. “JP is in the best form he’s ever been in!,” Reynolds was quoted as saying last month by FEI News, using her horse’s nickname. “It was never our plan to do so many shows so close together but it seems to suit us better and he’s loving it!”
Another highlight of the 2019 Dutch Masters Indoor Brabant Horse Show will of course be the CSI5* show jumping competition, part of the prestigious Grand Slam of Show Jumping alongside the CHI Genève, CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters and CHIO Aachen. The Masters offers an extensive jumping program over four days with the €900,000 Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon as its marquee finale. Scott Brash from Great Britain and Bertram Allen and Denis Lynch from Ireland are part of the high-powered field.