Las Vegas, NV – A showdown of Olympic proportions is setfor this year’s Dressage World Cup Final at the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas, as Anky Van Grunsven of The Netherlands and Isabell Werth of Germany head the list of 15 riders from eight countries set to compete.

The Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals return to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, April 15-19.  The Finals feature World Cup Finals in the two Olympic disciplines of show jumping and dressage.

Van Grunsven, the reigning Olympic, World, and World Cup Champion, is one of the most decorated riders in dressage history.  She has won the World Cup Final a record nine times, including last year, and also the individual Gold Medal at the last three Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008).  She is also the reigning World Champion, having won that title at the last World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany in 2006.


Joining Van Grunsven in Las Vegas is her longtime rival, Isabell Werth of Germany. Werth has won the World Cup Final on two occasions-1992 and 2007 in Las Vegas when van Grunsven was home in Holland after having just given birth.


The two rivals have traded places on the podium for years. Each has won eight Olympic medals. When Werth won Gold in 1996, van Grunsven took Silver. In 2000, the results were reversed, with van Grunsven winning Gold.  At the 2006 World Equestrian Games, Van Grunsven won Gold in the Grand Prix Freestyle, where Werth won Bronze, and Werth won Gold in the Grand Prix Special, where van Grunsven won silver.


Looking to crack the van Grunsven-Werth hold on the World Cup championship will be 16 other riders including three Americans, led by Steffen Peters of San Diego, CA who finished fourth in last year’s Olympic Games in Hong Kong.  He is joined by Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, CA and Leslie Morse of Beverly Hills, CA.


The full list of entries for this year’s World Cup Final is as follows:

Title Defender:

1. Anky VAN GRUNSVEN, NED – IPS Painted Black

Western European League:

2. Isabell WERTH, GER – Satchmo

3. Adelinde CORNELISSEN, NED – Parzival

4. Hans Peter MINDERHOUD, NED – Exquis Nadine

5. Monica THEODORESCU, GER – Whisper

6. Jan BRINK, SWE – Briar

7. Jeanette HAAZEN, NED – Nartan

8. Minna Telde, SWE – Don Charly

Central European League:

9. Mical RAPCEWICZ, PO – Randon

Pacific League:

10. Heath RYAN, AUS – Regardez Moi

North American League:

11. Steffen PETERS, USA – Ravel  

12. Ashley HOLZER, CAN – Pop Art

South America / Asia:

13. Marco BERNAL, COL – Diamore

Additional starting places or FEI Wild Cards:

14. Leslie MORSE, USA – Kingston                     

15. Jan EBELING, USA – Rafalca


The 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Finals will see exciting equestrian action throughout its five days. Wednesday, April 15 will feature the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Warm Up I and II at 9:30am and the Rolex FEI World Cup dressage warm up at 1:30pm.  Thursday, April 16 will feature the Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix at noon and the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final Round I at 7:00pm.

Things begin to heat up on Friday, April 17 with the Las Vegas Dressage Showcase at noon as well as the official Retirement Ceremony for Brentina, the only U.S. horse ever to win the Dressage World Cup Final. Friday will also feature the second round of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final. Saturday, April 18 features the Las Vegas Jumping Grand Prix at noon.


Dressage competition concludes on Saturday when a new World Cup Dressage Champion will be crowned following the Grand Prix Freestyle at 7:00pm. Show Jumping concludes on Sunday, April 19 with the third round of the Rolex World Cup Show Jumping Final, and the determination of the next World Cup Show Jumping Champion.

Started in 1979, the FEI World Cup Jumping Final is an annual international showdown among the world’s best show jumping horses and riders.  Approximately 45 riders qualify from 13 leagues around the world.  In the 30 finals held through 2008, United States riders have emerged with the most titles, having won the championship seven times. 

The 2009 event will mark the eighth FEI World Cup Jumping Final to be held in the United States, following Finals in Baltimore in 1980, Tampa, Fla. in 1989, Del Mar, Calif. in 1992 and four in Las Vegas in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2007.


First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup Dressage Final has been held in the U.S. three times, in 1995 in Los Angeles and 2005 and 2007 in Las Vegas.  The Netherlands has dominated the competition, winning nine titles, followed by Germany with seven.  The United States won its first title in 2003 when Debbie McDonald rode Brentina to the championship.