The dreamcatcher

Mythical creature, rock star, Queen – for Jessica von Bredow-Werndl words like these spring to mind when she talks about her talented horse. But whichever adjective may describe the Trakehner mare Dalera most accurately, she is definitely the horse that makes her rider’s dreams come true.

July 2nd, 2023. Spellbound, 6,300 pairs of eyes are watching how the brown mare performes the final transition from a dancing piaffe into the passage. Like a metronome she carries her rider to the melody of Édith Piaf’s “Je ne regrette rien” to the end of a freestyle routine full of movements of the highest level of difficulty. Then, the salute. When the last notes of the French song fall silent, Dalera stands there motionless, all four hoofs firmly rooted in the sand of the Deutsche Bank Stadium. Sitting in her saddle, a Jessica von Bredow-Werndl fully overwhelmed by her emotions, who doesn’t hesitate for a second to give her sports partner the praise she deserves. She keeps on patting the neck of the 16-year-old mare. Appreciatively. Full of gratitude. Then, beaming she waves to the crowd that have long since got up out of their seats and accompany the pair out of the arena with rhythmic applause and frenetic cheers. The ecstasy reaches its peak when the score echoes through the stadium loudspeaker. The jury had awarded them the highest mark no less than 32 times. 90.820 percent means it is the tenth time the pair have been rewarded with a score over the magical 90-percent mark – and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl’s first victory in the Deutsche Bank Prize.

“Having my name engraved on the winners’ board in Aachen one day, is my childhood dream,” the 37-year-old stated shortly afterwards, whilst she watches her name being placed on the legendary board at the gates of the Main Stadium, still almost awestruck. Whereby it is not the first of her dreams that Dalera has turned into reality: Among others, she has won two Olympic gold medals, six European Championship titles and two World Cup Final victories for her rider. And yet Jessica von Bredow-Werndl makes it known that moments like these are not at all a matter of course for her. The mother of two is well aware of the special significance of the exceptionally close relationship she has to the mighty 1.80 metre tall mare. What Dalera likes most? Apart from carrots, she also loves being stroked and fussed. Trakehner horses have always been well-known specifically for this affinity to people, as well as for the trait of rising above themselves for “their humans”. “Dalera always gives 100 percent and more,” is how Jessica von Bredow-Werndl tries to describe the feeling when she enters the dressage arena with her dance partner, as she affectionately calls the mare. “Jessica and Dalera, they are inseparable, they are simply one unit,” is how the national coach, Monica Theodorescu, once described the perfect fusion between the horse and rider.

A connection that everyone can sense when the pair celebrate the art of letting the most difficult exercises look totally easy in the dressage arenas of the world. Thanks to the finest, almost invisible aids of the rider and a horse that seeks its equal in terms of motivation, correctness and consistency. Dalera probably wouldn’t be one of the most successful dressage horses in the world today without Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl probably wouldn’t have won so many gold medals without Dalera. The two of them simply have the right bond that is necessary to excel at international top-class sport. And that was the case from the very start. “Her aura fascinated me from the onset,” is how the dressage rider from Bavaria recalls that moment in the year 2016, when she first encountered the mare that belongs to Beatrice Büchler-Keller from Switzerland. Since that day seven years ago, the pair have formed a partnership that has matured into something very special and which is distinguished today by blind faith in one another. A partnership that – according to the rider – has not reached its zenith in terms of their performance level yet. Because Jessica von Bredow-Werndl still has dreams. And who knows, perhaps Dalera will fulfil even more of them – like she did recently on July 2nd, 2023 in Aachen.


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