Look Who's Back: Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein

Fri, 03/10/2023 - 12:36
2023 CDN Ankum
Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and Blue Hors Fifty Cent schooling at home at Castle Berleburg. The pair has now made its show debut at the 2023 CDN Ankum :: Photo © Ridehesten

Danish Olympian and former team trainer Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein has made her come back to the competition arena after an almost four-year break from showing. Aboard her own Blue Hors Fifty Cent she competed in the Prix St Georges at the CDN Ankum on 9 March 2023. 

Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein

Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein is a highly experienced international Grand Prix rider who has led Team Denmark to some its most significant victories and achievements in the past two decades. 

She represented Denmark at seven European Championships, three World Championships, and two Olympics. She has been trained for years by Kyra Kyrklund and Richard White.

She competed at the 1996 European Young Riders Championships in Copenhagen on Fernando and finished 10th. Her first major Grand Prix horse was Fantast S (by Frisbee x Furioso's Sohn) with who she placed 8th in the 2001 World Cup Finals and represented Denmark at the 2002 World Equestrian Games and 2003 European Championships.  With Rigoletto (by Rubinstein x Rossi) she reode at the 2005 Europeans

With Digby at the 2012 Olympic Games
Her career making Grand Prix horse was Digby (by Donnerhall x Sandro).  They competed at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen (39th),  won historic team bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, finished 7th at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington. They were famous for the West Side Story and French Chanson freestyle and competed in World Cup Finals in Den Bosch (2008 - 8th / 2010 - 6th) and Leipzig (2011 - 2nd). They rode at three European Championships: in Windsor (2009 - 11th), Rotterdam (2011 - 10th) and Herning (2013, 9th). They returned to the 2012 Olympic Games in London (12th in the kur) and their final event was the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen, where they were 13th in the Kur. 

Nathalie won three Danish Grand Prix champion's titles: on Fantast S in 2002, on Rigoletto in 2009 and on Digby in 2012.

Team Trainer

With M&Ms Milan at th 2018 CDI Fritzens
After the retirement of Digby, Nathalie continued to compete internationally with home bred horses Fabienne, Whitley, and Dolany as well as with the Danish bred M&Ms Milan, but put her show career on the back burner after she accepted the job as Danish national team trainer in 2017. 

Fabienne (by Future Cup x Rubinstein) continued briefly as an Under 25 schoolmaster for Danish Victoria Vallentin, Whitley (by Don Schufro x Lauries Crusador xx) sold to Hof Kasselmann and was a schoolmaster for U25 rider Evelyn Eger, while Dolany (by Don Schufro x Rubinstein) competed two seasons at small tour level in 2015 and 2016.

The last horse Nathalie showed internationally was M&Ms Milan (by Michellino x Victory, bed by Nils Dalsgaard Sorensen), which she rode at Grand Prix level at CDI's in Darmstadt, Compiegne, Fritzens, Stuttgart and Cappeln between July 2017 and July 2019. M&Ms was most recently sent to Maik Kohlschmidt to be sold and found a new home in Austria, where he is now being shown by Nicole Osterwald. She presented him at the Austrian national selection trial in Weikersdorf on 4 March 2023.

Blue Hors Fifty Cent

Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein's stint as team trainer came to an abrupt end in November 2021, which cleared the way for Nathalie to focus more on her own horses again, while continuing on as personal trainer of Denmark's number one Grand Prix rider Cathrine Dufour and team rider Daniel Bachmann Andersen.

Nathalie and Fifty Cent
With the 9-year old licensed Danish warmblood stallion Fifty Cent (by Franziskus x Donnerhall) she made a come back to the competition at the CDN Ankum on 9 March 2023. The pair posted 70.675% in the Prix St Georges to finish third in her group and fifth overall.

Fifty Cent is bred by Linda Falensteen and Martin Strande at Stuteri Fredendal. He was prepared for licensing at Blue Hors stud and approved at the 2017 Danish Warmblood Stallion Licensing in Herning as a premium stallion under the name Fredensdal Fifty Cent. Under Allan Gron, the stallion finished fifth at the 2018 Danish Young Horse Championships for 4-year-olds. In 2019 Fifty Cent returned home to Nathalie's Castle Berleburg in Germany, where she has been producing him to FEI level.

"I am beyond proud of Fifty and it was so much fun to ride down centerline again," said Nathalie about her come back. "Fifty is a true showman. He was not quite sure what we were up to, but he trusted me all the way around."

Photos © Ridehesten - Astrid Appels

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