A well known secret among riders is that being in the saddle is a transcendent experience.

When two hearts work together as one, everyday boundaries are left at the mounting block. The Orifarm Healthcare FEI Dressage World Championships in Herning, Denmark is perhaps one of the greatest examples of this phenomenon in action.

Just ask the Netherland’s Sanne Voets (Grade IV), who won gold in the Para Dressage Individual Championship for her seamless freestyle with 14-year-old Demantur RS2 N.O.P on Sunday.

“I’m pretty much speechless today,” said Voets.

While words often fail to describe the blissful experience of winning a World Championship, Voets mindset in the first stride says it all. So does her fist pump.


“There are a few moments in your career where you just enter the arena and raise your hand and from that moment on you are just in another dimension and don’t really experience what’s going on in that moment. Today was one of those days,” said Voets.

Whisking the judges to that to that dimension along with her, Voets quantified the feeling with a 82.485%.

In winning, Voets and Demantur RS2 N.O.P successfully defended their title for the third time in a row. But it didn’t come as a surprise to many, Voets is currently the world number two rider. The pair also took individual gold at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

In para dressage, athletes compete in classifications Grades I-V, which delegates athletes in accordance to their disability to promote an equal playing field.

Voets wasn’t the only one to pull off the hat trick.

Sara Morganti (ITA) took gold in the Grade I category, also for the third consecutive time.


“I can’t believe it, it’s just too beautiful to be true. I am delighted for three times in a row with Royal Delight. It really felt good with the music for the whole of the time. I couldn’t have wanted more from this performance in this moment,” said Voets of their collective achievements.

Morganti achieved a score of 80.653% with 17-year-old mare Royal Delight, her individual bronze medal partner for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Denmark celebrates on home soil

Katrine Kristensen topped the Grade II Freestyle with 14-year-old gelding Goerklintgaards Quater. They danced to a score of 80.354%, and celebrated with home fans afterwards. Kristensen is currently ranked 15th in the world.

Katrine Kristensen DEN on Goerklintgaards Quater
FEI / Richard Juilliart

Having campaigned 19-year-old Welldone Dallas in Tokyo, Goerklintgaards Quater is a relatively new ride for the Dane. The pair has been collecting 3* results since March, but this win is sure to embellish her record in a new way. On Friday, Kristensen won her first gold medal in the Second Qualifier for the Individual Freestyle Final.

“It’s very exciting and I’m so, so happy with my second gold medal. It’s fantastic. It has been an amazing experience for me with this new horse and he has developed through the days of the championships. I’m so, so proud,” said Kristensen.

She wasn’t the only one waving the Danish flag at the awards ceremony

Tobias Thorning Joergensen (DEN) took nearly a ten point lead over Lotte Krijnsen’s silver (76.673%) in the Grade III category with an 86.513 % aboard 14-year-old mare Jolene Hill. For Thorning Joergensen, though, it was all according the plan.

“Pretty much everything just worked out as it should and I’m just so happy. It was a personal best by two points and it was amazing to do that. Everything worked as I wanted.”

It was a third world title for Michèle George (BEL)

Championing the Grade V freestyle, is the reigning world number one, Michèle George (BEL) with her gold medal Tokyo Paralympic partner, 12-year-old mare Best of 8. George last won the title at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2014 with her horse FBF Rainman.

George was also the first Belgian rider to win a gold medal in dressage at the Paralympic Games in London 2012, also with FBF Rainman.

Today, however, her 82.860% freestyle with Best of 8 was special. She admits it wasn’t easy, but their ability to come together in the end and secure a gold medal reminded her of why she gets in the saddle in the first place.

“She behaved like a queen and it was very difficult to ride but I managed it and it was really dancing. And that’s why we ride horses, to become two in one and to feel the harmony,” said George.

Full results here.

Feature Image: FEI/ Silver KATE SHOEMAKER (L) of the United States, gold SANNE VOETS (C) of the Netherlands and bronze RODOLPHO RISKALLA of Brazil in the Grade IV Freestyle to Music