Victory after victory has propelled Felicitas Hendricks into the international spotlight as the highest-ranked 23-year-old dressage rider in the world. With seven out of eight international wins under her belt, a dashing gelding as her partner, and a zest for the equestrian sport unlike any other, Hendricks is truly taking the world of dressage by storm.

A meteoric rise in the equestrian world

At just a month shy of her 24th birthday, Hendricks is already ranked no. 26 on the senior World Rankings, with her sights set on breaking into the top 25 next month. Her astounding performance at the 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) amassed her first five-star title and served as a testament to this young rider's enormous talent and potential.

Victories at Wellington

The German dressage dynamo contested her second-ever five-star competition in Wellington, Florida, and emerged victorious in Friday’s Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix Freestyle with an impressive score of 77.245%. She was also a strong competitor in Wednesday’s CDI5* Grand Prix, securing second place with a commendable score of 71.283%.

Felicitas and Drombusch: A winning partnership

Hendricks owes a portion of her equestrian success to her unparalleled bond with her 13-year-old gelding, Drombusch OLD. This dynamic equestrian duo has spent the last seven formidable years honing their skills and strengthening their partnership. "I’ve had him since he was six. I bought him from my uncle and trainer Christoph Koschel who thought that he might be the right match for me, and he turned out to be right," shared Felicitas with a glow of evident pride.

The rise to the top isn’t always a solo ride

Riding through the journey from novice to champion together, Felicitas and Drombusch have developed a synergy that's simply magical to witness. “It’s been a long journey, but it was very rewarding and I couldn’t wish for a better dance partner. It’s even more special because we’ve gone all the way together.

Creative freestyle and phenomenal skills

The talented rider's disco-inspired freestyle routine is a treat to the spectators. It is designed to highlight her and Drombusch's impeccable skills composed of double pirouettes that smoothly transition into canter half-passes, ending with a rhythmic passage and a one-handed piaffe to halt. Speaking of Drombusch's skills, Felicitas fondly says, “Drombusch has a great passage, which really feels like being on a cloud.”

While Hendricks is the highest-ranked young rider, she is not the only one making waves in the international arena. Another young German rider, Raphael Netz, aged 24, is currently ranked world no. 15 and also one to watch out for on the global dressage stage.

Dressage is not just about riding; it's about forming a powerful bond with an equally powerful creature. And as proven by Felicitas and Drombusch, when rider and horse move as one, victory is never too far.

Reference: Horse Network