Isabell was born on 21 July 1969 at Sevelen (Rhineland) and grew up at Rheinberg with her parents Heinrich and Brigitte Werth and her elder sister Claudia. She attended school from 1976-1989 and after getting her Abitur certificate she took up law studies in the winter semester of 1989. She took her final examinations in 2000 and joined the Oexmann law firm at Hamm. From late 2001 until early 2004 she was in charge of the sponsoring programme at Karstadt Warenhaus AG. In 2004 Isabell set up her own Dressage Training and Show Stable at Rheinberg/Niederrhein.
Isabell Werth is the world's most successful dressage rider. With six Olympic gold medals, seven medals at World Championships, 14 medals at European Championships and a German Champion of eight times - she has well deserved the title of "Dressage Queen". But like most riders, she started from scratch. From a very young age, the life of the future Olympic rider had been accompanied by horses on her parents' farm. At the age of only five, Isabell enjoyed riding on her pony mare "Illa" and a little later, on "Funny", she won her first ribbons - in beige breeches and dark jumper - the black competition jacket was a later addition. At that time nobody was able to foresee that the jacket would once be replaced by a tailcoat.
Isabell was passionate about jumping and eventing, until "the Doctor" took her under his wings. On New Year's Eve in 1986, when Isabell was only 17, her neighbour Dr. Schulten-Baumer sen., a steel manager and renowned dressage expert, asked her whether she would like to ride some of his horses. Isabell, who was a friend of his youngest daughter Verena, was enthusiastic about this offer and agreed. This was the beginning of a cooperation between coach and rider which was to be unique in the whole world. With each of the Doctor's horses Isabell celebrated triumphal victories, but her best moments were due to Gigolo, the chestnut gelding, who with Isabell Werth in the saddle became the most successful dressage horse of all times.
"Apart from my parents, it surely was the Doctor, who shaped me most" Isabell emphasises, when looking back. "For me he will always be one of the best coaches in the world. And we still phone regularly."
The cooperation between Isabell (who is still a member of the local riding club "Graf von Schmettow Eversael") and her coach and mentor lasted fourteen years. Along with her riding, Isabell went to school ("my favourite subjects were sports and religious education"), took her Abitur examination ("my average score of 3.1 was far from being excellent, but I was probably busy riding at that time") and started to study law. Also in this field she proved, that success is not only a result of talent and luck, but that it relies on the basic virtues of discipline, diligence and stamina - this holds true in sports and in professional life.
Despite an agenda full to the brim and despite daily dressage training and travels to competitions all over the world Isabell successfully completed her studies. In 2000 she took her final law examinations and for one year worked as a lawyer before starting in the marketing department of her new sponsor Karstadt. Also with regard to her dressage career Isabell was striking new paths at that time. In 2001 she terminated the cooperation with her mentor Dr. Schulten-Bauer. ("The time had come when I had to become more independent."). Temporarily she moved to Mellendorf (near Hanover), to the training stable of the Winter-Schulze family, her friends and supporters. She stayed there for two years, before in 2004, she took the plunge into complete independence: she turned her riding into a profession and established a training stable with 22 loose boxes at her home at Rheinberg. These times of change and rebuilding were also the times of the dressage queen's comeback in the arena. After Gigolo's farewell tour a smooth transition at top level had not been possible, although she was quite successful with Antony FRH and other horses. But with Satchmo and Warum nicht FRH Isabell was finally able to work her way back to the top, embellishing her career on home ground with a double World title at the WEG at Aachen in 2006 and since that time she has been nearly unbeatable.
And what about the future? Isabell describes her goals: "To remain in international top sports as long as possible, maybe ten years or so. The future will show, whether in ten years time I'll still want to travel to competitions every three weeks. Probably I will have other priorities at that time. But I am sure that there will always be room for horses in my life."