This question is less about a very excellent rider or the magnificent black stallion he thrilled so many people with around the world than it is about marketing. The same sort of question was asked by basketball executives when Michael Jordan retired. More recently, it’s been raised by TV networks and the PGA since Tiger Woods’ career has gone off the rails.
The fact is the dressage press would be well advised not to coronate a new star until someone, by their own merits and achievements, rises to the top. Likewise, the judges at that level must not try to “make a statement” for the sake of the (pardon this expression) industry. If we experience a brief lull, if no one reigns supreme for a while, and if before an international competition begins, no one can realistically predict who should win, it will do more for the sport than if we choose early and incorrectly.