Burbank, California – Steffen Peters couldn’t have asked for a better weekend at the Cornerstone Events Mid Winter Dressage Fair CDI-W/Y. With Montango, he won both the CDI Prix St. Georges and CDI Intermediaire I. He also took second in the Prix St. Georges with Lord Chalk Hill. With his Olympic hopeful Ravel, he won both the CDI Grand Prix and the CDI Grand Prix Special.
“It was a good weekend,” Peters said. He also took second in the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle with Lombardi 11 on a score of 70.45 percent. First in the Freestyle went to Leslie Morse and her Dutch Warmblood stallion Kingston with their score of 71.45. Taking third was Kristina Harrison and Rociero XV with a score of 69.75 percent.
Montango, owned by Mary and James Keenan, only came to Peters in early December. He’s a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Contango. Mid Winter Dressage was only the pair’s second show together and they scored a 70.083 percent for their Prix St. Georges win and a 68.833 for the Intermediaire I win. “He does great piaffe and his canter work is quite good and he does wonderful flying changes,” Peters said. “He’s a very rideable horse. So, I’m very excited that Mary and Jim gave me the chance to ride him.”
Peters has two horses in contention to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic Dressage Team – Lombardi 11 and Ravel, both of which are owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang. The ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Ravel is the least experienced of the two, but Peters said he did a “wonderful job this weekend.” Mid Winter Dressage was the first time that Peters and Ravel were partnered in competition and it was Ravel’s first Grand Prix competition.
“A lot of people thought I was nuts going into a CDI and making it my first show with him, but this was a calculated risk. He has been going well at home. The risk paid off with their double Grand Prix wins. They scored a 69.32 in the Grand Prix Special and a 69.083 in the Grand Prix. Peters was quick to say that the judging was right on the mark.
“I completely agree with the judges. My extensions were conservative. The piaffe could have been more in place and the changes more forward. I rode in a way to help him deal with an unfamiliar arena and environment, but he remained calm. During the honor rounds, other horses were acting up but Ravel just stood there. So, it seems that he can handle an arena that has a bit more electricity,” Peters said.
Next show for Ravel is the Del Mar CDI in mid-March and then the Festival of the Horse at the end of March, where Peters said he might unveil Ravel’s freestyle. Peters will also continue to compete the Holsteiner gelding Lombardi, who is now 17 but certainly shows no lack of energy. Peters said that Lombardi is also an Olympic contender. But when Yamazaki and Yang bought Ravel two years ago, it was always with the intention of aiming him for the 2008 Olympics. Hence, if he makes it, he’ll fulfill that goal.
In other top placings in the CDI competition, Debbie McDonald and Felix placed second in the Grand Prix with a score of 68.542 percent. Third went to Harrison and Rociero with their score of 67.333. In the Grand Prix Special, Sue Blinks and Robin Hood took second with 68.00 percent and Morse took third with Tip Top 962 and a score of 66.96. In young rider CDI competition, Ashley Schempp and Mowgli took the win in the Young Rider Individual Prix St. Georges with a 65.25 percent. Christine Stephenson and Charly 285 won the Young Rider Team Test with a 64.889 percent.
Midwinter Dressage photos by Amy McCool