Del Mar, CA – “Now there’s an international dressage horse,” announced CDI 3* commentator Axel Steiner as Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 finished their impressive freestyle at the 2013 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire CDI3*. With a final percentage of 78.075%, the duo of Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 captured the Grand Prix championship above Güenter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea who scored a 74.375%. Following in her trainer’s footsteps, Brandi Roenick and Weltino’s Magic earned the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle win with a 64.725% completing a successful weekend at the Del Mar Horse Park. “My freestyle was so exciting for me,” commented Steffen Peters. “Out of all of the tests I have done with Legolas, this was the most ride-able as far as relaxation and suppleness.”
Peters performed a technical, artistic, and conservative freestyle including multiple degrees of difficulty, a steep half pass and two double pirouettes. Peters explained, “Today was exactly what I wanted and I want to build from here. He’s been a very difficult horse in the flying changes and those worked out well. Honestly, it was a very conservative test but today was not the test to risk it. I honestly could not be happier.”
Legolas 92 has had past challenges with the tempis, creating a unique training strategy for Peters. “Legolas is a horse that is so afraid of making a mistake that anytime something goes wrong I usually walk him for at least 20 seconds until he calms down,” recounted Peters. “What we have been doing before the one tempis, instead of just cantering onto the diagonal. I walk onto the diagonal, pick up the canter, and do the one tempis from there. He wants to do too much; There is always enough power, so sometimes I try to reduce the power and make him do less. For later on down the road that power and perfection is wonderful. This year and last year are not the year for him to shine so we want to keep him physically healthy so that when he is mentally healthy, his body is still in good shape to keep up. We hope he starts shining next year, not that he’s doing bad right now. Next year is a big year and it’s a big focus.”
Peters had his opinion of Legolas’ future and he has worked towards that goal of international readiness. “I realized he might be an international horse when the judges started liking him too,” smiled Peters. “You always have your opinion, you know what you can produce and you know the feeling you are looking for. It’s pretty obvious that Legolas’ piaffe passage can keep up with any horse in the world. The canter work was the issue and the judges clearly see the improvement and they are rewarding it more. The Dressage Masters in Florida was a huge step for him and that was the first time he was in the big international scene. He is really starting to prove himself. I always knew he was a true international horse it but it’s nice when the judges believe it too.”
At the beginning of April, Peters will have another chance to showcase Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5* in Wellington, FL. The pair will then rest for three days before they fly out to Amsterdam and onto Hagen, Germany for a CDI 5*. After Hagen Legolas 92 will rest while Team Peters heads to the Del Mar National Show.
“I am looking forward to our travels,” said Peters. “It’s important to be seen in Europe with the top riders. In Hagen and hopefully Aachen, Legolas will get a chance to compete against every single top horse in the world. That creates a realistic picture for the World Games in 2014.”
The 2013 calendar year for the U.S. dressage riders will be about growth, competition, and results before the 2014 World Equestrian Games becomes a reality. Güenter Seidel understands the importance of this and has been focusing on his new partner Coral Reef Wylea.
“I have only had Coral Reef a few months and she is great,” noted Seidel. I have never ridden her in the freestyle so I created a little conservative test to give her confidence. I was very pleased with her and she couldn’t have been better. My favorite part was that she tried so hard and my least favorite part was that the music wasn’t choreographed for the ring. It wasn’t loud enough so it didn’t have that effect it normally does; That was very unfortunate.” He continued, “Coral Reef Wyela may be older but she is still green. I am still getting to know her and she has a great presence, great temperament and beautiful gaits so I am super excited for our future together. Hopefully we will be showing at some bigger shows, maybe Europe, maybe even the World Equestrian Games. We will see.”
The 2013 year will be a developing year for most duos including equestrian Brandi Roenick and Pan American Games Double Gold Medal horse Weltino’s Magic. Sunday’s (CDI) FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle Test may have given Roenick a challenge but she will take the opportunity to build upon what she learned at the Dressage Affaire. Roenick explained, “Right now I just need to figure out how to get the bobbles out of the show ring and focus on a new plan. Minus the bobbles today we had a great extended canter – to the transition – to the half pirouette – to the two’s – to the collected walk. I had some challenges that I had to recover from which was the biggest thing that Steffen, Debbie, and my mom taught me. In order to be successful in the ring you always have to think about transitions, training the horse, and preparing your horse for the movements. In order to be successful you can’t just be a rider you need to be a trainer. Steffen has drilled transitions into my head and the idea keeping consistency and that is what I go into the ring with. I think about preparing each movement to make it a nine instead of an eight or an eight instead of a seven. That is one thing that has made me so successful at such a young age. What has also made successful is my team. I have such a great team behind me and without my team none of this would be possible. I am lucky to be able to ride great horses, have great people to help me and sponsor me, and have awesome trainers.”
The 2013 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire CDI YJ3* concluded on March 10, 2013.