Along with the evening's freestyle competition at the Central Park Dressage Challenge, dressage star Steffen Peters brought his famous Olympic and World Equestrian Games partner Ravel out of retirement for one special performance. The 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding last competed with Peters in 2012 after a career that launched them to the front of the world dressage stage, including an individual fourth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, wins in the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Final (Las Vegas) and the 2009 Aachen CDIO (GER), two bronze medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (KY), and two U.S. Equestrian Federation National Grand Prix Championship titles. The exciting evening at Trump Rink showcased the world-renowned duo for one final performance of their award-winning freestyle.
Ravel has spent the majority of his retirement at owner Akiko Yamazaki's Four Winds Farm in Woodside, CA. When Yamazaki called to tell Peters about the idea to bring Ravel back for one night in New York, Peters knew it would be a very special opportunity.
"We were in Europe when I heard about this wonderful idea that Mark and his team put together so perfectly. I was already in France when Akiko called me and she said, 'Guess what? You and Ravel are going to New York and you're going to show there.' I said, 'Ok, great! Let's do it!' It's very exciting to be here," Peters acknowledged. "I am so proud of Ravel. Even being two years in retirement, he just gave all of his energy and expression that he had in the time when he was in his prime. I'm super excited to compete here. I'd love to get a chance to come here next year. It was awesome."
"He was already so excited this afternoon when we had familiarization (in the ring)," Peters said of Ravel's experience. "He is such a fun horse. It's nothing to do with work. People tell me, 'You make it look so easy.' He just wants to do it. Going forward, he's so wonderful in the bridle and still so elastic. To get to ride him once more in a freestyle is so extremely special. It's really hard to put in words what Ravel really does for us. To compete and to show him, in what I like to call the center of the world, is really special. Central Park is just amazing. What a special feeling tonight."