Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 Top FEI Grand Prix at Wellington CDI 5*

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92.  Photo ©
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92. Photo ©

Steffen Peters (USA) and Legolas 92 were victorious in the FEI Grand Prix 5*, held Friday during the Wellington CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms. The Wellington 5* is the first of the final two weeks of competition for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), hosted at The Stadium of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Peters and Legolas 92 finished first with a remarkable 75.085%. Second place went to Lars Petersen (DEN) and Mariett with a score of 73.787%. Ashley Holzer (CAN) and Breaking Dawn finished third with a score of 73.362%. Judges for the class were: Peter Holler at E, Raphael Saleh at H, Lilo Fore at C, Stephen Clarke at M, and Anne Gribbons at B. Peters, of San Diego, CA, was thrilled with Legolas' performance as the eleven-year-old gelding appears to be coming into his own. "We haven't done too many clean tests and today was one of them. We got the one tempis. That's the second test in a row that he did his one tempis and that's exciting. I'm very happy," Peters commented. "The movements-piaffe, passage, pirouettes, flying changes-that's certainly gotten better. What was always missing to me, a little bit, was the overall relaxation and the suppleness. Legolas is getting so much more rideable and so much more fun to ride."

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 with judge Lilo Fore and Terri Kane of Diamante Farms. Photo ©
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 with judge Lilo Fore and Terri Kane of Diamante Farms. Photo ©

Lars Petersen was also pleased with the greater quality of movement Mariett exhibited Friday afternoon. "I'm very happy, she is getting better. My issue was always the fluidness and she's really becoming way better in that." Despite the dreary weather, Holzer was proud of her relatively inexperienced mount, Breaking Dawn, for rising to the occasion in today's rainy weather. "He's not a very advanced Grand Prix Horse. He's not done this a ton. To feel him come into a different situation that was a tricky situation for him, and to have him behave and try hard, is always a good feeling," Holzer described. "It's wonderful to win money and wonderful to give back [to the owners], but there is nothing better [as a rider] than feeling your horse in the ring happy to do his job. I think it's what we work for," Holzer continued. While all three riders agreed whole-heartedly with Holzer's sentiment, the more than $100,000 in prize money that will be awarded at the CDI 5* is not to be discounted. The FEI Grand Prix class handed out $12,000 in prize money and Saturday night's FEI Freestyle 5* will award a whopping $84,000. "I think it's wonderful for the owners to get a small return on their investment," Peters commented. "It's a substantial amount of money, no doubt, and it's wonderful that we can support our owners this way."

Peters wasn't the only American rider to win big on Friday, Shelly Francis (USA) and Danilo clinched another FEI Prix St Georges victory on Friday afternoon with a score of 72.579% in the class presented by Peacock Ridge. Francis and Danilo were the only pair to break 70% in the class of nearly twenty competitors. Judges for the class were: Cesar Torrente at E, Stephen Clarke at H, Anne Gribbons at C, Lilo Fore at M, and Raphael Saleh at B. Brittany Fraser (CAN) and All In secured a second place finish with a score of 69.500% Germany's Kevin Kohmann finished third aboard Zephyr with a final score of 68.158%.  
Francis, of Loxahatchee, FL, was very pleased with her young horse's performance in Friday's test. "He was very lovely. He's really green. Sometimes he's hard to keep in a nice, steady rhythm at the trot because he offers lots of gears in the trot, but he was lovely today. He's so sweet, he just goes around like, 'Where do you want me to go next?'" Francis described.
Shelly Francis and Danilo with Pat Stempel, Anne Gribbons, and PJ Rizvi of Peacock Ridge. Photo ©
Shelly Francis and Danilo with Pat Stempel, Anne Gribbons, and PJ Rizvi of Peacock Ridge. Photo ©

Danilo, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Patricia Stempel, has already had a successful campaign in the Prix St. Georges this season. "He's done really well," Francis commented. "He's won almost every class he's been in so far. This is only his second CDI."

Francis described the striking black gelding as a well-rounded mount with a wide arsenal of talent. "His canter work absolutely [is his biggest strength]. Later on [in the test], his piaffe and passage were really super, as well as his extended trots. He's actually good all around. The hardest thing to keep good is his half pass, but he's learning to get better by the day," Francis remarked.  
The FEI Pony, Junior, and Young Rider classes. The winner of the FEI Pony Team class was Melanie Doughty (USA) on Command Performance. In the FEI Junior Team class, Lindsey Holleger (USA) on Friedensfurst took first place with a score of 66.946% over five other entries. The FEI Young Rider Team class was Madison Lawson (CAN) on McGuire; they scored a 63.368%.
Competition for the Wellington CDI 5* of the AGDF continues Saturday with the FEI Intermediare-1, which will begin at 9:00 am at The Stadium at PBIEC. The Stadium will also play host to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, which will be showcased under the lights beginning at 7:30 pm.
Evi Strasser and Renaissance Tyme.  Photo ©
Evi Strasser and Renaissance Tyme. Photo ©

Evi Strasser and Renaissance Tyme Bring Home Blue in Thursday's FEI Grand Prix

Canada's Evi Strasser finished first with Renaissance Tyme in the FEI Grand Prix during the first day of competition at the Wellington CDI 5*. Strasser and Renaissance Tyme earned top honors with a score of 62.660%. Second place went to Janne Rumbough (USA) and Junior with a score of 60.745%. Katharina Stumpf (AUT) and For My Love rounded out the top three with a final score of 59.702%.
Megan Glynn (CAN) and Tyto were recognized Thursday afternoon following the FEI Jog with the Best Turn Out Award sponsored by ShowChic.