In January of 2009 Steffen Peters was honored with the USEF’s Equestrian of the Year Award for his sportsmanship and his achievements on the field of play throughout 2008. But because of his commitment to a clinic in Florida, he was unable to attend. In 2010, at the USEF Pegasus Awards dinner he was bestowed the title again, one night after the owners of his equine partner Ravel, Akiko and Jerry Yamazaki accepted the [#24758 override="2009 Farnam®/Platform™ Horse of the Year Award" title="2009 Farnam®/Platform™ Horse of the Year Award"]. Peters rode in a Dressage show in California the morning of his big night and the Yamazaki’s made sure he would be there this time to accept the honor by jetting him to Louisville, Kentucky.
Peter’s achievements in the sport of American dressage are unprecedented in the history of our sport. The German born horseman who has lived in America longer than his native country has been a part of the US Dressage Team since the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, and has earned medals and National Championships with multiple horses. But it was his partnership with Ravel, the Belgian Warmblood he broke all records in 2009 becoming the second American to win the FEI World Cup Dressage Final™, and the first to do so on American soil in Las Vegas. The pair then cruised into Peters’ native country of Germany and through the CDIO Aachen achieving another first for the US: they swept Europe’s most prestigious event.
“Tonight was very special,” said Peters. “Being able to be here and give credit to Ravel, Akiko, Jerry and my wife Shannon. It certainly was an amazing year.” Peter’s voice wavered with emotion as he referred to his horse. “I have to thank Ravel for that and I want to thank every single person who voted for me.”
Peters exemplifies the epitome of what it means to be a representative of equestrian sport; as a competitor, as a sportsman, as a trainer and as an ambassador for his country. He joins Beezie Madden (who won in 2005 and 2006) and the man who presented him with the award, USEF President and 2000 Individual Olympic Gold Medalist, David O’Connor, as the only two-time winners of this highest honor (O’Connor won in 2000 and 2002). “I have learned from people like my teammate Debbie McDonald that as you become very successful, you always become more humble,” said Peters. “While 2009 was an incredible year for Ravel, I guarantee you I am going to do my very best to make 2010 an even better year right here in Kentucky.”