The Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park hosted a full day of competition on Friday, as riders went to task across four divisions at the 2013 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 maintained their lead in The Dutta Corp/ USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship in the evening session under the lights. Eight Grand Prix competitors returned to the Rolex Stadium on Friday evening to earn a further 40% of their championship score by riding the FEI Grand Prix Special. In their second test of the weekend, Peters (San Diego, Calif.) and Four Winds Farm’s 11-year-old Westphalian gelding were on track to again score in the high 70s but an error of course in the canter work meant their final score in the Special would be 74.771%. The 2012 National Champions once again demonstrated strong trot work and showed improvement in the changes.
“The horse was great, the rider wasn’t good. My mind was set on riding the twos but the judges didn’t want that,” joked Peters. “It was the cleanest test we’ve had; Legolas was fabulous. It didn’t matter too much tonight but I would have been really upset if this would have happened in a team competition. I’m confident it won’t happen again.”
Throughout the weekend at the 2013 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp competitors across all levels have shown great potential for the future. Peters believes this is an extremely fortunate position for the U.S. to be in and the tours many riders did in Europe over the summer were extremely beneficial.
“The European tours were very successful and it is important to not only look at where we stand but where we are going,” remarked the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Bronze medalist.
Finishing in second place on Friday night was Guenter Seidel (Cardiff, Calif.) and Coral Reef Wylea with a score of 71.917%. The U.S. team veteran and Coral Reef Ranch’s 13-year-old Westphalian mare demonstrated improvement in the FEI Grand Prix Special Test compared to Wednesday’s Grand Prix.
“I rode a little more of a conservative test today. Which I think worked out well,” said Seidel of his test on Friday. “From the rideability and the relaxation it was definitely the best test we’ve had.”
Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea now stand second in The Dutta Corp/ USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship.
Finishing in third place on Friday night was Kathleen Raine (Murrieta, Calif.) and her own, Jennifer Mason, and David Wightman's 13-year-old Hanoverian mare Breanna. The pair scored 70.771% on Friday, and now lie third in the Championship.
Grand Prix competition comes to a close on Saturday night with the Freestyle as competitors will earn the remaining 15% of their overall title.
Prior to the start of Grand Prix competition, Dressage Celebrity Mounted Games will take place in the Rolex Stadium at 6:00pm. This event will feature teams of competitors and celebrity coaches participating in pony relay races as a fundraiser for the U.S. High Performance Dressage programs.