Steffen Peters to Ride Elizabeth Niemi's Grand Prix Partner, Wholio, in the Opening Ceremonies at the 2008 Challenge of the Americas

Olympic Team Bronze Medalist, Steffen Peters is scheduled to ride Niemi Dressage’s Wholio, in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Challenge of the Americas on March 8th, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Wholio, is an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Warkant, owned by Stan and Vivian Pichney and is a new grand prix partner for trainer, Elizabeth Neimi in Wellington, Florida.
“My special thanks go to Wholio’s owners and his trainer, Elizabeth,” said Peters. “That’s very generous of them to allow me to ride their horse in the opening ceremonies and it’s much appreciated.” In honor of the 2008 Hong Kong Olympic Games, a patriotic “Salute to America” is the theme for Peters’ inaugural freestyle performance.

"To have Steffen Peters ride a freestyle to kick-off this year’s Challenge is going to electrify the International Arena!” said Mary Ross, founder of the Challenge of the Americas. Peters will be in town on the weekend of the Challenge of the Americas as a guest of Dr. Cetty Weiss who will be hosting the Wellington Young Riders' Clinic. It will be a busy dressage weekend at the Palm Beach County Equestrian Center as well with the Wellington Classic Dressage show going on.

Elizabeth Niemi is an established FEI dressage competitor and trainer of top horses and riders who have received numerous regional championships and national titles. With over two decades of experience, Elizabeth Niemi runs her Niemi Dressage operation in the Equestrian Club in Wellington during the winter season and at Cogi Farm, Pawling, NY from May through November.

In the winter, she and her clients compete on the prestigious Florida winter dressage circuit. Elizabeth is currently campaigning and competing Florencio, a 7-year old Dutch gelding warmblood, owned by Robert and Christina Baker of Greenwich, Connecticut; her own Don Astair, Danish gelding, owned by Niemi Dressage and Wholio, the Hanoverian gelding owned by Vivian Russo-Picheny of New York, NY.

Niemi’s full training and boarding services are geared toward the serious amateur or professional dressage rider. “ I am thrilled that Steffen Peters will be riding Wholio for the “Salute to America” during the opening ceremonies,” Elizabeth said. “We are very proud to represent our sport and our country and contribute to this very important charity.”

The Challenge of the Americas and the Challenge Gala will benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1992 by Evelyn Lauder and dedicated to funding innovative clinical and genetic research.

The Challenge showcases international Grand Prix equestrians in jumping and musical dressage quadrilles, plus a gala dinner/dance afterwards at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. This will be the seventh edition of this annual fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and will include a prestigious Awards Ceremony to congratulate the winners and honor the teams in celebration of the Challenge competition.

“It’s always great to see how many professionals get involved and it is even more special to see how many spectators come and how much the public gets into it. To be a part of this fundraiser is a big honor. It will be a lot of fun for everyone.” Steffen Peters assures us.

Schedule of Festivities

* 6:00 p.m. Patrons and Sponsors Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvres
* 6:30 p.m. “Salute to America” – Steffen Peters
* 6:45 p.m. “In Memory of Judy” – Lauren Sammis, Chris Hickey, Susan Dutta
* 7:00 p.m. Challenge of the Americas – Musical Quadrille and Jumper Extravaganza
* 8:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony

* 8:15 p.m. The Challenge Gala – International Club Dancing – International Arena