Gladstone, N.J. - The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp came to an exciting conclusion on the fourth and final day of competition as Grand Prix, Intermediaire I, and Pony Rider Champions were all crowned. In the Grand Prix championship, Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 clinched their third consecutive National Title with their best performance of the week. For the third consecutive test, the top placings remained the same as Peters scored Champion and Reserve honors in The Dutta Corp/USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship. In the USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship, Katrina Sadis kicked off the morning by claiming her first National Title.
The Dutta Corp/USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship hosted the third and final leg of competition as all 16 competitors earned the remaining 15% of their overall total for the Freestyle Tests. Peters (San Diego, Calif.) entered the Dick and Jane Brown Arena on Sunday like a man on a mission to not only add another Grand Prix National title to his resume but also to ride a completely clean test. In both the Grand Prix Test and Grand Prix Special, Four Winds Farm’s 12-year-old Westphalian gelding displayed quality work but suffered a few mistakes in the two tests. In the Freestyle, the 2012 and 2013 National Champions performed their best test of the week to score 79.700% and win the class on their way to claiming their third consecutive title on a championship score of 76.036%.
Peters will spend the next two months competing in Europe as he looks to represent the U.S. at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France this summer.
“I would have loved to have that last one-tempi but the rest felt right on,” said Peters of his Freestyle. “There’s a bit of a different warm-up and I hope we can maintain that until August.”
The double Bronze medalist from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games believes that his partnership with Legolas 92 has grown over the last two years and thinks that it has helped him as he warms-up the talented gelding. The added preparation has particularly paid off in the flying changes which often served as a weak spot for the pair in the past.
“I’m very, very happy with Legolas today. I’m very happy I don’t have to compromise as much in the warm-up now,” said Peters. “I’m at a point we can school more in the warm-up and it’s certainly showing in the changes.”
Finishing in second on Sunday were Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades on a score of 78.425% in their second ever Grand Prix Freestyle. The pair also captured the Reserve honors with a championship score of 74.226% in only their first year competing on the Big Tour.
This was also the first time the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding had competed in three classes in the same show. While he was a bit tired on Sunday afternoon, Graves was nonetheless ecstatic with her horse’s performance throughout the week.
“I don’t know if I’m in a place to complain. I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Graves. “My horse has come so far in a such a short time.”
Finishing third in the Freestyle were Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.) and Beth Meyer, Ann Romney, and Amy Ebeling’s 17-year-old Oldenburg mare Rafalca on a score of 76.900%. The London Olympic Games veterans also placed third in the overall championship on a score of 74.143%.