USET Foundation Dressage Festival of Champions 2006
Steffen Peters and Floriano Win 2006 Collecting Gaits Farm USEF National Championships
by Jeannie Putney/USEF
There was no looking back for Peters; he led all week long with stellar performances on Floriano, the 16-year-old Westphalian gelding, owned by Laurelyn Browning. Peters, of San Diego, CA, scored an impressive 83.250% in his Grand Prix Freestyle with a three-day total of 77.209%. There were no tears today, just wide grins.
Competing against Seidel in California this season, Peters said that Seidel was strong, so he really couldn’t have predicted that he and Floriano would come out on top by such a high margin. He was, however, happy that he had two strong performances and such a solid lead coming into today’s freestyle. “I came in today a little bit more relaxed, that’s for sure. I was so very happy that Floriano had so much energy and that he felt 100% healthy…You know, nobody ever camped on Mt. Everest, but in the meantime I am going to enjoy the view.”
In the reserve position today was Guenter Seidel, of Cardiff, CA. Seidel and Aragon had a freestyle score of 77.600% and a total after three performances of 73.394%.
Aragon is a 14-year-old Bavarian Warmblood gelding, owned by Richard and Jane Brown. “He’s doing well; he wasn’t as spooky as I expected him to be. "It was good enough, but I know he can do better than this. I am hoping he’ll peak in a month when we’re in Europe.”
Leslie Morse and her Swedish Warmblood stallion, Tip Top 962 rounded out the top three spots overall with an impressive freestyle that landed them a score of 79.100% today for a total after three days of competition of 73.232%. Morse made some last minute changes to her freestyle and after seeing the judges scores agreed with her decision.
“I think the decision to make the changes was very smart. Yes, it was very risky, but I love my music and I knew in my heart this was the right thing to do…It takes you a few freestyles to find out and decide what your highlights are and where you can put things and where you want to put things on one end of the arena or the other end.”
Arlene “Tuny” Page, of Wellington, FL, was third today with a solid freestyle test on her 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Wild One. With many impressive moves, Page is another rider who is in contention for the team that will head to Aachen. She and Wild One competed in the World Cup this past March in Amsterdam. Their freestyle score was 77.950% with an overall total of 71.722%.
When the top four riders were asked what their plans were regarding traveling to Europe this summer, Page said “My horse is younger, and he needs to develop strength and he still needs a little bit of mileage in the ring, unlike some of the other more experienced horses. With my horse it might make a little more sense to go a little bit earlier.”
U.S. Dressage Team Coach Klaus Balkenhol was pleased with what he saw today in the Grand Prix Freestyle. “It is very pleasing to me that the riders day by day improve…I am pleased with all of the horses in their freestyle, and those that are in contention for a place on the team really showed some difficult technical movements today. They did really well. We have no need to hide ourselves, we should be very proud internationally coming up against the other riders.”