Watch the Video! Horses Optional at the Del Mar National Dressage Show

Who says dressage riders don’t have fun? Visitors to the Del Mar National Horse Show could be forgiven for wondering if some of California’s top riders had decided to swap their riding careers for a spot on “Dancing With the Stars.” On Saturday afternoon, Guenter Seidel, Elizabeth Ball, Steffen and Shannon Peters, David Wightman and Niki Zamora (standing in for Wightman’s wife, Kathleen Raine, who was in the show ring) could be seen prancing around in the barn area with nary a horse in sight. Passersby (on foot and on horseback) stopped and stared, but the sextet kept at it, demonstrating the dedication that has propelled them into dressage’s top echelons—with a good measure of hilarity mixed in.

All was revealed at the close of the Evening of Musical Freestyles, when the six took the Del Mar Arena by storm. Accompanied by stick horses, they trotted, cantered, pirouetted and half-passed to the thumping beat of Tone Loc’s “Funky Cold Medina.” The routine grew out of a plan hatched by Seidel and dressage manager Regina Antonioli, who wanted to do something fun for the special Saturday night event. Ball was then entrusted to put together the choreography

“It was a little like catch riding,” joked Ball. “We had one practice and didn’t meet our ‘horses’ until the night of the performance. The girls in the show office had even braided their manes.” Nothing less would do for their star riders.

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