San Diegans Steffen Peters and Guenter Seidel dominated the first and second places respectively in both the Saturday’s CDI classes: the Intermediere I and the Grand Prix Freestyle. Steffen Peters and Jen and Bruce Hlavecek’s Weltino’s Magic won Saturday’s Intermediere I CDI class with an impressive 75.439% followed closely by Guenter Seidel and Jane and Dick Brown’s Sundayboy with a 72.149%. With consistent scores such as these, both horse rider combinations are viable candidates to represent the United States Equestrian team in the Pan American Games this year in Guadalajara, Mexico. The plan for each of these horses at this point in the season is to travel to Europe and participate in the European tour with sights set on competing at Aachen.
Standing Ovations for Ravel and UII in the Grand Prix Freestyle
Both Seidel and Peters received standing ovations for their evening Grand Prix Musical Freestyle performances on UII and Ravel. The $5000.00 Grand Prix Freestyle class was sponsored by G2Software and always draws a large Saturday evening crowd. Peters and his Olympic mount Ravel won handily with an awesome 80.050%. Their freestyle was flawless with fluid transitions of gait, movement and music. Seidel and UII also performed impeccably to place second with 74.100%. These two riders have delighted spectators at the Del Mar National Dressage Week Show for decades. Both riders have represented the USA in Olympic Games, and both have won team medals for the USA. San Diego is especially proud of them. This Saturday the crowd was once again treated to creative choreography, lively music and skilled riding from Peters and Seidel. With hearts of hope and concern, the San Diego dressage community breathed sighs of relief to see the recovered Guenter Seidel once again safely touring the honor rounds beside his friend and fellow Olympian, Steffen Peters.
Steffen Peters Rides to 80% and Hopes for a Medal for the USA
Peters was happy overall with Ravel’s performance at the Del Mar Dressage Week CD, but stated, “After an amazing show in Florida at the Dressage Masters, one has to be realistic and keep riding at the 80% level. Friday, I relied too much on how he has been going so we did not start the Grand Prix with our best piaffe. The second one was better and the last piaffe was good.” Ravel, a KWPN gelding by Contango is now 13 so would be 14 for the 2012 Games. He has many good competition years left. With him, Peters won the first individual medal for the USA in over 70 years at the World Cup. The USA has won several team medals in international competition and Peters has been a member of a bronze medal Olympic team during the Olympics. Peters honors the price of a medal, team or individual but he said, “It is my dream to win an individual medal for the USA at the 2012 Olympics in London.” Peters is well aware that riding to the 80% level is what it takes to do that. His 80.050% ride in the GP Freestyle on Saturday night shows that he takes his own recommendations to heart as he did indeed ride to 80%, and improved on his Friday performance.
Peters is grateful that both Ravel and Weltino’s Magic are good travelers as he will travel extensively with both horses over the next six months. First he will go to Europe for a four week tour this summer with sights set on competing both horses at Aachen in mid-July. They will return home to San Diego for a month, then travel to Gladstone, New Jersey for the USET Trials for the Pan Am Games in September. From Gladstone, if Weltino’s Magic and he make the USET Pan Am Team, the pair will travel to Guadalajara, Mexico for the October Pan American Games. Although tremendously experienced in international competition, Peters said, “If we make the Pan Am team, we will be the rookies on it as I have never ridden in the Pan American Games.”
Peters feels that strong participation by top US riders in the Pan American Games is becoming more important to insure funding for the Olympic Equestrian Events. He said, “It is good for the USET to see that our horses can medal at the Pan American Games. This will help them attain funding for to field a team for the Olympics and other international events.” When asked about the future of dressage in America, Peters says he looks forward to a strong team for 2012. “I have been very impressed with Heather Blitz’s Paragon and have seen good piaffe and passage from him. If Ravel keeps going strong, and Paragon gets ready, we could have a very strong team.”