Watch the Videos! FEI Grand Prix Dressage Musical Freestyles Highlight the 2010 Del Mar National


San Diegans love the Del Mar National Horse Show which offers three weeks of equestrian competitions and exhibitions: Western Week, Dressage Week and Hunter/Jumper Week. The highlight of the Dressage Week for spectators is its Saturday Night performance featuring a $1000 FEI Freestyle of Choice class as well as the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle class. Viewers from all walks of life, in other words, not just dressage riders, come out to enjoy the musical rides. The covered arena is spectator friendly. The lighting is great, the sound good, and announcing fun. A European style white tented purveyor area flanks one side of the arena, and numerous “county fair” style food, drink and merchandise vendors offer products a short walk from the stands. For an $18.00 gate fee, a San Diego spectator one can see the Olympians perform the freestyle rides that they hope will earn them a spot on USET’s World Equestrian Games team.

No Surprise Peters and Ravel Win CDI Grand Prix Freestyle at Dressage Week at the Del Mar Horse Show

No Surprise Peters and Ravel Win CDI Grand Prix Freestyle at Dressage Week at the Del Mar Horse Show
No Surprise Peters and Ravel Win CDI Grand Prix Freestyle at Dressage Week at the Del Mar Horse Show

Though it came as no surprise to the crowd that the $5000 2010 CDI Grand Prix Freestyle winners were Steffen Peters and Akiko Yamasaki’s Ravel by Contango, the crowd’s applause was as intense as if it were seeing the pair for the first time! Peters put in another fluid and clean rider to a musical medley which begins with the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” Ravel, now quite a seasoned international horse, having the 2008 Olympics and World Cup under his belt, shows a relaxed attentiveness to his rider. The choreography of their freestyle presents some of the difficult movements, such as the one tempi’s, early on in the performance. This allows Peters to manage the test to his advantage. The one tempi’s were precise and the double canter pirouettes were exquisite. The judge at C, Gabriel Martin Armando from France scored the pair highest with an 82%, while the American judge, Sarah Geikie, scored them lowest with a 79.5%. Peters average and winning score was 81.3%.
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in CDI Grand Prix Freestyle Night at Del Mar National


Dressage Veteran Olympian Guenter Seidel brought Jane and Dick Brown’s KWPN gelding U II by Jazz out for his debut evening performance as a part of the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle Night. Seidel and U II put in a brave and forward performance to place second behind Peters. UII’s sweeping trot half passes and impressive canter half pass to canter pirouette movements showed that he definitely belongs in the GP arena. There some difficulties in the one tempis; however, Seidel’s skillful riding clearly gave him confidence to perform in such a charged venue, and the horse showed maturity and polish. Consistent with the judging for Peters, judge at C Armando scored the pair highest with a 73.6%, and American Geikie lowest with a 69.75%. Seidel’s average score was an impressive 71.8%. When asked if he was happy with U II’s performance, Seidel said, “Yes, very happy!”  This reporter has watched the horse be quite afraid during the day in this scary arena. His performance before the crowd and under the night lights showed marked courage and maturity!
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Third Place in Grand Prix Dressage Freestyle Elizabeth Ball and Orion
Following the close behind the two San Diego Olympians, was another San Diego FEI competitor, Elizabeth Ball riding the KWPN gelding Orion by Flemming. Ball and Orion had performed a beautiful pas de deux exhibition at the World Cup with Seidel riding Marie Meyers’ Fandango last year. The opportunity to get a horse into a venue such as World cup in Las Vegas prepares horses for venues such as the Del Mar National’s Evening of Freestyles. Though the announcers ask the crowd for quiet and little movement during the rides, the reality is that this is a spectator event and people will talk and move. Orion handled the exciting venue well and received an average score 66.7%.
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New Zealand KIWI Bird Rides into Honor Round on Dressage Freestyle Night
Barbie Breen riding her KWPN Octango, also by Contango Ravel’s sire, placed fourth with a solid 65.3% score, and New Zealand rider Nicole Magoffin and her 15 year old Jaybee Anzac placed fifth. Nicole who had retired her horse from competition because she could not get the training help she needed. She said, “I decided to look into Steffen’s training and brought Jaybee out of retirement to work with Steffen. We have been here for four weeks and will stay a few months.” Jaybee sported a stuffed KIWI bird on his browband as he entered the honor rounds to represent New Zealand.
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