Weltino’s Magic, the 9-year-old Westfalen gelding that California’s Steffen Peters is successfully campaigning for this fall’s Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, just got a very important date added to his summer schedule: the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen, Germany. “We’ve decided!” said owner Jen Hlavacek, between classes at the Del Mar National Horse Show in Southern California. “We’re sending Magic to Aachen!” Earlier this year, USEF Technical Advisor/National Coach Anne Gribbons announced plans to field a U.S. Nation’s Cup team at Aachen for the first time since 2005, and Hlavacek and her husband, Bruce, have spent the past few months pondering the pros and cons of sending the horse to compete at the small tour at the show, considered one of the most prestigious European competitions. Peters has made no secret that he’d like the horse (out of Diva, by Diamond Boy) to get international experience, saying, “I’d love to take Magic and introduce him to the big world.” But the veteran rider and trainer also understood the decision had to make sense not only for the horse’s welfare, but financially as well.
Hlavacek said she and her husband made the decision over dinner Friday night and told Peters Saturday morning. But, she added with a laugh, they couldn’t resist drawing out the announcement to their star rider. “Bruce was very serious and told Steffen that we’d gone through all the rational reasons — the expense, the wear and tear on Magic. Steffen had this look on his face, like he knew what was coming,” she said. “Then Bruce told him that we looked at the emotional reasons as well — that it would be wonderful for Magic and that we knew Steffen wanted to compete him. And then we said, ‘The emotional reasons won out!’”
A smiling Peters said, “The whole flavor of the conversation made me think they’d decided against it. Jen and Bruce have been deliberating for a few months. I got the official invite [to the show] this week, and I immediately forwarded it to Bruce. When he left a message saying they wanted to meet with me, there was nothing positive about it. Magic has been going very well, he’s been very consistent now, and he doesn’t change much from the warm-up to the show arena. I’m very excited. It doesn’t get any better or bigger than Aachen.”