If the horses on display at the Adequan/USDF Symposium in Del Mar, CA, were any indication, American dressage looks to have a very bright future. Presenters and national coaches Anne Gribbons, Scott Hassler, Debbie McDonald and Jeremy Steinberg were all thrilled with the up-and-coming talent coming through the pipeline, and Gribbons, the U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor, even went so far as to call one of them — Steffen Peters’ Sundance 8 — a serious contender for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. “The Olympics is a little too soon,” she quipped. Jan Ebeling, of Moorpark, CA, left his high performance talented mares at home and brought out Breitan, a 6-year-old chestnut Hanoverian stallion owned by Beth Meyer. “It was his first time away,” said Ebeling, who was pleased with the horse’s composure in the often-electric Del Mar Arena. “He was so calm and focused. I couldn’t be happier.”
Ebeling, who purchased Breitan (by Breitling W out of Carrera) from longtime trainer Wolfram Wittig, raves about the horse’s presence and gaits, particularly the canter. He’ll show him at Third and Fourth Level, and hopes to finish up the season at Prix St. Georges. “This was a fantastic opportunity for everybody involved,” he said. “It was great for the audience, and all the presenters handled it really well.”
Another 6-year-old on display was Leslie Morse’s own Oldenburg gelding King’s Excalibur, whose looks and movement reminded many in the crowd of his sire, Kingston. “He’s young and strong,” said Morse with a laugh.
Shannon Peters, whose Grand Prix partner Odyssey was retired after the National Dressage Championships at Gladstone, had nothing but praise for her new prospect: Sir Gregory, a 6-year-old Sir Donnerhall stallion owned by Jennifer and Armin Arnoldt of Dreamscape Farm in British Columbia. “I've only had him for two months,” said Peters, “but he’s the nicest, kindest stallion I have ever been around. He has a terrific work ethic, and always wants everyone’s attention in the barn. And he has the gaits to match his stellar personality.” Peters hasn’t yet decided on her show plans. “We’re going to see how the next couple of months go, training-wise.”
Shannon’s husband, Steffen, had a busy two days at the Symposium. In addition to a beautifully performed Freestyle demonstration with Ravel and a well-attended training session with Weltino’s Magic, his Gold Medal-winning Pan Am Games partner, he rode Sundance 8, a 7-year-old, 17.3-hand Hanoverian gelding owned by Margaret K. Koerner of Cambridge, MA. Shannon reports that Steffen will show the flashy chestnut (by Shakespeare in Love out of Daylight) in the small tour this season.
David Blake, a trainer at Shannon and Steffen’s Arroyo Del Mar in San Diego, showed off the latest addition to his barn: Royal Prinz, a 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion by Royal Diamond. Now 17.3 hands, the horse came in as a sales prospect before being purchased for Blake by Teresa and Willard Simmons of Alabama. “It’s like a fairy tale,” said Blake’s wife and business partner, Andrea, who added that David will compete the horse at Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I.
Part-time California resident Adrienne Lyle, who also had a training session with Peggy Thomas’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding Wizard (whom Gribbons called “a truly international horse”), introduced 6-year-old Accolade to the national scene. Peggy Thomas has owned the Dutch mare, a half-sister to Brentina, since she was two, and imported the horse to the U.S. in August 2010. “She’s still really green for her age,” said Lyle. “She hadn’t done a lot.” Next up for Lyle: She, Debbie McDonald and the rest of the River Grove Farm team will head to Florida with four horses in early January for the show season.