Burbank, CA – With glorious sunshine and soaring spirits, the West Coast’s 2016 Olympic Games qualifying season got off to a flying start on the first day of California Dreaming Productions’ Los Angeles Winter Dressage CDI-W/Y/J/U-25 as former Olympian and U.S. Team favorite Steffen Peters of San Diego dominated the Grand Prix division, setting new personal best scores for two of his mounts in the process.
Aboard his 2015 Pan American Games Team and Individual Gold Medal partner Legolas 92, Peters earned a whopping 79.942% from the international judging panel of Lilo Fore (5* USA), Cara Whitham (5* CAN), Bo Jena (4* SWE), Sandy Hotz (4* USA), and Fernando Barba (3* PHI). This score is not only the highest score that Four Winds Farm's veteran Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Fuerstin by Florestan II) has earned to date in international Grand Prix competition, but is also the best CDI Grand Prix score earned by any competitor in the United States so far in 2016 and is the top mark in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup North American League standings.
“It was one of those days where everything just went perfectly in our preparation. From the very first step he was right on, and it resulted in an incredible, clean test,” said Peters. “On days like this, I can allow him to be a little more open in the neck, and then he really does that incredible passage he’s capable of. The changes were perfect today without any anticipation, and it was just wonderful. It was the best test of his career.”
By setting the bar so high right out of the starting gate in the 2016 season, Peters realized the pressure to continue to perform up to expectations as the world looks to Rio de Janeiro this summer. “The logical question that everyone asks is whether or not we can maintain this score going forward to the 5* in Florida as well as in Europe,” Peters admitted. “I think the expectations do need to be high in an Olympic year and we will do our best to achieve the highest possible standard.”
Following right on her stablemate’s heels, young prodigy Rosamunde (Rheinlander mare [Rock Forever x First Lady by Fidermark]) also set a personal best under Peters’ experienced hand, earning a score of 76.820% for second place. “It was a wonderful test today, the highest score of her career so far,” Peters explained. “We worked on all of the suggestions that the judges had for us at the Festival of Champions in December, and I think today her extensions were better and her changes were straighter. Overall it was a very polished test, and it’s such a blast to ride her when she’s ‘on’ like that. Both she and Legolas gave it their very best today, and I can’t even express in words how proud I am of them.”
In the CDI Prix St. Georges test, Christine Ekstrand and Concetta (Hanoverian mare [Contendro x Baroness H by Buenos Aires]) earned an overall score of 68.632% and a narrow victory over Kim Yacobucci aboard her home-bred Oldenburg mare Dona Rosa (Don Graphit x Lalique by Layout) with 67.184%. In the CDI Young Riders Team Test, Lauren Asher earned the victory aboard her new mount, veteran FEI small tour champion De Noir 3 (Hanoverian gelding [De Niro x Maharani by Matcho AA]) with 68.070%, while in the Junior division Francesca Sheld rode Reagan to the win with 63.333% over Paris Richman and Dante on 62.117%.
Complete results are available on the California Dreaming Productions website, http://www.californiadreamingproductions.com.
Formed by a partnership between long-time show organizer Glenda McElroy of Burbank, CA and Grand Prix riders and trainers David and Alisa Wilson of Chino Hills, CA, the goal of California Dreaming Productions is to bring a fresh face to international-level dressage competition on the West Coast.
Additional show information is available on the new California Dreaming Productions website, www.californiadreamingproductions.com, as well as regular updates posted on Facebook at www.facebook.com/californiadreamingproductions.