Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 Edge Closer to Third Consecutive National Title

Sunday, June 15, 2014
Posted by Helen Murray and Kathleen Landwehr



Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (SusanJStickle.com)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (SusanJStickle.com)

Gladstone, N.J. - The third day of the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp hosted a packed day of competition as riders across five divisions went to task in the USET Foundation Headquarters' Dick and Jane Brown Arena. In Grand Prix competition Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 took another step to claiming their third consecutive National Title with a win in the Grand Prix Special. Peters also notched another one-two finish in the Small Tour Championship. Young Rider Anna Buffini and Cassie Schmidt claimed their first National Championship crowns in Young Rider and Junior competition on Saturday, respectively. In the USEF Young Adult 'Brentina Cup' Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today Katrin Dagge and Dream of Love closed Saturday sealing a wire-to-wire victory.{C}The Dutta Corp/USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
Competitors in The Dutta Corp/USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship and Selection Trial for the U.S. Dressage Team Short List for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games returned to the Dick and Jane Brown Arena on Saturday to perform the FEI Grand Prix Special Test which counts for 40% of their championship total.
Peters (San Diego, Calif.) continues to lead the National Championship and Selection Trial after winning the Grand Prix Special with Four Winds Farm's Legolas 92 on a score of 75.647%. Just as in the Grand Prix on Thursday, the reigning National Champions suffered from a few bobbles in their test but produced quality work in the remainder of their test to best the field.
"I wish I could have ridden a clean test," said Peters. "There were some highlights that make up for the mistakes. I was really happy with the changes and the half-pass. It's still a learning curve."
The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games double Bronze medalist has been working hard on the 12-year-old Westphalian gelding's fitness and believes that the added strength has Legolas 92 feeling better than ever, resulting in some of the bobbles the pair have had this year. However, Peters has been working closely with U.S. Chef d'Equipe Robert Dover, trainer Jo Hinnemann, and his wife Shannon to produce cleaner tests this summer.
"He's always been an energetic horse and at the moment he feels quite fit and quite strong," said Peter. "The Grand Prix and the Special have not been so clean (lately) but Jo, Robert, Shannon, and I are working on a plan for that."
Finishing in second place on Saturday were Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades on a score of 74.549%. The 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding is competing in his first season at Grand Prix but is continually getting more established every time down centerline.
"We had a good go on Thursday, so I just played it the same," said Graves of her strategy for the Grand Prix Special. "My horse was there for me; he's getting much more comfortable in these tests but we still have work to do."
Finishing in third place on Saturday were Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.) and Beth Meyer, Ann Romney, and Amy Ebeling's 17-year-old Oldenburg mare Rafalca on a score of 74.294%.


In overall National Championship and Selection Trial competition Peters, Ebeling, and Graves stand first, second, and third, respectively. Big Tour competition comes to an end on Sunday with the Freestyle with combinations earning the final 15% of their championship score.

Watch the remaining championship divisions unfold with on-demand footage from today and Thursday and live streaming on Saturday and Sunday on the USEF Network. Go to http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2014usdfoc/
Find out more information about the event here.

Photos provided by Susan J Stickle - the Official Photographer of The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp