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Steffen Peters' New Ride El Toro Debuts In Temecula
Monday, May 8, 2023
Posted by Kim F Miller
DRESSAGE IN CALIFORNIA | DRESSAGE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SPRING BENEFIT CDI AND DRESSAGE SHOW
Temecula, California. With Suppenkasper resting after their 4th place finish at the FEI Longines Dressage World Cup Finals and his Small Tour star Be Happy recently sold, Steffen turned up with a new ride in the CDI1* FEI Prix St. Georges today.
In a class sponsored by Louise Leatherdale, he and El Torro B earned a 74.804% to top the class, even with a spook early in the test. "He is a very sensitive, hot horse," says Steffen. "I went in with a lot of horse to start with and the first few minutes and the last five minutes he's very hot."
Throughout, however, the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Painted Black showed off extravagant gaits and pizazz aplenty. "He is a wonderful horse. Really nice in the contact, he already does his one-tempis, his passage is beautiful, and his zig-zag half-passes are very nice." Keeping the energy in check is the challenge as they prepare for a hopeful Grand Prix entry in the fall CDIs. "In the piaffe, he wants to trot so big, the point is now to make it a bit smaller and in place."
Steffen's protegé Dawn White-O'Connor had ridden El Torro until recently. He's grateful to longtime owners Mary and Jim Keenan for adding him to his string. "I feel honored to ride a horse like him. After all the horses I've ridden, he and Mopsie give me a very similar feeling. So, I'm blessed."
If The Need Us We Will Go
Steffen hopes to keep Mopsie stateside through the summer, but a call to represent the States at the Aachen CDIO has already been placed by USET Dressage technical advisor Debbie McDonald. "I've always looked at it this way -- if the team and Debbie really need us, we'll be there. But my preference is to stay home this summer.
Elizabeth Ball and Vivalia, a 9-year-old German Sport Horse by Van Vivaldi, finished 2nd on a 71.471% and Lindsay Seidel-Wassenaar and Gaga, a 12-year-old KWPN by Contango, were third on a 68.578%.
Brenda Minor, Sarah Geikie and Stephen Clarke judged the CDI1* FEI Prix St. Georges.
Simply Spectacular in the CDI1* FEI Intermediaire I.
Then following their debut, Steffen Peters and El Torro B reinforced themselves as the pair to watch as they aced the CDI1* FEI Intermediaire I.
This new duo was great yesterday when they won the CDI1* Prix St. Georges and they were simply spectacular today. They locked up the Small Tour victory with a 76.618% in this class sponsored by Louise Leatherdale.
"He's a real pleasure to ride," said Steffen of the 14-year-old KWPN by Painted Black and owned by James and Mary Keenan. Mary was on hand for both victories and shared the back story of having recognized El Torro's potential as a 4-year-old in Holland.
"He is such an extremely honest horse," Steffen enthused. "Like Mopsie (Suppenkasper), he wants to do a little more, so I am constantly telling him, 'This is enough. We don't need quite this much.'"
Time to Move Up
Exhibiting mastery of all this level's challenges, Steffen acknowledged the focus is now on Grand Prix in the fall. El Torro's lightness in the bridle layers elegance and effortlessness on his extravagant gaits. "Sometimes I have only the weight of the reins in my hands," Steffen noted. "I like to point this out quite a lot. So many people teach having the horse go more into the hand, but if the horse is truly engaged and straight, there is nothing wrong with light contact.
"And, he likes it," Steffen added. "This is not a horse I'd want to go more into the bridle."
Elizabeth Ball and Vivalia Worthy Of Praise
Elizabeth Ball and Cadence, LLC's Vivalia finished second with a 70.343%. Elizabeth has had the 9-year-old German Sport Horse mare by Van Vivaldi for four years and this was their first CDI. "It's only her second time doing I1, and I was really pleased with her."
Galway Downs is located on a popular community event site, where Saturdays are filled with youth soccer action on part of the property. The cheers floating over to the equestrian space amped up an already impressive Grand Prix Arena vibe.
"She became a little frightened and distracted," Elizabeth said. Vivalia doesn't normally wear an ear bonnet, but they added one today to help her relax amid the extra noise. That helped and, despite a few two-tempi bobbles that Elizabeth wrote off to inexperience, it was a super finish for the pair who were also runners-up Friday in the Prix St. Georges.
Elizabeth closed out her Spring Benefit show with gratitude for the organizers, Equestrian Concepts, the "wonderful" venue and for the solid season of CDIs that now exist on the West Coast. "It's really great having all these great shows out here."
In fact, the competitions helped her prepare for another high note in the Spring Benefit's national division. She and Escarigo entered their first Grand Prix Friday and won it on a 70.217% for the 14-year-old KWPN by Maestro.
Jo Moran and Reine Noire GWF, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare by Rotspon, were third in the CDI Intermediaire I with a 67.353%.
Jane Weatherwax, Maria Schwennesen and Sarah Geikie judged this class.
California Spring Benefit Honors Mark Carter A Beloved Benefactor
Friday, May 5, Temecula, California. The DASC Spring Benefit Show is staged in tribute to Mark Carter, a long-time supporter, competitor and friend of the West Coast dressage community. Mark died in a helicopter crash on March 24, leaving a large hole in the hearts of all who knew him and in the community he passionately supported.
At the opening day exhibitors' party, Steffen Peters and David Wightman spoke about their close friend. Steffen recalled giving Mark lessons that required twice the normal 45-minute session. "Some of it was training, but we always talked a lot, about so many things," Steffen shared. "I learned so much from Mark -- about life in general, about business. What an incredibly funny, kind and good-hearted man he was."
David Wightman recounted Mark approaching him and his wife Kathleen Raine many years ago at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. "He wanted to get into the equestrian market with his E-Z UP Tents," David said. "He gave us an E-Z UP tent, but it had to have an emblem on it that was almost as big as the tent." It was the start of a long friendship that included Mark helping Kathleen and David complete their farm, Adventure Farm, on property next to Mark's.
"He was a person who always had a smile on his face and who made the world a better place," David concluded. "We are going to miss him forever."