World Cup League Finals at the Festival of the Horse CDI***-W

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Text and photos by Charlene Strickland

Brentina Returns to Competition

Burbank, California, April 2, 2005. The Olympic arena was the last place she competed—and Brentina pleased her fans in her return to showing. The popular pair of Brentina and Debbie McDonald won the FEI Grand Prix, the first phase of the World Cup League Final (73.208).

The chestnut mare performed a reliable test, and she looked like the Brentina who's won so many times in the arena at the L.A. Equestrian Center. Both her performance and condition were excellent.

“She showed me she's in good, fit form. She feels really strong,” said McDonald. She added, “It was a hard year last year with the injury. Everything is good right now. She feels just as good as ever.”

Responding to a question about riding a cautious test, McDonald said, “She feels quite powerful enough under me.”

And for Sunday's Freestyle, she promised a show, that will “rock the audience. It should be fun,” she said about the music and choreography of her new freestyle.

Nine horses competed, including two Californians on the 2004 Olympic team, Guenter Seidel and Steffen Peters. Both Seidel and Morse rode two horses.

World Cup League Finals at the Festival of the Horse CDI***-W
Text and photos by Charlene Strickland

Seidel and Morse Finish Second, Third, and Fourth

The U.S. could have as many as four slots for the World Cup, with USEF applying for two wild card entries (for McDonald and Robert Dover). Seidel and Morse showed their top horses, aiming to compete in Las Vegas later this month.

Second to ride, Seidel scored 69.625 on Aragon. “I can rely on the piaffe and passage,” said Seidel about the gray Bavarian. Aragon held the lead in the class until Brentina's test.

Morse was third on Tip Top (69.292) and fourth on Kingston (69.250). “Tip Top is a wonderful horse,” she said. “He tries very, very hard. He finds it interesting to use his body, and I can count on him.”

She added that she matches the stallion's movement well, where Kingston is more of “a struggle. He is my nemesis. They show different aspects of who they are in the Freestyle.”

Steffen Peters and Floriano weren't far behind in the scores, ending in fifth place with 68.833. And right behind him was Carol Plough on Komo (67.667).

The Grand Prix placings don't affect the final rankings for the U.S. League Finals for the World Cup. Sunday's Freestyle will determine which U.S. riders do go to Las Vegas.

Dressage World Cup League Finals - Festival of the Horse CDI***-W
Text and photos by Charlene Strickland

Steffan Peters Wins Two CDI Classes

Riding two challenging horses Steffen Peters won the CDI Grand Prix Special (Lombardi II) and Intermediare I (Marlando). Lombardi II, a bay Holsteiner, scored 69.920.

Lombardi's owner, Akiko Yamazaki, said of the horse, “I originally was riding him. He is too talented and nice for me, so Steffen is now riding him.”

Marlando dominated the small tour by winning both the Prix St. Georges yesterday, and Intermediare I (71.05). Peters said, “He has been so much more relaxed at home. For so many years, he was tense at the walk. I could hide the tension a little bit at the trot and canter, but not at the walk. Today he got some 8s on his extended walk.”

He credited his wife, Shannon, for helping him with Marlando. “She has a great eye on the ground.” Overall, he feels, “It's so much more reliable. I can ask him to go more forward. Today the flying changes were the straightest he has done.”

On The Scene at the Festival of the Horse CDI***-W