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Peters, Ravel in record Grand Prix win in Florida

From the Newstrader - March 17th, 2011 - Show & Event News
Steffen Peters and Ravel

SusanJStickle.com photo

Steffen Peters and Ravel

WELLINGTON, Fla. — Before a sold-out crowd March 12 at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5*, Steffen Peters and Ravel brought down the house.

After Thursday’s Grand Prix and Friday afternoon’s Grand Prix Special, eight of the top riders from across the United States and Europe rode their freestyles on a cool Florida evening. By the luck of the draw, the best was saved for last.

Peters and Ravel dominated the Grand Prix on Thursday with a record score and continued to make their trip from San Diego worth the miles by putting in another phenomenal effort that resulted in a crowd-pleasing 84.525 percent.

“Ravel was very, very excited,” said Peters. “He reacted a little but even though he was excited he’s such a good guy he made it happen for me.”

The double Individual Bronze medalists from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games returned East and proved that Akiko Yamazaki’s 13-year-old KWPN gelding continues to improve. He was fourth individually at the 2008 Olympic Games when he was only 10 years old and followed that up with an FEI World Cup Final victory and a sweep at Aachen in July of 2009.

On Thursday, Peters rode Ravel to a personal best result and only the fourth CDI Grand Prix score ever above 80 per cent in a dominating performance at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach. The field featured 17 of some of the best horses and riders in the world, including veteran Olympians from Canada, Denmark, Poland, Sweden and the U.S., and three of the four members of the U.S. Dressage Team from last September’s 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Scores rose all afternoon, but the last combination in the ring stole the show as double Individual Bronze medalist from the World Games, Peters delivered on expectations and rode Akiko Yamazaki’s Ravel to a dynamite performance. From the moment they cantered into the ring, the pair was relaxed, fluid and confident. They pushed the scores over 80 at early on, settled in the high 70s but then closed the test out with huge marks for the canter work. They finished on 80.872 percent, a record CDI Grand Prix score for the pair. Peters received a 10 for his riding.

“I wish I had a 12 to give you,” Ground Jury President Cara Whitham told Peters after the test.

Their test featured easy one-tempo changes, relaxed walk work and powerful extensions. The canter work scores eights and nines throughout and the right pirouette was exceptional. The 13-year-old KWPN gelding seemed effortless and stormed to the lead.

“It was an amazing ride,” said Peters. “It is a ride that I think I will compare all my other rides to.”

Peters left no question that this was his competition to lose. The defending champions from the 2010 World Dressage Masters in the Grand Prix will be looking to retain the top spot in the Freestyle – they finished second last year.

“I made a deal with coach Anne Gribbons (who is the U.S. Dressage Team Technical Advisor) that I would change my music after this show,” said Peters. “So this will be the last time with the WEG music.”

Peters’ teammate from WEG, Tina Konyot of Palm City, Fla., put in rock-solid effort with her own and John Bryiasen’s Calecto V to finish second. The 2010 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Grand Prix Dressage champions showcased incredible canter work and passage and piaffe that were improved from the previous week’s tests at the Palm Beach Derby. The 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding and his rider have an incredible partnership which is evident by the confidence with which Konyot rides.

“I’m very, very, very happy,” said Konyot. “My ride – I’m trying to improve every time, it was one of my better Grand Prix – it was the time to do it. I’m very, very happy with him.”

Their score of 72.213 percent moved them into second place, meaning that they punched their ticket to the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5* under the lights on Friday night.

Rounding out the top three was Tinne Vilhelmsson Silven from Sweden. The five-time Olympian who has been trading wins with Konyot this spring in Florida scored 71.298% on Antonia Ax:son Johnson and Goran Ennerfelt’s Favourit.

“It’s been such a great time these three months,” said Vilhlmsson Silven about her time in Florida. “It’s been a great opportunity to educate my horses here. Favourit was a little tense but I’m still very pleased.”

This is the first of four World Dressage Masters competitions around the globe in 2011 with stops in Munich, Falsterbo and Hickstead. The series of these events is sponsored by the Axel Johnson Group.

More results: See website http://www.usefnetwork.com

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