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Peters’ ‘ride of lifetime’ wins World Masters event

From the Newstrader - February 2nd, 2012 - Newstrader

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The 2012 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI4* ended as it began, with American dressage superstar Steffen Peters of San Diego and Ravel storming to their second consecutive sweep of the event.

Their dramatic freestyle was very difficult, and they were rewarded by the judges with a score of 83.70 percent and recognized with a standing ovation from the crowd. It was a narrow victory, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin gave Peters and Ravel a lot to handle, but they held on by 5/100ths of a point.

“What an amazing ride,” said Peters. “Thanks again to my buddy, Ravel.”

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson- Silfven was third on a score of 78.250% with Favourit.

Peters and Ravel’s incredibly difficult transitions, including from canter pirouette to piaffe to walk, were seamless. Ravel’s half-pass has amazing reach at both the trot and the canter and the one- time changes on the centerline were effortless. The all-around brilliance gave this pair the edge – making them back-to-back World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Champions.

“It was the ride of my lifetime, I’ve never done a better freestyle,” said Peters. “He felt absolutely amazing – if we can just keep this for the next seven months.”

The Olympic Games in London take place in July.

Music from Avatar proved incredibly powerful, and Ravel was full of confidence, from one difficult movement to the next.

“It felt wonderful,” said Peters. “Ravel was even more powerful than last night – but relaxed in between for the walk tour.”

Peters wasn’t confident after Dujardin went that he held his lead, the Brit was the last in the ring.

“I felt like I was a team in the play-off who kicked a field goal with one second left,” said Peters after the scores were verified.

It was standing room only at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center and eight horses took center stage to perform their CDI4* Freestyles. Peters broke his personal best in the Grand Prix on Friday and then refused to flinch in the face of tough competition. The now 14-year-old KWPN gelding has transformed into a major force in the dressage world for Peters and his owner Akiko Yamazaki from Four Winds Farm. They were fourth individually at the 2008 Olympic Games, won the 2009 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final, won two individual Bronze medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the 2011 World Dressage Masters. Peters has won USEF Equestrian of the Year honors three times, including for his 2011 Pan American Games double Gold medal effort in Mexico.

Dujardin rode confidently – after a slight bobble in the first centerline, she never gave up and got every conceivable point out of her lovely Dutch gelding.

“I had a great ride…” said Dujardin. “He dealt with the atmosphere really well, today I felt like he was much more with me.”

He was a bit over the top in the Grand Prix and Dujardin was pleased to find him more rideable in the freestyle.

“I felt like I had a bit more control today,” said Dujardin.

A perennial competitor on the Florida scene, Vilhelmson- Silfven put in a dynamic effort with her veteran Rheinlander gelding.

Wim Ernes was the judge at C and he was pleased with the level of the contest. To him, Ravel’s level of difficulty was what gave him the edge. And the win.

“They went to the limit,” said Ernes. “That’s real sport.”

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