Peters Cruises as Buffini, Schmidt, & Dagge Claim National Titles at Day 3 of US Dressage Festival of Champions

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (

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 Riders 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.

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 sore.

The Dutta Corp/USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship

Competition in The Dutta Corp/USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship continued on Saturday with 16 of the 17 Small Tour combinations heading down centerline after storms on Friday afternoon delayed the majority of the class. In the second leg of the Intermediaire I Championship, 45% of the overall total was on the line for the FEI Intermediaire I Test.

In a repeat performance from Thursday, Peters cruised to the top two spots in the FEI Intermediaire I Test with Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde and Tracy Roenick’s Apassionata, on scores of 75.105% and 73.211%, respectively.

Peters was unfazed by having his Small Tour rides delayed due to the storms and believes both horses enjoyed having the day off from competition on Friday.

“It worked out well for me,” said Peters of the rain delay. “I like to take both girls for a walk on their days off. I took them out for a 45 minute walk around noon [yesterday] and they were great today.”

As the final Small Tour combination of the morning, Peters and Rosamunde demonstrated why they have been unbeatable this year with a near flawless performance on Saturday. The seven-year-old Rheinlander mare again displayed ground covering, athletic gaits as she topped the field by nearly two full points.

Peters believes Rosamunde, who is owned by long time owners Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki’s Four Winds Farm, believes that the mare has a huge future ahead of her but is not planning to start Big Tour competition until 2015.

“I’m one of the luckiest guys with owners like Akiko and Jerry who are supporting me with another horse. This is extremely exciting,” said Peters. “She’ll stay at the small tour; she’ll only be eight and I think that she could be a really valuable asset for the Pan American Games.”

Peters used all his experience and poise at the start of his test with Apassionata, as the eight-year-old Oldenburg mare spooked upon entering the ring. However, she quickly settled, producing an impressive effort throughout the test to finish in the runner-up spot to her barn mate.

Finishing in third place on Saturday was Olivia Lagoy-Weltz (Reston, Va.) with her own 10-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Rassing’s Lonoir on a score of 71.526%.

Peters holds the top two spots overall in the championship, with Lagoy-Weltz in third heading into Sunday’s Freestyle where the remaining 15% of the week’s total will be earned.

Katrin Dagge and Dream of Love (
Katrin Dagge and Dream of Love (

USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today

After earning 64.140% for the their FEI Young Adult U-25 Grand Prix Test, 22-year-old Katrin Dagge and Dream of Love came out on top of the leaderboard in the field of five. The Bonita Springs, Fla., native and her mother Birgitt Dagge’s 13-year-old Oldenburg stallion had a nice test, highlighted by quality trot work. The pair claimed the USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today title with a final score of 64.404%.

“It went great today,” Dagge said. “I thought we had very nice passage and piaffe. I’m so proud of him, I’m so proud of us.”

Dagge plans to continue working on the Brentina Cup test as well as Grand Prix movements with Dream of Love.

“It has been a learning curve,” she explained. “We have had to work on the different steps to get to the Grand Prix level.”

Twenty-two-year-old Katrina Hiller (St. Germain, Wis.) rode her own The Toy Soldier to Reserve Champion honors after ending up with a final score of 62.279%. She and the 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding, who she has had since he was three, scored a 63.326% in their test on Saturday.

“I was happy with my ride. He was so willing,” Hiller said. “We are still green at this level but that was the cleanest test we have ridden.”

Rachel Chowanec (Columbia, Conn.) and Lendon Gray’s Embrujado XI finished in third place in the championship with an overall score of 61.465%. She and the 16-year-old PRE gelding had a nice test with clean one tempi changes, earning a 61.442%.

AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship

Ten riders entered the arena with the championship title on their minds as they performed the FEI Young Rider Individual Test. By earning the remaining 50% of their overall score, the winner of the AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship was decided. Coming down the centerline as the penultimate combination for the second day in a row, Anna Buffini (Escondido, Calif.) and Sundayboy performed a magnificent test to earn a score of 74.711%.

Anna Buffini and Sundayboy (
Anna Buffini and Sundayboy (

The 20-year-old rider displayed her own 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding’s consistency throughout the test, highlighted by a great canter tour and beautiful trot work. For her efforts, Buffini claimed the 2014 AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship title with an overall average of 73.408%.

“I had a really good warm-up and I knew I had to sit down and ride,” Buffini explained. “He was there every step of the way and with me 100%.”

Buffini stated that she had a feeling halfway through the test that she knew her ride was turning into a special one, but knew she had to stay on task to get the job done.

“I felt like I left it all in the ring. It has been a really special experience throughout this whole show.”

Cassidy Gallman and Grand Makana had another solid performance on Saturday, earning a 68.474% for their test. The Poway, Calif., native and Joan Cvengros’ 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding put together a solid test with good canter pirouettes and flying changes. Though the pair was fifth in Saturday’s class, their respectable performances earned them the Reserve Champion title with a score of 68.579%.

“He was a little stuck in the beginning. I knew I was fighting with him but we had a good extended trot and the rest of our trot work improved from there,” Gallman said. “He was great in the tempis and overall I am very happy.”

Finishing third in the championship were Devon Wycoff (Boulder, Colo.) and her own 17-year-old Oldenburg gelding Power Play after earning an overall score of 67.882%. The pair demonstrated their partnership in the FEI Young Rider Individual Test, producing fluid effort to earn a 68.579%.

Taylor Yamamoto and Domino were second in the class with a score of 68.816%, while Jaclyn Pepper Taboo with a score of 68.605%.

AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship

The field of 12 junior riders completed their FEI Junior Individual Test to collect the remaining 50% of their championship score. Seventeen-year-old Cassie Schmidt rode a great test with Velasquer to earn a score of 69.342%. The Aledo, Texas native and Leslie Schmidt’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding had a very nice extended trot and good changes. Today’s performance sealed the deal for the pair to receive the AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship title with a final score of 68.685%.

“I am so happy,” said Schmidt with a smile. “Our test went very well and we improved from yesterday.”

Schmidt and Velasquer improved from a fifth-place finish in the 2013 AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship.

“I couldn’t be happier. It is something I have been dreaming of,” Schmidt said of winning the championship. “I’m on cloud nine right now.”

Sixteen-year-old Bebe Davis (Bedminster, N.J.) and Rotano had a nice test with great canter work to claim Reserve Championship honors with an overall score of 68.160%. She and her father Michael Davis’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding painted a lovely picture, only marred by Rotano breaking into the canter during the extended trot, to score 68.184% in the class.

“The first part of our trot work was super great. Unfortunately he broke in the extended trot which was totally rider error,” Davis explained. “Even though we have been together for a while, I feel we have more of a partnership each time out.”

With a final championship score of 67.948%, 18-year-old Cameron Dauterive (Folsom, La.) and Don Giovanni were third in the AGCO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship. She and her own 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding had a very smooth test to earn 68.868%.

In today’s class, Davis won with Feivel Mousekewitz on a score of 71.237%, while Schmidt and Velasquer were second and Dauterive and Don Giovanni were third.

USEF Gold Medal of Distinction Ceremony

At the conclusion of competition on Saturday, 17 athletes who have represented the United States in top-level dressage competition were honored in the USEF Gold Medal of Distinction Ceremony. Susan Blinks, Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, Robert Dover, Debbie McDonald, Dorothy Morkis, Steffen Peters, Michael Poulin, Kathleen Raine, Gary Rockwell, Guenter Seidel, Christine Traurig, and Lisa Wilcox were all recognized for earning Team or Individual medals or having accumulated multiple top placings, both in the United States and abroad. Michelle Gibson, Hilda Gurney, Carol Lavell, Edith Master, and Leslie Morse were also awarded Gold Medals of Distinction but could not be present in Gladstone.

To learn more about the Gold Medal of Distinction, visit:

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

Find out more information about the event at

By Helen Murray and Kathleen Landwehr

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