Lexington, Ky., Sept. 29, 2010 — U.S. rider Steffen Peters made history today when he rode Ravel to the Grand Prix Special individual bronze medal in the Dressage World Championships, presented by Alltech, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. He is the first American ever to win an individual medal in the World Championships.
Peters, 46, from San Diego, Calif., scored 78.54 percent, to finish behind gold medalist Edward Gal of the Netherlands on Moorlands Totilas (85.70%) and Laura Bechtolsheimer, 25, of Great Britain, on Mistral Hojris (81.70%). The three riders finished yesterday’s team Grand Prix in the same order.
Peters was born in Germany and immigrated to United States in 1992. He rode on his first U.S. team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, winning the team bronze medal. At the 2006 World Equestrian Games, Peters and Ravel, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, led the U.S. team to the bronze medal. They finished a painfully close fourth in the 2008 Olympics, and in 2009 they won the FEI World Cup Final.
Peters shed a few tears at this evening’s medal ceremony in the Main Stadium. “I can tell you pretty well how many years, months and days have passed since I just missed the medal in Hong Kong [in 2008]. That it finally happened today was huge, tremendous,” he said.
Peters added, “Certainly yesterday was a huge pressure for the team, but there’s never been a bronze medal for the U.S. before, so I was beside myself on the podium.”
Gal, 40, said he was just as thrilled to be wearing both the team and individual Grand Prix Special gold medals. “Totilas felt a bit more relaxed today than yesterday, so I could ride him a bit more, and it worked out great. I am very happy,” he said.
Gal tried to describe the felling of riding Totilas, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion. “It’s so difficult to explain. You have to ride it to fell it, and I will not allow that,” he said with a smile. “He has so much energy and so much power, but you always have the feeling that you can control it. And he doesn’t want to make a mistake, ever. I don’t think I will ever get to ride another horse like him.”
Mary Seefried of Australia, the judge at C, had high praise for the medalists. “What impressed the judges most about the top three was the harmony of the riders and the precision of their riding,” she said.
The Dressage World Championships climax with the musical freestyle on Friday night, starting at 7:00 p.m. The 15 highest-scoring riders from today’s Grand Prix Special have qualified for their final ride of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
“Normally the freestyle is my best test, but I hope I can show it under the lights on Friday night,” said Gal.
Today’s attendance was 31,026.
About the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). The Games are held every four years and this will be the first occurrence in the United States. Tickets to the 2010 Games are still available and can be purchased at www.alltechfeigames.com/tickets, at www.ticketmaster.com, through the Ticketmaster hotline at 1-800-745-3000, or at your local Ticketmaster outlet.
The Games are being broadcast on NBC Sports, which marks the largest commitment to network coverage of equestrian sport in U.S. television history. The 2010 Games are expected to have a statewide economic impact of $167 million, and current sponsors include Alltech, Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International, Inc., Meydan, Kentucky Ale, and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. For more information on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games please visit www.alltechfeigames.com.
Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
Founded by Dr Pearse Lyons, Alltech is a global animal health and nutrition company with 30 years’ experience in developing natural products that are scientifically proven to enhance animal health and performance. With more than 2300 employees in 120 countries, the company has developed a strong regional presence in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. For further information, visit www.alltech.com.
To listen to audio interviews of the top three medalists, go to:
Edward Gal (ENGLISH): http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Edward%20Gal%20-%20Ind%20Gold%2029-9.mp3