Wellington, FL – March 11, 2011 – The 2011 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Palm Beach will be remembered for breaking records, and the results of Friday night’s Grand Prix Freestyle finale are no exception. Olympic and World Equestrian Games medalist and 2009 World Cup Final Champion Steffen Peters danced his way to the highest score ever awarded at the WDM Palm Beach. Riding to a collection of rock songs including Sympathy for the Devil and Viva la Vida, Peters and Akiko Yamazaki’s 13 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding Ravel captivated the sold out audience and received a winning score of 84.550% from the FEI ground jury.
Having won the Grand Prix at both the 2009 and 2010 WDM Palm Beach but having then settled for third and then second place, Peters was thrilled to have finally achieved a WDM freestyle victory. “Maybe there is some truth to ‘three is a charm’,” he said. “Last year was very close between Salinero and Ravel. Certainly it was one of my goals to win World Dressage Masters and I’m happy that it happened tonight.”
If Peters’ victory was a decisive one, such was not the case between second and third places, where there was a close contest between Tina Konyot of the US and Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven. Konyot had finished second in Thursday’s Grand Prix and Vilhelmsson Silfven third, but after two strong performances with exciting music and choreography, the two riders switched places in the Freestyle. Vilhelmsson Silfven and Antonia Ax:son Johnson’s 12 year old Danish gelding Favourit performed an elegant program to a collection of Eurhythmics tunes, receiving a score of 77.975%. Konyot’s powerful black Danish stallion Calecto V was shown off to a contemporary score that included, appropriately, the song Black Horse in a Cherry Tree. A score of 76.775% was not quite enough to put Konyot into second place for a second time, but she wasn’t disappointed with the outcome.