Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.
Wellington, FL – February 7, 2020 – It was the second last to go who captured the imagination of judges and the crowd alike in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by Helgstrand Dressage. Steffen Peters (USA) and the 18.2hh Suppenkasper showed a jaw-dropping degree of difficulty in their winning test — including a canter pirouette into piaffe into walk — to claim the winner’s cooler with a new personal best of 83.495%. Their previous best was 80.99%, awarded in California in April 2019.
In cool conditions but under clear skies, 15 combinations battled it out in week five’s showcase class under lights at the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) finished second on Lonoir (79.365%), with Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard filling third with 77.635% on Blue Hors Zatchmo. Both the top two horses were bought through class sponsor Helgstrand Dressage, who has recently opened a new sales barn near the AGDF venue in Wellington.
Of his test on the 18.2hh son of Spielberg, Peters said: “It felt wonderful. I knew when the music started and he was still walking — usually we’re piaffing and passaging with one hind leg going to the moon — from then on I knew there was a very good chance that he would just stand still. From there he was right with the music the entire time.
“This is one of those freestyles that I’ve visualized for many days — many mornings, many nights, throughout dark times — and it worked out beautifully,” added the 55-year-old, whose result qualified him for the FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas in April. “There were a few tears that I wiped away. I kept telling Mopsie, ‘It looks like we’re going to Vegas.’ I told him that a bunch of times, but I think I was a bit more excited about it than he was. The bottom line is that it’s a huge accomplishment and something we dreamed of every single day. It’s hard to describe what that feels like when you go through a difficult time and your horse is so therapeutic.
Watch Steffen Peters’ winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.
Peters rode to a new soundtrack and floorplan, but the canter music is that same as he used for Ravel, on whom he won the FEI World Cup™ Final in 2009. He will remain in Wellington and contest the CDI5* in week seven (February 19-23) and the Nations Cup show in week 10 (March 10-15) before returning home to California.
He added: “There were difficult movements tonight, but the relaxation of this horse was tremendous. It is always an amazing pleasure to ride here. It was eight years ago today at the World Dressage Masters that I won in Wellington. I’ve never won the freestyle here and the experience was amazing. I was excited to go back on the long side [after the test] to shake a few hands, and that felt really good. There are only so many of us, but there were hundreds of spectators and they made it happen. We’re only a small part of it, and it felt good to give a little bit back to them.”
For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.