Steffen Peters is USA Equestrian of the Year for 2nd Time

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Ravel and Steffen Peters at 2009 World Cup in Las vegas. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ravel and Steffen Peters at 2009 World Cup in Las Vegas. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LOUSIVILLE, Kentucky, Jan. 16–Steffen Peters was named the United States Equestrian of the Year on Saturday night, just a day after his World Cup championship mount Ravel was declared Horse of the Year.

Steffen of San Diego, California, in 2009 became the first American combination to win the World Cup in their homeland and the only American pair ever to sweep the CDIO Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany.

Steffen was awarded the Equestrian of the Year by the U.S. Equestrian Federation at a gala dinner at their annual convention, the second straight year he won the award. He was conducting a symposium on Florida for the 2008 award and could not attend the ceremony.

There were seven candidates for the award known as USEF Equestrians of Honor that was determined by an online vote by USEF members, equestrian media and the USEF Board of Directors.

Steffen joins Beezie Madden two-time Olympic team gold medalist (who won in 2005 and 2006) and the man who presented him with the award, USEF President and 2000 Individual Olympic gold medalist, David O’Connor (he won in 2000 and 2002), as the only two-time winners of the federation’s highest honor.

Steffen, 45, born in Germany but became a U.S. citizen in 1992, told dressage-news.com that owner Akiko Yamazaki described the award ceremony for Ravel on Friday night as “very, very special” and that he should try to make it to Louisville.

Although he was competing at a national show in Thermal, California, where he won the Saturday morning Prix St. Georges class, he raced to the airport to catch a private jet that Akiko and her husband, Jerry Yang, had arranged.

Steffen Peters, Jessica Ransehousen and Maxance McManamy. Photo: Geoff Oliver Bugbee
Steffen Peters, Jessica Ransehousen and Maxance McManamy. Photo: Geoff Oliver Bugbee

The awards ceremony Saturday night was special, he said, with photographs of he and Ravel at the World Cup decorating the room.

“When something occurs that is life changing, it is very, very  special,” he said.

“That’s what Akiko and Jerry have done for me with the purchase of Ravel.

“It’s a dream and I’m so lucky to be living it.”

In addition to Peters, candidates for Equestrian of Honor were: Suzy Stafford (Combined Driving) of Bear, Delaware; Dr. Alan R. Raun (Saddlebreds/Hackneys) of Cumming, Iowa; John French (Hunter) of San Juan Bautista, California, Vicky Humphrey (Arabian/NSH) of Canton, Georgia; Tommy Garland (Arabian/Western) of Powhatan, Virginia and Kenny Wheeler (Hunter Breeding) of Keswick, Virginia.

Ravel, a 12-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding, was one of five horses nominated for Farnam/Platform Horse of the Year.

That list included Sapphire, 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by McLain Ward and Bluechip Bloodstock that has won two Olympic team gold medals and in 2009 won the C$1,000,000 (US$970,000) Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada, and was reserve champion at the World Cup in Las Vegas.