No European Competitions for Steffen Peters & Ravel in 2010

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USA's Steffen Peters and Ravel, winners of Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix. © 2010 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
USA's Steffen Peters and Ravel, winners of Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix. © 2010 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 22–Steffen Peters, whose reign as World Cup champion with Ravel has only days to run, will not compete in Europe this year even at the World Equestrian Festival CDIO in Aachen which he swept in 2009.

“It is all about preserving Ravel for the World Equestrian Games,” Steffen told dressage-news.com at his monthly clinic for riders at Wellington’s Two Swans Farm.

Aside from the repeat appearance at the Exquis World Dressage Masters in Palm Beach last month, the only other 2010 competition planned for the San Diego, California based rider and Ravel outside of their home state before the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is the U.S. Grand Prix National Championship at Gladstone, New Jersey. The championship will also be the dressage selection trial for WEG in Kentucky beginning Sept. 28.

Steffen said that the Del Mar National CDI3* in California at the end of April is the last competition before the two weeks of selection trials in August.

There has been widespread speculation about allowing the 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Akiko Yamazaki to skip the selection trials, similar to the U.S. show jumping selection procedures which allow selectors the right to name a specified number of horse/rider combinations to championship squads.

“There is too much of a gap between the Del Mar show and the WEG so we want to do the selection trials to keep us competition sharp,” Steffen said. Though if the Contango offspring performed at top level in the first week of the trials and they were offered a bye for the second week that would be considered at the time.

In 2009, Steffen and Ravel became only the second U.S. pair to become World Cup champions then captured all three CDIO events–Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle–at Aachen, regarded as the most prestigious competition in the world.

Hopes of the United States performing well in the WEG held only once every four years and on U.S. soil for the first time rest on Ravel. Tip Top 962, ridden by Leslie Morse to win Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Specials in Hickstead in 2009 and at Palm Beach in 2010, underwent major colic surgery in mid-March.

Only a handful of horses, none of them experienced at championship level, have emerged so far as consistent high performance contenders. Among them are Calecto V ridden by Tina Konyot, Sagacious HF ridden by Lauren Sammis–they won won team gold and individual silver at the 2007 Pan American Games but those championships are at small tour–Wizard ridden by Adrienne Lyle, Otto ridden by Todd Flettrich and Cadillac and Catherine Haddad based in Germany.

None of the U.S.-based horses have been competed at an international level in Europe by their current riders. Otto was shown extensively by Heather Blitz when she was based in Denmark.

No American team competitions comprising top prospects have been announced for outside the United States prior to WEG.