Steffen Peters Puts Away “Lucky” Tail Coat of 30 Years for Futuristic New Look
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
BURBANK, California, April 1–Steffen Peters has put into storage the “lucky” tail coat he has worn for 30 years in winning Olympic and World Equestrian Games medals and a World Cup title to don a new, fashionable and futuristic outfit he rode in competition for the first time at this Festival of the Horse World Cup qualifying event on Friday.
The coat that became famous as his “lucky” outfit was bought by his parents in a small tack store near Düsseldorf, Germany when he preparing for his first Young Rider qualifier when he was aged 17. After that, “anytime I wore a tail coat, it was this one.”
The new coat was provided by GPA, the European helmet maker and is being worn in competition by the U.S.-based Australian Ilse Schwarz and France’s Claudia Fassaert.
After the first competition ride in the new coat on Weltino’s Magic in the Prix St. Georges, Steffen said he thought the “spell of the old coat is broken.” The pair received 75.395 per cent from the three-judge panel, close to the highest ever score on the horse at a CDI.
“We had a really good ride.
“I feel a little stupid now that I thought for so long that the coat I wore could make a difference. It didn’t.”
Steffen cannot recall when it became his “lucky” coat, but said he had many offers to replace it since winning a bronze medal riding Udon as a member of the U.S. bronze medal team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, but “I couldn’t do it.”
“I was always worried about it getting damaged, especially when it was being dry cleaned,” he told dressage-news.com. “But Mom had a background in the clothing industry.
“I remember some major repairs when Floriano acted up in the honor round in Aachen at the World Equestrian Games in 2006. He stood straight up. Just to stay on, I wrapped my right arm around his neck. It tore a hole from the collar all the way down my back. It was in two pieces for the entire honor round in front of 45,000 people. It was a night shift for Mom. But it was ready to go the next day.”
Steffen has worn the coat on the medals podium at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, the 2009 World Cup Final at Las Vegas and the 2010 World Games in Kentucky as well as dozens of national and international competitions.
Steffen said the fit of the new coat was perfect but he was still getting used to it having no buttons. His wife, Shannon, gave him the Star Trek Vulcan “Live Long and Prosper” salute.
Margaret Rytan, his mother-in-law, helped him maintain a touch of the “lucky” coat by transferring a pocket kerchief from the old to the new.