Ravel “Stronger” Gearing Up for Olympic Year; Steffen Peters’ “Thank You” for Historic 3rd EoY Title

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Steffen Peters and Ravel performing CDIO Grand Prix Freestyle at Aachen. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters and Ravel performing CDIO Grand Prix Freestyle at Aachen in 2011. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

After his first competition of this Olympic year, Ravel “feels even stronger” than 2011 when performances by the gelding and Weltino’s Magic led to rider Steffen Peters being named United States Equestrian of the Year for an unprecedented third time.

Rather than give a speech at the U.S. Equestrian Federation awards banquet in Cincinatti, Ohio, Steffen of San Diego, California, made a photo presentation of highlights with Ravel, now aged 14, and Magic which can be viewed here.

The award came a day after a national Grand Prix before a single judge at Dressage Getaway in Thermal, California, in which the KWPN gelding on whom Steffen won the 2009 World Cup title, the CDIO hampionships at Aachen, Germany, and two individual bronze medals at the 2010 World Equestrian Games scored 80.426 per cent.

Legolas, his new mount, bought a month ago by Akiko Yamazaki, who also owns Ravel, was second in the Grand Prix on 80.213 per cent.

Steffen said that Ravel “did a wonderful supple and powerful test.

“He feels even stronger than last year,” he said of 2011 when the pair won the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5*, the U.S. Grand Prix Championship and was runnerup to Matthias Alexander Rath and Totilas in the Aachen, CDIO Freestyle.

At Thermal, he said, Ravel received 10s on his trot half passes.

“He is still our champ.”

Much of the attention, particularly in Europe, was focused on Legolas, unknown in international competition while  Ravel ranks with the elite combinations in the world.

The 10-year-old Westfalen gelding by Laomoden out of a Florestan II mare was bought from Ulrich Kasselman who with Paul Schockemöhle owns Performance Sales International of Hagen, Germany. Ullrich trained the horse to Grand Prix.

Legolas was “definitely better than I thought he would be” in hs first show and three weeks since he started riding the horse.

They were awarded six 10s for piaffe and passage, and he said there is “lots of room for improvement” especially in the canter.

Both Legolas and Ravel are entered for the World Cup qualifier at Burbank, California, Feb. 23-26 and Legolas will perform the Special while Ravel will do the freestyle, which is the score that counts toward seeking a place in the Final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, in April.

“I told Akiko we got exactly the horse we hoped we would have,” Steffen said. “What Ulli and Ulf (Möller, of PSI) told me was exactly what we got, no surprises.”