Big Differences in Judges’ Scores at Del Mar CDI3* Award Steffen Peters & Legolas Lowest Grand Prix Result Since 1st CDI
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
America’s top combination of Steffen Peters and Legolas overcame a big disparity in judges’ scores to eke out a win in California’s Del Mar National CDI3* Grand Prix Friday with the lowest score since their first international competition more than two years ago. Jan Ebeing had “probably the best ride ever” on his Olympic partner Rafalca for a close second.
Steffen of nearby San Diego and the 12-year-old Westfalen gelding scored 71.840 per cent with Jan of Moorpark, California and the mare, Rafalca now 17 years old and two years on from their celebrity performance at the 2012 London Games, second on 71.120 per cent and Kathleen Raine of Murieta, California on Breanna third on 68.660 per cent.
Three judges awarded Steffen marks in the 70s–Americans Lois Yukins at 75.000 per cent and Michael Osinski at 73.700 per cent and Canada’s Cara Whitham 71.500 per cent. Finland’s Maria Colliander gave 69.700 per cent and Argentina’s Gabriel Armando 69.300 per cent.
“It was a good Grand Prix,” Steffen told dressage-news.com “Our changes were not good, piaffe and passage that usually are good today felt especially more expressive, all the piaffes in place. I’m usually the first to complain when Legolas is not as supple as he can be but the feeling was wonderful.
“I’m the first one to admit when I do a Grand Prix for 69 per cent. Today was not one one of those. We hope our skin is thick enough that those things don’t bother us.
“If you asked me when I came out of the ring to guess the score I would have had it as 74 or 75.”
Steffen said he had never and would not ask judges about their scores.
“I read the comments of the judges,” he said. “I think, espcially when the score is that low, there is something to learn and that’s what the plan is for tonight.
“I hope the rider, the horse and the judges will be on one page tomorrow.”
The pair will compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night.
Jan Ebeling and Rafalca was placed first by two of the judges in what he said was “probably the best ride on her ever.
“I was very happy to note that two O (Olympic) judges recognized the quality,” he said of the mare that is owned by a partnership of Ann Romney, Beth Meyer and his wife, Amy. Mitt Romney, Ann’s husband, was the Republican candidate for President in 2012 and the family’s involvement in dressage led to Rafalca becoming a celebrity when they made the American team for the London Games.
“Her consistency remains while her big heart still grows.
“We know each other so well now and I think it really shows.”
The pair are third on the U.S. WEG selection rankings–behind Steffen and Legolas and Günter Seidel of Cardiff, California on Coral Reef Wylea but Wylea is injured and will not compete in the trials–began their international Grand Prix career seven years ago and competed in three World Cup Finals in addition to the Olympics. are ranked third Rafalca
Steffen was successful in the Prix St. Georges although the seven-year-old Rosamunde that has had four victories in four starts at small tour was scratched because of a cut on a leg.
He won the Prix St. Georges on Apassionata with a personal best of 72.325 per cent and hopes to qualify the horse along with “Rosie” for the U.S. Intermediate Championships to be held at the same time as the WEG selection trials in Gladstone, New Jersey in mid-June.