Steffen Peters & Legolas Win US Championship Grand Prix, Jan Ebeling & Rafalca Runnerup, 3 Under-30 Women Riders Tie for 4th

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A happy Jan Ebeling on Rafalca at the end of their US Championship Grand Prix. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
A happy Jan Ebeling on Rafalca at the end of their US Championship Grand Prix. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

GLADSTONE, New Jersey, June 12, 2014–Steffen Peters and Legolas, as expected, won the U.S. Championship Grand Prix Thursday, but the Olympic celebrity couple of Jan Ebeling and Rafalca turned in probably the best ever ride for runnerup while a trio of under-30 women riders starred in all tying for fourth place.

Steffen of San Diego, California said the ride on the 12-year-old Westfalen gelding on whom he won the 2013 championship was “certainly not our best” and scored 75.160 per cent at the championship presented by The Dutta Corp. at the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters on gray, rainy day.

He said the warmup with Legolas was rushed as right before he rode two horses, Rosamunde for 75,974 per cent and Apassionata for 72.921 per cent to place first and second in the Prix St.Georges as well as coached another rider.

Steffen Peters and Legolas at the Festival of Champions. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters and Legolas at the Festival of Champions. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

An ecstatic Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California and the 17-year-old Oldenburg mare that he rode on the American team at the London Olympics in 2012 had the highest Grand Prix score at 73.320 per cent, but the championships are a national competition and Peter Holler of Germany was the only non-American on the five-judge panel.

“Awesome,” was the way Jan described the ride on Rafalca that is owned by group of three women, Ann Romney, the wife of Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the United States presidency in 2012, Beth Meyer and Jan’s wife, Amy Ebeling.

“I am absoluely thrilled with my horse,” he said. “It’s a good place for me mentally. I know what I have. There is no fear factor. I know what she will do every step of the way.

“She is fit. The strategy for the past seveal months of not showing a lot seems to be paying off. She was right on, very focused. I was very focused myself. I’ve been working a lot with a sports psychologist.

“The ride was definitely right up there. It might have been my best one.”

Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida and Calecto V were third on 72.620 per cent, a ride she described as
not her best.

But she said the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion was lethargic after competing during the three months of the Global Dressage Festival in Florida then flying to Europe for the World Cup Final in Lyon, France where he ran a fever that required treatment before flying home to prepare for this Festival of Champions as the national titles are called.

Three combinations tied for fourth place on 72.620 per cent, all women riders under 30 years of age:

–Adrienne Lyle, 29 years old, of Ketchum, Idaho and Wizard who rode for the United States at the 2012 Olympics;

–Caroline Roffman, 25, of Wellington, Florida and Her Highness O, and

–Laura Graves, 26, of Geneva, Florida and Verdades.

The Grand Prix counts for 45 per cent toward the championship, with the Grand Prix Special on Saturday 40 per cent the Freestyle Sunday worth 15 per cent.

Arlene "Tuny" Page and Alina in the US Championship Grand Prix. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Arlene “Tuny” Page and Alina in the US Championship Grand Prix. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

As with some other national championships with judging panels dominated by local judges there was widespread cynicism about the results, with many admitting the scores are irrelevant–awarding high scores to “send a message” has lost its impact with universal availability of youtube and streaming–as long as the placings are correct.

Some placings had both spectators and riders scratching their heads.

One of the most glaring was for Arlene Page of Wellington, Florida who did not compete her Alina on the Florida winter circuit but showed at Hagen, Germany in a major CDI4* for a score of 70.160 per cent and fifth place six weeks ago.

Thursday, the pair scored 70.192 per cent with the sole European judge placing the pair fourth while the four American judges placed her eighth to 11th.

Gary Rockwell, FEI5* judge who is president of the ground jury, said in response to questions that some of the scores may have been higher than the combination had previously but he thought the judging was “very good.”

“I think we all ride better when we go to Gladstone,” he said, “everyone puts in their best effort.

“I didn’t think anything was inflated. For the most part, everyone had a good ride. I think the placings were correct.”

The national title is only one consideration for the Grand Prix.

This championship also determines eight combinations to go to Europe to compete at Fritzens, Austria CDI4* July Fourth weekend and the World Equestrian Fesival CDIO5* and CDI4* at Aachen, Germany from which the team will be selected to go to the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France at the end of August.

Up for grabs is the festival’s biggest ever purse, $155,000, most of it going to Grand Prix.

The U.S. Championships could not be viewed on live streaming though the Danish championships last week and the German championships three weeks ago were video streamed live from beginning to end.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation said they decided the Grand Prix and other championships the first two days would be available on demand but did not plan to stream live until the weekend.

Steffen Peters on Rosamunde on  whom he won the US Championship Grand Prix. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters on Rosamunde on whom he won the US Championship  Prix St Georges. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Results:

GRAND PRIX

E: Holler – 5* GER H: Gribbons – 5* USA C: Rockwell – 5* USA M: Bredahl- Baker – 4* USA B: Foy – 4* USA
Rider Horse E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. Total Pl.
Peters, Steffen Legolas 92 73.700 1 76.100 1 76.300 1 74.700 1 75.000 1 75.160 1
Ebeling, Jan Rafalca 71.900 3 73.300 3 75.500 2 73.100 3 72.800 4 73.320 2
Konyot, Tina M Calecto V 71.500 5 72.400 6 72.800 7 72.700 5 73.700 3 72.620 3
Roffman, Caroline V Her Highness O 72.000 2 72.500 5 73.300 5 72.600 6 72.300 6 72.540 4
Lyle, Adrienne Wizard 69.400 10 73.500 2 74.100 4 71.900 9 73.800 2 72.540 4
Graves, Laura Verdades 71.300 6 72.400 6 75.500 2 73.400 2 70.100 9 72.540 4
Wilcox, Lisa Denzello 71.300 6 71.500 9 73.000 6 72.800 4 72.500 5 72.220 7
Francis, Shelly Doktor 70.100 8 73.000 4 71.300 9 72.400 7 72.200 7 71.800 8
Raine, Kathleen Breanna 69.700 9 71.700 8 72.800 7 71.800 10 71.300 8 71.460 9
Page, Arlene Alina 71.600 4 70.700 10 71.000 10 72.300 8 69.000 11 70.920 10
Bateson Chandler, Katherine Wellnetta 69.400 10 69.000 11 69.500 13 71.500 11 69.700 10 69.820 11
McCusker, Sharon Wrigley 68.000 14 68.000 13 70.100 11 70.100 12 68.500 12 68.940 12
Parra, Cesar Van The Man 69.000 12 67.000 14 67.900 14 69.900 13 68.000 13 68.360 13
Jorst, Charlotte Nintendo 67.100 15 65.300 16 69.800 12 69.200 14 67.500 14 67.780 14
Barisone, Michael L Ellegria 68.100 13 68.100 12 67.700 15 68.300 15 65.500 16 67.540 15
Barisone, Michael L HF Victor 66.200 16 66.300 15 67.400 16 67.600 16 66.000 15 66.700 16

PRIX ST. GEORGES

E: Gribbons – 5* USA H: Foy – 4* USA C: Lamping – 4* USA M: Rockwell – 5* USA B: Bredahl- Baker – 4* USA
Rider Horse E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. Total Pl.
Peters, Steffen Rosamunde 74.079 1 78.553 1 75.658 1 76.447 1 75.132 1 75.974 1
Peters, Steffen Apassionata 72.368 3 73.816 2 72.368 3 74.211 2 71.842 2 72.921 2
Lagoy-Weltz, Olivia Rassing’s Lonoir 73.553 2 72.368 4 72.763 2 71.447 5 70.921 4 72.211 3
Ball, Elizabeth Avanti 68.947 7 72.368 4 70.132 7 73.026 3 70.263 6 70.947 4
Herslow, Kimberly Rosmarin 71.447 4 73.684 3 70.132 7 71.184 7 67.632 13 70.816 5
Perry, Kasey Goerklintgaards Dublet 70.395 5 70.526 6 70.789 5 72.105 4 69.211 9 70.605 6
White-O’Connor, Dawn Aristo 69.868 6 69.079 8 70.263 6 70.132 8 70.132 7 69.895 7
Mason, Heather Zar 67.105 11 67.763 10 68.684 12 71.447 5 71.447 3 69.289 8
Jackson, Melissa Whirlpool 68.816 8 66.447 14 71.053 4 69.474 9 70.526 5 69.263 9
Wagman, Nick Zenith 68.553 10 66.711 13 69.605 9 68.684 12 69.342 8 68.579 10
Hickey, Christopher Ronaldo 68.684 9 69.605 7 67.500 13 69.342 10 66.184 17 68.263 11
Szepesi, Alix Majco Thunders Hattrick 66.974 12 67.632 11 68.816 11 68.289 13 67.763 12 67.895 12 Yes
Ahl-Eckhaus, Jackie Wisdom MVS 64.474 17 65.526 17 69.079 10 69.211 11 68.158 10 67.289 13 Yes
Jorst, Charlotte Vitalis 65.921 15 67.237 12 67.368 15 67.895 16 67.895 11 67.263 14 Yes
Jackson, Angela Allure S 65.132 16 65.921 15 67.500 13 68.289 13 66.974 14 66.763 15 Yes
Spofford, Sara Lagrima 66.447 14 65.921 15 66.579 16 67.368 17 66.579 15 66.579 16 Yes
Hardin, Justin Wyatt Star 66.974 12 68.026 9 62.632 17 68.158 15 66.447 16 66.447 17 Yes