USA’s Steffen Peters & Ravel Win FEI World Cup Final, Isabell & Satchmo 2nd, Anky and IPS Painted Black 3rd
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LAS VEGAS, Nev., Apr. 18–Steffen Peters and Ravel of the United States won the Rolex FEI World Cup on Saturday night before an ecstatic crowd that thundered their applause for the first American victory at home in the only annual global championship of dressage.
Germany’s Isabell Werth on her Olympic mount Satchmo finished second and nine-time champion Anky van Grunsven on IPS Painted Black of The Netherlands was third.
The victory by the 44-year-old Peters of San Diego, Calif. was only the second for an American since the start of the World Cup in 1986. Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho, and Brentina who was retired from competition on Friday, were the only previous winners of the World Cup, in 2003.
Peters with his wife, Shannon, and Ravel owner, Akiko Yamazaki, watching, held back tears when his score of 84.950 per cent was announced while he was still in the arena in the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Thomas & Mack Arena.
Suspense built throughout the night as Peters and Ravel were the only American combination to make it to the freestyle. Jan Ebeling and Rafalca did not score high enough in the Grand Prix and Leslie Morse and Kingston were eliminated. The crowd had to wait until the third to last horse in the ring, right after Werth and Satchmo who scored 84.500 per cent. With $102,000 USD on the line and a Rolex watch, the competition was fierce.
Ravel, in his first World Cup Final, rose to the occasion in a very difficult Freestyle. His flying changes and piaffe and passage were foot perfect, the movements were incredibly tough. The horse got better as the test went on and was rewarded with a mark of 84.95 per cent.
Van Grunsven and IPS Painted Black were next and she scored 82.150 per cent.
“It is fair to say, and I think I speak for Ravel too,” Peters said. “It was magic soil in there. To share that moment in time with the most amazing dressage fans in the world is an incredible feeling. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”
Ravel, an 11-year-old Dutch gelding, won the Rolex Grand Prix on Friday afternoon, the first time an American has ever won that competition.
“Ravel has an amazing mind,” Peters said. “I honestly didn’t have to push him. Tonight I could ride him a little more sensitively, he was with me so much. Naturally he’s a very, very solid horse. He was extremely confident when we schooled, so I knew he wasn’t too bothered by the atmosphere. I can’t take credit for his mind. He was born like that. I’m one of those really lucky guy who gets to ride a horse like that.”
Fourth in the Olympic Games, Ravel has continued to improve and had beautiful piaffe half pass at the end of his test, showing his strength and concentration. The transitions were flawless. He changed his music from the Games, but the basic choreography stayed the same.
“We worked on the timing,” said Peters. “We changed the trot music, it had an Asian theme in Hong Kong and I didn’t think that would be suitable for Las Vegas. We changed it to Coldplay ‘Vida la Vida’.”
Werth and Satchmo, team gold and individual silver medalists for Germany at the 2008 Games turned in another stellar effort.
“Really, really happy with Satchmo,” Werth said. “He was super, he had no problems inside the arena. We both were really concentrated so it worked.”
Werth rode him very, very confidently. She won the 2007 World Cup Final on her other top horse, Warum Nicht, in this same venue.