Guenter Seidel in 1st Competition on U II Since Accident Wins Del Mar World Cup Freestyle

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Guenter Seidel and U II. © Ken Braddick/

DEL MAR, California, Mar. 13–Three-time U.S. Olympian Guenter Seidel rode U II to win the World Cup qualifying Grand Prix Freestyle at The Dressage Affaire Sunday, their first competition since he fractured his pelvis in a riding accident 10 months ago.

Guenter and U II, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Jazz, scored 71.900 per cent in the first World Cup qualifier in California in two years with Jan Ebeling on Rafalca second on 71.675 per cent and Susan Blinks on Robin Hood third on 69.875 per cent. Four of the five judges had Guenter and the 2008 U.S. Developing Horse champion within a range of 296 to 284 while one judge gave the pair 273 points.

Guenter, 50, of Cardiff, California, one of America’s top international riders and trainers, said he is “pretty sore” still from the accident that occurred when he rode U II after a transatlantic flight to Germany where he was scheduled to train with former U.S. team coach Klaus Balkenhol.

The horse, owned by his longtime sponsors, Jane and Dick Brown, was still spooky in the Grand Prix on Saturday when they finished in third place.

But in the freestyle on Sunday, he said he was pleased with U II’s performance despite a mistake in the two-tempis.

He said he had not really thought about qualifying for the World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany, at the end of next month but wanted to support the CDI-Ws in California which have resumed this year after none were scheduled for 2010 because of cost and lukewarm interest.

If he and U II do qualify–there is one more World Cup event in California, at Burbank at the end of this month–and go to Germany for the Final or go to Europe with a U.S. squad for a summer circuit, it will be his first competition in Europe since the 2006 World Equestrian Games at Aachen where he and Aragon won bronze with the U.S. team.

Guenter said that he is undergoing “a lot of therapy” to recover from the injury that kept him from riding for more than five months.

The score for Guenter in the freestyle was his first of two required in the North American League which is allocated two slots in the Final.

For Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California, on the 14-year-old mare owned by Ann Romney, Amy Ebeling and Beth Meyer, their score may have been enough to give them a ticket to Leipzig.

The pair already had a score of 74.70 per cent from a CDI-W at Saugerties, New York, last August, and Sunday’s score of 71.675 per cent gives them an average of 73.187 per cent. This puts them in second place in the standings behind Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida who has taken herself and the stallion, Calecto V, out of contention for Leipzig.

Jan described his victory in the Grand Prix on Saturday as “awesome” as Rafalca displayed significant improvement over last year, a stronger horse that produced really good piaffe and passage.

“We are ready to rock and roll,” he said. “I feel really, really good. She feels ready. She is strong and muscled up.”

The CDI Grand Prix Special Sunday was won by Shannon Peters of San Diego, California, on Odyssey with a score of 66.250 per cent, Alisa Wilson of Chino Hills, California, on Weltclassiker was second with 64.792 per cent and Canada’s Wendy Christoff on Pfalstaff third with 64.458 per cent.

Shannon Peters and Odyssey.

At small tour in preparation for the Pan American Games which are at Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I level, Jan and Sandrina won the CDI Prix St. Georges on 67.675 per cent.

In the Prix St. Georges open division, Guenter and Sundayboy won with a score of 74.474 per cent.

Results FEI Grand Prix Special

E: Armando ‘I’ H: Amos-Jacob ‘I’ C: Jena ‘I’ M: Bredahl ‘C’ B: McDonald ‘I’
Rider Horse E H C M B Total % Place
Shannon Peters Odyssey 307 319 318.5 324 321.5 1590 66.250% 1
Alisa Wilson Weltclassiker 304 320 316 317 298 1555 64.792% 2
Wendy Christoff Pfalstaff 314 309.5 305.5 311.5 306.5 1547 64.458% 3
Kathleen Raine Breanna 305 307 315.5 314.5 303 1545 64.375% 4
Michelle Reilly Atlantic 302 306.5 308 309 302 1527.5 63.646% 5
Nicki Grandia Elisienne 310 314 294.5 302 297 1517.5 63.229% 0
Grant Schneidman Superman 284 286 281 288.5 290.5 1430 59.583% 0

Results of FEI Grand Prix Freestyle

E: Armando ‘I’ H: Amos-Jacob ‘I’ C: Jena ‘I’ M: Bredahl ‘C’ B: McDonald ‘I’
Rider Horse E H C M B Total % Place
Guenter Seidel U II 294 296 284 291 273 1438 71.900% 1
Jan Ebeling Rafalca 288 293 293 288.5 271 1433.5 71.675% 2
Susan Blinks Robin Hood 282 280 278 275.5 282 1397.5 69.875% 3
David Wightman Partous 282 273 272 269.5 286 1382.5 69.125% 4
Elizabeth Ball Orion 268 272 267 268.5 267 1342.5 67.125% 5