Steffen Peters Named USA Equestrian of Year for Record Third Time

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Steffen Peters on Weltino's Magic in the individual gold medal victory gallop at the 2011 Pan American Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

CINCINNATI, Ohio, Jan. 14–Steffen Peters who led the United States to team gold and a sweep of individual medals aboard Weltino’s Magic at the Pan American Games on Saturday night was named Equestrian of the Year, a record third time for the German-born dressage star.

Steffen won the 2011 U.S. Grand Prix Championship with Ravel and the Intermediaire title with Magic.

Steffen was named Equestrian of the Year in 2008 and 2009, the same year his World Cup and Aachen CDIO championship mount, Ravel, was named Horse of the Year.

Steffen of San Diego, California, received the award at the U.S. Equestrian Federation gala dinner Saturday night. He had flown to Cincinnati earlier in the day as the guest of Bruce and Jen Hlavacek, the owners of Weltino’s Magic, a Westfalen gelding (Weltino x Viva) who was nine years old in 2011.

“Without Akiko (Yamazaki) and Jerry (Yang), owners of Ravel, Bruce and Jen Hlavacheck, owners of Magic, none of this would have been possible,” Steffen said.

“I’m proud and honored that both owners call me their trainer and rider. I’m proud and honored that my wife, Shannon, calls me her husband. I’m proud and honored to ride for the best federation in the whole world.

“I would like to thank every USEF supporter for every single vote.

“It means the world to me.”

The pair swept the small tour at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, and finished at the top of the U.S. competition qualifying the team for the Pan Ams in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Steffen Peters and Weltino's Magic celebrating their sweep of the small tour at Aachen. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Steffen has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the world with Ravel whom he competed at the 2008 Olympics for fourth place individually. He won team bronze on Udon for the U.S. at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

But 2011 was his first Pan Ams.

In 2009, Steffen became the first American combination to win the World Cup in their homeland and the only American pair ever to sweep the CDIO Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle at Aachen.

A soaked Steffen Peters Steffen Peters on Ravel in the 2011 U.S. National Championsips Grand Prix. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Until this year, Steffen shared was tied for two titles as U.S. Rider of the Year with Beezie Madden, two-time Olympic team gold medalist, who won in 2005 and 2006, and David O’Connor, the Sydney 2000 individual Olympic gold medalist, who was the 2000 and 2002 winner.

Steffen, 47, was born in Germany but became a U.S. citizen in 1992.