Aussie Emma Weinert in California Competes in 1st Grand Prix

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Emma Weinert and Velvet WD


Emma Weinert, who left Australia four years ago to work with Shannon and Steffen Peters after she staged a symposium Down Under for the U.S. Olympian, competed in her first ever Grand Prix at the national CDS Mid-Winter competition in Del Mar, California.

Emma, 29 years old and from Glen Orie, near Sydney, rode her Velvet WD to a score of 65.000 per cent on Sunday after Saturday’s inaugural Big Tour appearance with a result of 62.021 per cent.

“Bloody awesome!” was how she described her ride on Velvet WD, the 11-year-old KWPN mare (Polansky Papayja x Jazz). She competed the horse at three small tour CDI3* events in California in 2012 with scores as high as 70 per cent.

“I was definitely apprehensive as to whether now was the right time but my trainer, Shannon Peters believed it was, so I trusted her and went for it and it was a great success for us!” she told

“The first test I didn’t ride very well, but I’m usually better once I have a starting point, so I went and rode again today and gained nearly three per cent from my previous days score. I was happy with that.”

Emma Weinert (right) with Shannon and Steffen Peters. © Ken Braddick/

Emma said there were way too many mistakes but “I’m confident when those are deleted, Velvet can score above 70 per cent. This is exciting as I wasn’t really sure if my goal to ride in the World Games next year was feasible, until I had a rough idea on how we would score.

“So, I’m really excited for the future and I just love my mare so much. She is the coolest horse. I have to say that Shannon Peters is the main part behind this team because at the end of the day without her none of this would have been possible.”

Emma said “I totally thought I would be bawling” after breaking the Grand Prix ice “but I don’t think it’s possible to produce tears when you you have nerve-inflicted tunnel vision.”

Emma Weinert and Velvet. © Ken Braddick/

“I did nearly cry from being so scared when I saw there was a huge crowd and I didn’t think I could get it done in the ring and how embarrassing–especially going after Guenter.” Guenter Seidel, winner of three Olympic team bronze medals, rode his new horse, Coral Reef Wylea, to place first in both weekend Grand Prix.

Emma has been most infuenced in her riding by Steffen on Floriano that he rode at the 2006 World Equestrian Games and she and her business partner–“two young girls, completely naive”–arranged a 1,000-person masterclass in Australia for the rider.

Riding with him, she said, was “a life-changing, eye-opening” experience. In 2007 she went to Holland with her parents and had Steffen help her find a horse. She rode Velvet, more out of politeness than serious interest, but it was like nothing she felt before and two years later was in California training at the Peters’ farm in San Diego.

“I primarily train with Shannon,” she said. “I find it’s really personal. Shannon and Steffen are both amazing trainers and riders. Shannon works with me and it’s like sparks flying. The tools she uses, of being female and strength does not work. She has taught me the things I need to know to ride without using strength.”

Emma said if it wasn’t for Steffen and Shannon she would be in Europe.

“I love the way they train. It fits with my philosophy. The training is the primary reason for being here, but the rest of it is amazing. It definitely is not hard, and it’s English-speaking, which is important.”

She said she tries not to plan too far ahead, but her hope is to confirm Velvet at Grand Prix and seek a place on the Australian team for the World Equestrian Games at Normandy in 2014.

“I want to represent Australia,” she said, “and I don’t want to go home until I achieve that.

“Australia is home. I will return at some stage, but I want to achieve what I came here to do.”