Günter Rides Coral Reef Wylea in 1st Freestyle to Place 2nd to Steffen & Legolas at Del Mar CDI3*
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Günter Seidel rode Coral Reef Wylea in their first musical freestyle Sunday, placing second to Steffen Peters and Legolas at the Dressage Affaire CDI3* in Del Mar, California.
Steffen of San Diego, California and the 11-year-old Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Furstin x Florestan II) scored 78.075 per cent while Günter and Wylea were on 74.375 per cent and David Blake and Ikaros were third on 66.600 per cent.
Steffen described his 12th CDI ride on Legolas as “great” and said that of all tests since Akiko Yamazaki bought the horse as a successor to Ravel Sunday’s freestyle showed him “if it stays like this I can risk it more, we can go more forward.
“Always before it was about making it through the canter without a mistake. Now I feel like we’re at a place where we need to be.
“I’ve never ridden Legolas before with the thought process that I could open up the throttle. I’m very excited.
“It’s exactly the feeling I was looking for to do the next two big events”–the CDI5* in Wellington, Florida at the end of the month and Hagen, Germany in mid-April.
Günter’s music was a hand-me-down for Wylea, named Winci when the Westfalen mare was owned by Klaus Balkenhol and competed by his daughter, Anabel until the sale to Coral Reef Ranch at Rancho Santa Fe, California last November.
The Neil Diamond-themed music had been used by Günter last year when he was campaigning Fandango for a place on the United States team for the Olympics in London.
This was only the second CDI for the partnership, and Anabel had competed her in only two shows at Grand Prix.
The rain-soaked show grounds this weekend, however, created a cramped warm up arena under the covered arena and the volume was turned way down to a background music level so as not to interfere with other riders, but Günter of Cardiff, California had no complaints.
“It was pretty good,” he said of the 13-year-old Wylea (Weinberg x St. Jolie x Saluut), “she didn’t do anything majorly wrong, just the normal kind of mistakes that are all part of building relationships. The atmosphere was a little bit electric with the noise of traffic on the road above the arena and the small warmup area. But it’s good for her to get used to different environments.
“We still have to work out some little things. I’m getting to know her better.”
The next show for the pair is the Festival of the Horse CDI3* at San Juan Capistrano, California at the end of March, and after a few more Freestyles he plans to give Wylea his own music.
Steffen also won the Prix St. Georges and the Intermediate 1 with Vaya Con Dios, the 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Odermus R x Liza x Glendale) owned by Paula Howard that was the second CDI for the pair.
The pair scored 72.132 per cent in the Prix St. Georges and 71.921 per cent in the Intermediate-1. Brandi Roenick of San Diego and Pretty Lady placed second in both classes, 66.132 per cent in the St. Georges on 68.342 per cent in the I-1 and Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California and Descartes, also third in both classes, with 65.447 per cent and 65.737 per cent, respectively.
“I was very excited with the scores,” he said, “the owner is happy, the rider is happy and the judges are happy. That’s a good day.”
Steffen said that although “Mel,” as the horse is nicknamed, was sent to him to sell the owners had offered to let him keep the horse through the U.S. championships in Kentucky in October.