Steffen Peters “Super Happy!” With Legolas’ 2nd Place Finish in Hagen CDI4* Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
HAGEN, Germany, April 20–A relieved Steffen Peters rode Legolas in the first performance in Europe and was rewarded with the same marks the pair have been receiving in the United States to place second in the Horses and Dreams CDI4* Grand Prix Saturday.
“Super happy,” he declared after the ride that owner Akiko Yamazaki had flown in from California and was in temperatures hovering around freezing compared to a high of 72 degrees fahrenheit (22C) at Legolas’s barn in San Diego.
Steffen and the 11-year-old Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Furstin x Florestan II) scored 74.128 per cent with the five-judge panel, a high of 74.79 per cent from Axel Steiner of the United States and a low of 73.09 per cent from Martin Richenhagen of Germany. Stephen Clarke of Great Britain placed Steffen and Legolas first while the other four judges put him in second place behind Denmark’s Andreas Helgstrand and Akeem Foldager on 75.574 per cent.
The horse was trained at this Performance Sales International facility by partner Ullrich Kasselmann before being bought by Akiko in late 2011 as a successor to Ravel that Steffen competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
“Any time you bring a new Grand Prix horse to Europe and the scores are holding from the U.S. that is great,” he said.
“Legolas did a hell of a test today with a lot of pressure. The bottom line is it was a very good test.”
He collected the horse too much before the first pirouette and Legolas got stuck, but the walk “was the best he’s done in the show arena. And the one-tempis worked for the second time in a row,” the last being at the Wellington, Florida CDI5* two weeks ago.
“Legolas was happy,” he said. “I was happy. The judges seemed to be happy. That’s a good day.”
“It’s huge,” he told dressage-news.com, to have performed well.
“It’s a responsibility to Akiko and to Ullrich Kasselmannwho have a lot of emotional as well as financial commitments to the horse and you don’t want to show up and disappoint.” His mother and his sister, who live in Germany, also came to witness the event.
There also was intense interest from the large media contingent at the show which is the traditional opening of the Western European outdoor circuit and draws 70,000 spectators over four days and which keenly follows the performances of the German-born rider.
The day before Legolas arrived from Florida, Dr. Ulf Möller, responsible for training dressage horses at Hof Kasselmann found owner Ullrich Kasselmann in the stall assigned to Legolas and asked him what he was doing.
“I’m putting shavings in Legolas’s stall,” said the man who with Paul Schockemöhle built PSI into the most successful horse sales operation in the world.
“The welcome for Legolas was exciting to see because it showed it not just a business deal, that it is an emotional connection to the horse.”
Steffen said, “it’s great to get our feet wet and see that Leogolas can score 74 per cent. It is great for the future.
“We have a lot of work to do. Legolas and I need to get the changes better. There is still room for improvement.
“We also need to build up a team.”
He said he had been in regular communication with new U.S. coach Robert Dover.
“Robert showed he has the best intentions with raising funds to make money available to send people over here,” he said. “The intentions are very obvious and it’s a very good start.”