Ravel, America’s Super Horse, to Give Exhibition at Central Park Horse Show

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Steffen Peters waving to the crowd at the end of Ravel's last competition, the Olympic Games in London. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters waving to the crowd at the end of Ravel’s last competition, the Olympic Games in London. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Aug. 10, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Ravel will be ridden by Steffen Peters in a special exhibition at the Central Park Horse Show in New York City that will be one of the biggest stages ever for the horse that may have been the most successful in American dressage history.

Ravel, now 16, will make the trip from his retirement in California to the Big Apple for the exhibition and, Steffen told dressage-news.com, will not compete in the Grand Prix that could draw some of the world’s top riders for the event Sept. 18-21.

The event will be a showcase of equestrian sports in the heart of the city that its boosters like to say never sleeps (this former resident can vouch that is a fact) and where some of the greatest entertainment spectacles have been staged.

Isabell Werth of Germany, Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands and Ashley Holzer, the New York City based four-time Olympian for Canada are among the .

The idea is for Steffen, who says Ravel is not coming out of retirement but making a contribution to the sport, to ride the horse through the Grand Prix movements with top German judge Katrina Wüst providing description of the movements and purpose of dressage as training for horses of all disciplines.

The appearance by Ravel in the first modern day horse show at iconic Central Park’s Trump Rink (formerly the Wollman Rink) will be the first outside Four Winds Farm of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang who own Ravel, a KWPN gelding (Contango x Democraat).

Highlights of the show will be a live television broadcast of the $200,000 Rolex Central Park jumping Grand Prix on Thursday, a New York City versus the World pro/am jumping competition Friday night, a World Dressage Challenge presented by Axel Johnson Group on Saturday and a Sunday afternoon polo match featuring some of the world’s top players.

Matinees on Saturday and Sunday will feature different equestrian performances and exhibitions,

The event provides an opportunity to promote dressage in North America ahead of the return of the World Cup Final to Las Vegas next April, the Pan American Games in Toronto in summer and the growing popularity of Florida’s Global Dressage Festival that next winter is expected to draw its biggest contingent of foreign riders so far.

Ravel, as admired in Europe as he is in the United States, was being ridden by Edward Gal when Akiko and Jerry bought the horse after the 2006 WEG in Aachen, Germany as a prospective championship mount for Steffen.

The pair delivered.

Ravel and Steffen Peters after placing third in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the 2008 Olympic Games. The combined scores of the Special and the Freestyle decided the medals and Ravel and Steffen missed out on bronze by 0.610 per cent. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ravel and Steffen Peters after placing third in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the 2008 Olympic Games. The combined scores of the Special and the Freestyle decided the medals and Ravel and Steffen missed out on bronze by 0.610 per cent. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

At the 2008 Olympics, Steffen and Ravel came within a fraction of a point of winning the indvidual medal which would have been the first for the United States since Col. Hiram Tuttle on the horse Olympic he had bought for $1 won bronze at the 1932 Games, the only individual Olympic medal ever won by an American combination.

Steffen and Ravel went on to win the World Cup Final in Las Vegas eight months later to become only the second U.S. combination to do so (the first was Debbie McDonald and Brentina in 2003).

Steffen Peters on Ravel holding aloft 2009 World Cup in Las Vegas, only the second American combination to win the individual championship. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters on Ravel holding aloft 2009 World Cup in Las Vegas, only the second American combination to win the individual championship. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The World Games in Kentucky in 2010 was a highlight with the partnership winning two individual bronze medals at a championships dominated by the superstar stallion Totilas ridden by Edward Gal. Steffen and Ravel also led the United States to fourth place in the Nations Cup and a guaranteed place in the 2012 Olympic team competition.

Ravel and Steffen is also the only American pair to become members of the exclusive 80 per cent club in which only 12 combinations in the history of the sport have ever achieved a score of at least 80 per cent in the Grand Prix.

And they did it twice–80.872 per cent at a CDI5* in West Palm Beach, Florida in March, 2011 and surpassed a year later with a mark of 81.383 per cent at a CDI4*, also in West Palm Beach.

Although not an Olympics or a championship, one of the highest laurels in equestrian sports is victory at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany–and Ravel and Steffen became the CDIO5* champion at the pinnacle of dressage by winning the Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle in 2009.

The World Games in Kentucky in 2010 was a highlight with the partnership winning two individual bronze medals at a championships dominated by the superstar stallion Totilas ridden by Edward Gal. Steffen and Ravel also led the United States to fourth place in the Nations Cup and a guaranteed place in the 2012 Olympic team competition.

Ravel with Steffen Peters receiving the applause of more than 40,000 horse sport fans at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany when the pair became the first from the United States to capture the CDIO title of sweeping the Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle in 2009. © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Ravel with Steffen Peters receiving the applause of more than 40,000 horse sport fans at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany when the pair became the first from the United States to capture the CDIO title of sweeping the Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle in 2009. © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

Ravel and Steffen is also the only American pair to become members of the exclusive 80 per cent club in which only 12 combinations in the history of the sport have ever achieved a score of at least 80 per cent in the Grand Prix.

And they did it twice–80.872 per cent at a CDI5* in West Palm Beach, Florida in March, 2011 and surpassed a year later with a mark of 81.383 per cent at a CDI4*, also in West Palm Beach.

Although not an Olympics or a championship, perhaps the most coveted title among riders in equestrian sports is victory at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany.

Ravel and Steffen became the Aachen CDIO5* champion–the pinnacle of dressage–by winning the Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle in 2009.

Ravel and Steffen Peters in the medals ceremony at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ravel and Steffen Peters in the medals ceremony at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com