Steffen Peters & Legolas Win Burbank World Cup Freestyle With Personal Best Score

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Steffen Peters on Legolas. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters on Legolas. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

BURBANK, California, Feb. 22, 2015–Steffen Peters and Legolas won the Mid-Winter World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle with a personal best score Sunday, the second performance in three days of posting the highest results for America’s national champions.

Steffen and the 13-year-old Westfalen gelding scored 80.825 per cent for the first of two scores the duo need to earn a start at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in mid-April. Las Vegas was where Steffen of San Diego, California won the title six years ago on the superstar Ravel.

Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California on the powerful 12-year-old stallion FRH Rassolini rode to a new Freestyle that was awarded 75.050 per cent for second place with Günter Seidel of Cardiff, California on Zero Gravity on which he is still developing a partnership placed third on 74.275 per cent.

The award to Steffen and Legolas, owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang, was only their second international Freestyle above 80 per cent, the other being 80.175 per cent in the CDI5* at West Palm Beach two years ago.

The Freestyle high mark came two days after the duo posted their best ever Grand Prix score of 77.880 per cent.

“Legolas did a wonderful freestyle,” Steffen told dressage-news.com after the ride.

“We decided to keep the music a bit on the loud side to simulate the atmosphere in Las Vegas in case we qualify for the World Cup. It worked out great. Legolas showed some slight tension in the one tempis but settled down immediately afterwards and performed one of his best freestyles of his career.

“After our final salute, I was hoping for an 80 percent score. I appreciate very much that the judges liked it as much as our team did. I haven’t had a chance to look at the video but Legolas felt just like in the Grand Prix, very supple and energetic. It is truly an honor to ride him.”

This World Cup qualifier was the first of two scheduled for California–two more are also scheduled for Wellington, Florida. The average of two Freestyle scores will decide which two combinations from the North American League of Canada and the United States will get a ticket to Las Vegas. One or two extra starting places may also be awarded.

Two Florida-based Danish riders, Lars Petersen and Mikala Gundersen, lead the North American League with Australian Kelly Layne in third place.

If Steffen on Legolas and Jan on Rassolini repeat their Burbank results at the qualifier in San Juan Capistrano, California March 19-22 and Laura Graves on Verdades performs well at the two Wellington qualifiers the current standings may change dramatically.

Results: Mid-Winter Grand Prix Freestyle