Steffen Peters Wins California World Cup Grand Prix on Legolas, 2nd on Rosamunde
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, California, Mar. 20, 2015–Steffen Peters won the California Dreaming World Cup Grand Prix on Legolas Friday ahead of the Final in Las Vegas next month with twice-a-day warmups and music boomed through an extra large sound system in an effort to prepare the gelding for what is certain to be an electric atmosphere.
The show was almost stolen by Rosamunde, the eight-year-old mare that Steffen rode to second place in only their second international Grand Prix.
Steffen of nearby San Diego and Legolas, his World Games U.S. team mount, scored 76.780 per cent while Rosamunde was on 74.960 per cent for second with a significant improvement over Rosamunde’s performance in notching a pair of victories in Wellington, Florida last month.
Kathleen Raine of Murietta, California on Breanna brought cheering fans to their feet with a personal best Grand Prix score of 72.580 per cent.
As the last World Cup qualifier–two European Leagues and the Pacific have are over–this competition is to decide which two North Americans will get an invitation to Las Vegas for the annual global championship being held in the United States for the first time since 2009 when Steffen Peters was the victor aboard Ravel.
Steffen and Legolas, a 13-year-old Westfalen gelding that he has been competing for three years for owner Akiko Yamazaki as a successor to her Ravel, already have one of two required results, including the highest of any North American, to earn a ticket to Las Vegas to most likely join his World Games team mates Laura Graves and Verdades.
The California Dreaming Production Freestyle to decide the final qualifications will be held here Sunday.
As, Steffen said, one score above 74 in a day is great, but to have two scores of one above 76 and one near 75 with both tests clean was “a great feeling… it’s wonderful.”
The biggest change with he Rhinelander Rosdamunde since their Wellington debut was in the one-tempi changes that are more forward and Steffen said had developed to a point where “I’m down to half a dramamine that used to be a whole dramamine. Since Florida, we’re 50 per cent straigher with another 50 per cent to go.”
Steffen said he has been preparing Legolas for Las Vegas for a while and the need for those preparations was evident when the horse was “still a little firecracker” when the pair came into the area.
As part of their current warmup routine, he rode Legolas in short collected work a few hours before the class and then a shortened warmup before the class, but “even then he had plenty of energy.”
“It takes every single brain cell of mine to ride him,” he said, “and that is a great challenge.”
To deal with the horse’s sensitivity in electric situations which is likely at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas, Steffen installed a new heavy duty speaker system in his indoor arena. As soon as it gets dark at night, he walks Legolas around.
“The first few nights he was a bit silly, jumping around,” he said. “We tried it again at 6 am when it was still dark.”
Even so, he said, Las Vegas will be a “huge challenge” but he hopes the audience will remain under control during the rides.
Steffen disclosed that Rosamunde has been invited to give a Freestyle demonstration at Las Vegas on the night of Friday, April 17. The World Cup Freestyle is scheduled for Saturday.