Steffen Peters & Rosamunde Win California World Cup Grand Prix Special
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, California, Mar. 21, 2015–Rosamunde was ridden by Steffen Peters to their fourth straight win in four starts in the eight-year-old mare’s international Grand Prix career, taking the California Dreaming World Cup Grand Prix Special Saturday.
The result of 75.863 per cent in only their second Special and prompted comparisons to Ravel, Steffen’s 2008 and 2012 Olympic mount, double individual medalist at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and 2009 World Cup champion now retired.
Tracy Lert of Scotts Valley, California on Udo was second on 67.392 per cent with Mette Rosencrantz of Topanga, California on Marron third on 67.333 per cent.
“It’s still a bit early to compare,” said Steffen of San Diego, California referring to Ravel whom he started competing at Grand Prix in 2008 after the KWPN gelding had been out for a year with an injury.
Ravel with his much stronger, tougher, macho personality was the king, Legolas the prince and Rosie the princess, labels that Steffen said aptly describe the three horses.
He is fascinated by the rideability and sensitivity to aids of “Rosie,” the Rhinelander mare that Akiko Yamazaki bought in 2013 as a successor to Ravel and Legolas that Steffen rides for her Four Winds Farm.
“The gaits are so wonderful to watch, the floating and a lot of cadence… gravity is just a suggestion to her,” he said, “pretty much the same expression and feeling with Ravel.”
Steffen works with German coach Jo Hinnemann and said every time Jo has a point to make “you can make it work,” or if U.S. coach Robert Dover has a suggestion you can “implement it.”
That kind of rideability “is almost impossible with a horse that is not so relaxed,” such as Legolas. “You have to compromise with Legolas because of his temperament.”
Changes were made that he felt were required after success in Rosamunde’s international Grand Prix debut at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington in February and “worked out beautifully” here.
While he cautioned that Rosamunde is only eight, he has never had a horse that is so confident with the work.
“There are a lot of things I avoid because of of preservation—to maintain her soundness, both mental and physical,” he said in explaining how Rosamunde essentially made the decision to move up to Grand Prix because she could easily perform the movements without having to repeat them.
“I would criticize myself if I push too quickly.”
He described his routine of going to the barn with the dogs and from 400 feet (120m) away Rosamunde starts talking.
“There has never been a single day when she needed to discuss something,” he said, “she never thinks about talking back or acting resistant.”
The schedule is four days of collected work and if she’s a bit fresh can play more in the jumping arena.
“It’s an honor to be blessed with an amazing horse.”
The goal for the rest of this year after a demonstration ride at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in three weeks is to go to Europe where he wants to expose Rosamunde to a big arena, such as Munich or Aachen, in Germany, then setting their sights on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
To have an impact at the elite level, he said, “it’s pretty simple. We all know what the top scores need to be. I need to start stretching the scores to 80 per cent. Five per cent (from now) is a lot. I know where we leave some points behind us in the test.”
By the time he returns to Florida for the CDI5* next year, he expects to have a pretty good idea where they stand in the sport.
To make comparisons, Ravel’s flying changes were more of an issue and Steffen felt like he always had to compromise going from passage to canter, one of the movements that was “rolling the dice whether it would work or not work.”
“I knew early on he would give 100 per cent but if you asked for a bit more more,” he said, “it would back fire.
“I still haven’t hit the 100 per cent mark with Rosie. “I haven’t pushed for it.
Whether Rosie can surpass the success of Ravel Steffen points to a similar start at their Grand Prix careers.
“The neat thing is that a lot of people make the comparison between Ravel and Rosie,” he said. “That itself is an honor. The fact some might see similarities is a wonderful statement.”
Does he think Rosamunde can reach a goal that Ravel achieved of posting 80 per cent at Grand Prix as have only 11 other horses in the history of the sport?
“I think if that doesn’t happen in the next few years then I didn’t do a good enough job with her,” Steffen said.
Meantime, Günter Seidel of nearby Cardiff, California on Rey del Mundo won the Intermediate 1 with a score of 70.500 per cent, breaking a tie with Canada’s Leslie Reed on Fine and Smart with Elizabeth Ball of Encinitas, California, on Avanti in third on 70.342 per cent.
The win for Günter, an U.S. Olympic team mate of Steffen Peters, was the first in almost two years. He made his international debut on the eight-year-old Westfalen gelding, last month.