Steffen Peters & Legolas Lead USA to 2nd Place Midway Through Aachen Nations Cup, Poised to Capture Inaugural Global Series

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Steffen Peters and Legolas leading the USA to second plaace midway through the Aachen Nations Cup. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters and Legolas leading the USA to second plaace midway through the Aachen Nations Cup. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

AACHEN, Germany, July 14, 2016–Steffen Peters and Legolas on Thursday led the United States to second place behind possibly the most powerful German team ever and put the Americans into position to capture the inaugural trans-Atlantic series.

Steffen and the 14-year-old Westfalen gelding that was added to the team at the last-minute when Rosamunde, his other mount was withdrawn after a fall, scored 77.243 per cent in the imposing Deutsche Bank Stadium and crowds that make dressage at this CDIO5* one of the most intimidating dressage events in the world.

The three top places were the German pairs that all scored above 80 per cent.

The U.S. team of Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida and Doktor on 72.200 per cent, Arlene “Tuny” Page of Wellington, Florida and Woodstock on 68.971 per cent and and Katherine Bateson-Chandler also of Wellington on Alcazar on 66.314 per cent as well as Steffen of San Diego, California and Legolas for 218.414 points. That put the Americans behind Germany on 246.285 but ahead of Denmark, Spain and Sweden.

Shelly Francis on Doktor in the Nations Cup Grand Prix. Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Shelly Francis on Doktor in the Nations Cup Grand Prix. Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

“Very excited,” Steffen said after his ride. “It;s still a little bit in the back of my mind how Legolas can act up in a big arena. That’s the main reason were brought Legolas to Aachen. Laura (Graves), Kasey (Perry-Glass) and Allison (Brock) have proved their horses can deal with this environment and do just fine.

“Legolas was still acting up in the first few seconds in Rotterdam so it felt like the right thing to do before the Olympic Games.

“I couldn’t be happier. They were still clapping a little bit from the previous ride when we came into the arena but there was no sign of tension. He did beautiful piaffe/passage work, great changes, good pirouettes and I was very proud to lead the team today.”

He said that he carefully timed having Legolas walk in the warm-up arenas next to the competition venue during breaks in rides when crowds were coming out of the stands so as to de-sensitive the horse a little bit.

“It worked out great,” he said.

Sweden currently leads the series rankings after five of the six events that began in Wellington last winter before moving to Europe with 47 points and the United States second on 43 points.

However, if the current standings in this Nations Cup hold after the Grand Prix Special on Saturday the U.S. would earn an additional 13 points to give it a total of 56 while Sweden would earn seven points for a total of 54 points and finish the series behind the Americans.

None of the other nations in this competition, including Germany, are in a position to earn enough points to challenge Sweden and the U.S.

Arlene "Tuny" Page and Woodstock competing inthe CDIO5* Nations Cup Grand Prix at Aachen. © 2016 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Arlene “Tuny” Page and Woodstock competing inthe CDIO5* Nations Cup Grand Prix at Aachen. © 2016 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com