Thermal Desert Dressage CDI Largest Grand Prix Starting Lineup Ever in California

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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The Thermal Desert Dressage CDI this weekend is scheduled to start the most international Grand Prix rider and horse combinations ever in California.

The total of 21–15 for the Grand Prix Special that is an Olympic qualifier and six for the World Cup–exceeds the previous high of 20 pairs at a World Cup Grand Prix in San Juan Capistrano in March 2015.

Dressage-news.com reviewed the results of all California CDI3* and higher events going back to the earliest available on the International Equestrian Federation database in 2007.

A new ownership group of the Desert International Horse Park are staging the second of two consecutive weeks of dressage World Cup and Olympic qualifying events at what has been a hunter/jumper show grounds. The previous ownership staged a CDI3* at Thermal in February, 2010 in which there were 10 Grand Prix combinations in the lineup.

The California state government imposed new restrictions on the state to cope with a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic but do not impact this outdoor competition.

Steffen Peters of San Diego, California with Suppenkasper ranked 23rd in the world and second in the United States, declared of the event: “Very exciting.”

Steffen is looking to complete the year undefeated on the 12-year-old KWPN gelding–a total of 13 victories so far–11 in Wellington, Florida and two here last week as he seeks a place on his fifth American Olympic team.

Among other top American combinations include Charlotte Jorst of Reno, Nevada who is seeking to take Kastel’s Nintendo to the pair’s second World Cup Final at Gothenburg, Sweden scheduled for next April.

Sabine Schut-Kery of Thousand Oaks, California and Sanceo is also competing here for the first time since ranking fifth for the U.S. team for the Tokyo Games at the end of Florida’s last winter cirtcuit.

Anna Buffini of San Diego and her new mount FRH Davinia la Bouce that placed second in the first week here to place the pair second on the early U.S. selection list are competing here again.

So, too, is Catherine Haddad-Staller on Frankie that she brought from her New Jersey base to train and compete here. Catherine, who was based for several years in Germany, was reserve for the U.S. team at the 2006 World Equestrian Games and competed at the World Cup Finals in 2007 and 2011.