Thermal, Calif. – Nov. 18, 2020 – While CDI competition kicked off in Wellington, Florida, the inaugural Adequan® Desert Dressage I CDI took place on the west coast in Thermal, California. A field of eleven horse and rider pairs demonstrated their capabilities to the judges in the CDI3* Grand Prix and it was Steffen Peters (USA) and Four Winds Farm’s Suppenkasper who rode to the top with an impeccable score of 77.413%.
Second place was awarded to Anna Buffini (USA) aboard her own mount FRH Davinia La Douce (Don Frederico x A Jungle Prince), a 13-year-old Hanovarian mare, with a score of 68.565%. Rounding out the top three was Guenter Seidel aboard Leatherdale Farm’s Equirelle (Florett As x Donnerhall), an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, with a score of 68.261%.
Peters was pleased to be back in the show ring on his FEI World Equestrian Games partner, the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Spielberg.
“Mopsie and I have been together for almost four years now. It was a bit of a rough start, we started out in the lower 70% and slowly worked our season up a bit more every year, especially last year in Florida,” explained Peters. “He looked very promising. He made the team for the Olympic Games that didn’t happen. I felt like Mopsie and I needed at least another year to polish things off and mature. Not just Mopsie, but myself too. I can’t help but think he will be even better next year.”
Despite a shortened season, Peters was happy to have more time to mature with his mount before they, hopefully, represent the US at the Olympics in the coming year.
“It simply gave us more time. Mopsie is a very energetic horse and always wants to go, sometimes wants to go too much. That shows in the extended trot and extended canter. It also shows in the piaffe and passage, he tries sometimes so hard,” Peters articulated. “What used to happen, he would get so excited in the passage that he would, once in a while, be uneven behind. One hind leg would do a passage for a 9 score and the other for a 6 score. Unfortunately, that doesn’t average out for a 7 score. The piaffe is still a little difficult when he tries too hard. He would sway sometimes in front and I practiced that quite a bit in a two-point at the end of our warm-up to just make sure that he understands the piaffe is a part of relaxation. He is finally understanding that to the point where I can ask him for more in the piaffe. Before it was always saying a little prayer and being super careful, not touching him, kind of hoping that things would work out in the piaffe. Now I can ride it and be a bit more in charge of it.”
Despite competing in a national competition two months ago, this is the pair’s first major competition back since the break due to coronavirus. This is also the first time competing at the Desert International Horse Park together.
“We arrived two days ago and I drove around with my mouth open. The last time we were here was about seven or eight years ago and I just couldn’t believe how much was improved and the resources that were put into this place. It is absolutely beautiful,” Peters expressed. “That arena, truly, I am not exaggerating, has Olympic quality. When you come in with the big gate and the spectators where they are, that has Olympic quality. I cannot wait and hope that maybe one day something really big will happen here.”
Later in the weekend, Peters and Suppenkasper picked up their second win of the show with a 76.149% in the CDI3* Grand Prix Special. Buffini and FRH Davinia La Douce finished in second again with a score of 70.319%, while the third place ribbon was awarded to Dawn White-O’Connor (USA) and Bailarino (Breitling W x De Niro 6), a 12-year-old Oldenberg gelding owned by Four Winds Farm, with a score of 68.106%.
Peters and Suppenkasper will go to Florida for the winter to compete in more Olympic qualifiers as well as a Nation’s Cup before they are told if they have earned a well deserved spot on the Olympic team.
In the CDI-W Grand Prix division, Charlotte Jorst dominated aboard Kastel’s Nintendo with a 71.87% in the Grand Prix and then a 75.71% in the Freestyle. The second place title of the Freestyle was captured by Carly Taylor-Smith (USA) and her mount Rosalut NHF (Rosenthal x Salut), a 10-year-old Oldenberg gelding owned by Nikki Taylor-Smith, with a score of 74.075%. Rounding out the podium was Jan Ebeling (USA) and Diamond’s Diva (Diamond Hit x Santander H), a 15-year-old Oldenberg mare owned by Ann Romney, with a score of 72.495%.
Kastel’s Nintendo, owned by Kastel Denmark, is a 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Negro out of Monaco. The duo has been competing together for seven years. The pair debuted brand new music and choreography for their freestyle routine, which possessed the energy and cohesiveness Jorst hoped for and it clearly was enjoyed by the judges.
“It felt incredible. It was really nice music. I had only fully practiced it once before so I won’t lie, I was very nervous,” explained Jorst. “Especially for the entrance because I was trying to time it perfectly. It really worked out though. I got behind the music once in a while but in general it felt incredible.”
Jorst aspires to return to the FEI World Cup Finals in Sweden in the coming year with Nintendo.
Check out the full results of the show here.