Steffen Peters and his new number one Grand Prix horse Rosamunde have kicked off the 2017 show season in style with a double victory in the World Cup qualifier held at a brand new event in Las Vegas, NV, US.A. on 6 - 8 January 2017. To surprise of the show, however, was Peters' assistant trainer Dawn White-O'Connor who made her unexpected show debut aboard Legolas.
The 2017 CDI-W Las Vegas is a brand new show on America's West Coast. The event was organized by Allison Bonanno and Jenifer Luce-Zakhary in less than four months as the show was accepted as a last minute addition to the FEI calendar. The show took place at the South Point casino-resort. The stabling and showing facilities were outstanding but there was hardly an audience there. While the national classes were well filed, the CDI division was bare with 27 combinations there across the levels: two 7-year olds, 3 youth riders, 2 amateurs, 10 small tour riders and 10 Grand Prix riders.
The show was judged by Lee Tubman (CAN), Natalie Lamping (USA), Isobel Wessels (GBR), Peter Engel (GER) and Michael Osinski (USA).
In the CDI-W leg Steffen Peters and Akiko Yamazaki's 10-year old Rhinelander mare Rosamunde (by Rock Forever x Fidermark) felt no competition in his class of five, topping the board in the Grand Prix with 73.780% and winning the Kur to Music with 78.425%. Peters premiered a new Kur for Rosamunde, based on a medley of Phil Collins and Coldplay (Collins has already been highly used in the Kurs of Anna Kasprzak and Victoria Max-Theurer, while Peters' freestyle designer also recycled the Coldplay parts of Ravel's celebrated kur).
"If we make it to the World Cup, we will make it a little more special, more entertaining; polish it a little bit more. But it was a wonderful start," Peters told Dressage-News about his new freestyle.
The 27-year old Dawn White-O'Connor made her show debut aboard Akiko Yamazaki's 15-year old Westfalian gelding Legolas (by Laomedon x Florestan II). The news about the new partnership only became known days before the competition when the starters' list were published. Yamazaki and Peters agreed to give Dawn the ride in order for young American talent to get the opportunity to rise to the top on a proven, high quality dressage horse in order to broaden the top of U.S. High Performance sport.
Dawn and Legolas finished second twice with a 68.100% in the Grand Prix and a 75.275% in the freestyle. "I was happy with how the Grand Prix went. We definitely had a few green mistakes but overall I was really happy with the whole weekend," White-O'Connor told Eurodressage. "It was a really fun venue to show in. I think in the freestyle I was a little more comfortable in the ring with him then I was in the Grand Prix. I really enjoy riding the freestyle."
Dawn cited that the piaffe and passage were Legolas' strong points in the test, but that the changes still posed some challenges.
"The changes are something we are always working on. I had a mistake in the twos in the Grand Prix, but both lines of changes in the freestyle were clean," she told Eurodressage. "Legolas is a very sensitive horse, I think it will definitely take some time for us to get use to each other. That showed a bit in the GP with a few of the mistakes. That was one of the things that I was most happy with in the freestyle, was that we were able to clean up some of those mistakes."
Dawn will join Steffen in Wellington, Florida for a short show campaign which will start on the weekend of 8 - 12 February, during which Steffen will ride the 5* with Rosamunde and Dawn the 3* with Legolas and Aristo. "Then I will compete both horses in the CDI two weeks later in FL and come back to California for the rest of the shows here," Dawn added.
Peters also made his debut on a new horse in Las Vegas, the 15-year old Danish warmblood Wizard Banamex (by White Talisman x Ragazzo). The bay gelding is originally named NOH's Wizard and was competed in Denmark by Astrid Gemal and later on trained to Grand Prix level by Carina Nevermann Torup. The gelding sold to Mexicans Lourdes Arizo and Paloma Munoz and was first competed by Antonio Rivera Galarza. Jesus Enrique Palacios took over in 2015 and represented Mexico on Wizard at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Wizard arrived in Peters' barn in Arroyo del Mar, California, less than a month ago as a sales horse. The pair contested the Special tour in Las Vegas, winning the Grand Prix with 68.560% and the Special with 70.216%. Kathleen Raine and her seasoned mount, 17-year old Hanoverian mare Breanna (by Brentano II x Weltmeyer), landed second place twice with 68.540% and 68.745%. Raine also brought along her second GP ride, Leona Pollack's 13-year old Dutch warmblood gelding Zuperman (by Sir Sinclair x Inspekteur) with whom she grabbed fourth and third place in the freestyle tour with 64.340% and 69.575%.
At small tour level, Steffen continued his Las Vegas conquest aboard Akiko Yamazaki's Bailarino, a 9-year old Oldenburg gelding by Breitling W x De Niro. The pair won the Prix St Georges with 75.184% and the Intermediaire I with 75.079%. Yamazaki acquired the former licensed stallion in August 2014. Portuguese Antonio do Vale rode Bailarino to a 7th place in the consolation finals for 5-year olds at the 2013 Bundeschampionate.
Photos © Terri Miller