Historically, the CDIO Aachen in Germany has mainly been dominated by Germans, but today American Steffen Peters changed that a bit by outclassing the European riders with a win in the Group 1 CDIO Grand Prix.
Aboard Laurie and Stephen Browning's Westfalian gelding Floriano (by Florestan), Peters rode a very pretty Grand Prix test with the half passes, canter pirouettes and extended walk as highlights. Though Floriano was sometimes a bit tight in the neck, he looked expressive and uphill throughout the test. Judges awarded Peters' ride with a 71.333% score which put him first in a field of 19 competitors.
Finnish Kyra Kyrklund has made an impressive, international come back this year with yet another world class horse. Yvette Conn's Swedish warmblood gelding Max (by Master x Alpenfurst) is a delightful liver chestnut with three outstanding paces. The piaffe and passage were fabulous, but due to a costly miss in the flying changes every single stride her score stopped going up at 70.500%. It ranked her second. The Russian Alexandra Korelova finished in third place with 69.833%. Her 15-year old grey Russian stallion Balagur can do textbook piaffes, but in the extended trot he is running a bit and his passage could be balanced out more.
The second American to go today was George Williams on Chuck and Joanne Smith's Rocher (by Rolls Royce). Williams had an outstanding ride in which harmony and looseness prevailed. The black mare Rocher showed breath taking trot extensions which earned her 9s. The passage could have been a bit more flamboyant and the second piaffe had to be straighter in the body, but in general Rocher was very willing to work and responsive to the aids. Their 69.333% score ranked them fifth in group one, and the German judge Gotthilf Riexinger even placed them first with 71.250%.
American Glory in Aachen: America Goes Full Throttle
With a first and fifth place and high scores for the first two Americans to go in the nations' competition (CDIO Grand Prix) at Aachen, the United States are currently in the lead in the team ranking. Both Peters and Williams are over the moon with their performances.
"Everything just worked out great," Steffen Peters said. "He was very relaxed and I was able to get on the throttle the whole time. In the last year, Floriano got more relaxed and more seasoned in his work. Aachen is not the show to hold back."
Steffen Peters was the alternate writer for the 2004 American Olympic team so did not get to go to Athens. His horse Floriano, which came to his barn as a sales horse, sold after the summer to Californians Stephen and Laurie Browning, who will let Steffen ride the horse until Floriano retires. "I feel priviledged to ride for the Brownings and Akiko Yamazaki [owner Lombardi II]."
George Williams feels ecstatic to be back in the big time with Rocher, who had a year "off" due to an injury. "I'm very pleased to have her back. This is our first major competition, because Aachen is of a whole different category. She felt really great and her carriage has been the best ever," Williams explained. "I was cautious to bring her back to this level and wanted to wait for Klaus [Balkenhol] to help me increase the impulsion and get more expression in the way she's going."
The American team riders are training with Klaus Balkenhol for the summer on USEF grants and have worked to get the horses on a high for the CDIO Aachen. Leslie Morse and Guenter Seidel will be competing tomorrow in Group two of the CDIO Grand Prix.
Text and Photo by Astrid Appels
This article has been exclusively written for Horsesdaily.com
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