Olympians Lead New Stars to the Forefront at 2013 CDI Burbank

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 11:31
2013 CDI Burbank

Two of Americas most well known dressage greats proved that when you mix wisdom with some fresh Prix St Georges talent, the combination is a winning one! Taking out first and second place in the Prix St Georges and Intermediaire I at the recent 2013 CDI Burbank on 22 - 24 February 2013, U.S. Olympians Steffen Peters and Jan Ebeling entered the arena on their exciting new FEI horses and were very pleased with the result.

Three time Olympian Steffen Peters and his new equine partner Vaya Con Dios claimed victory with 72.061% in the Prix St Georges and 69.263% in the intermediaire I. Both really seemed to enjoy the Burbank experience.

"It was a really great show and was very well run," Peters told Eurodressage. "We were also lucky to get some great weather!"

Peters took over the ride on Paula Howard's 11-year old Dutch warmblood Vaya con Dios (by Odermus R x Glendale) in 2012 and first competed the chestnut gelding at the Del Mar International Horse Show 14 - 16 September 2012. Shannon Peters initially presented the horse at its first U.S. show in 2009 after which owner Howard showed him from 2010 through 2012.

"Vaya Con Dios is an 11-year old Dutch gelding, who was a jumper until he was 6," Steffen explained. Nicknamed Mel, Vaya con Dios has a striking personality

With 2013 well under way, Steffen hopes to compete in one or two more CDI's , in order to qualify Vaya Con Dios for the National Championships.

Ebeling and Descartes Strike a Pose

At the 2013 CDI Burbank Jan Ebeling followed Peters closely with 68.904% and 67.281% aboard Descartes, a 2001 licensed Oldenburg stallion by De Niro out of elite mare Kirudja (by Quattro B x Feiner Stern). Competed by Ellen Bontje as a youngster, Descartes now continues his FEI career under US Olympian Jan Ebeling, who felt that he re-entered the arena just at the right time after the London Games.

"This was my first outing after the Olympics and I felt that taking the time (between then and now) for a break to breathe helped to make me better prepared and excited to ride down the centerline," Ebeling told Eurodressage. "It was great to see some of the new horses that my colleagues ride come out as well.  Overall it was a very positive and fun experience for myself and my horses."

Turned out during his London Olympic trip, Jan's horses indulged in pasture time, going on trail rides and only sticking to the basics in school work. "After this break, all of the horses are happy and willing to do their jobs, and do them well," said Jan. "Having a versatile training program is essential for their success in the ring."

Descartes competed at national small tour level last year and this is his first season of CDI competition. "It was a great outing and I am thrilled with my horse and the results," Ebeling stated. "He was well received by the judges and we had helpful comments that will give us good direction for even more improvement. He is typically a very focused horse who really listens, which works to our advantage going into any arena. I felt that he was really on and his owner, Cathy Shelton, was just as thrilled with his work ethic and results."

If the horse took on a human career, Descartes would be a great professor, according to Jan. "He would be very well spoken, driven, committed, and smart. Based on his ethic under saddle, he would be willing to listen and respond politely." And if he could talk to Jan he would say in his most eloquent voice. "Please sir, may I have another carrot?"

For this show season with Descartes Jan will continue with the CDI tours on the California circuit and is confident, given the horse's temperament that he can also qualify for a National Championship spot. "I will continue to prepare him for Grand Prix and judging from past experience he is a very consistent and reliable competitor," he said.

As both Jan and Steffen's horses are new to this level, both riders hope to earn some more big wins in the future.

U.S. Olympians Inspire a Generation

Set to continue to inspire America's younger riders, Jan and Steffen are certain that their wisdom helps them in the arena. They are confident that the future of dressage USA will be a bright one.

"Having such broad experience with so many FEI horses and the wonderful opportunities over the past four years competing in Europe have really broadened my horizons," Jan admitted. "I am now able to apply so much of my learning to my developing horses and students. It helps that the US has some very established, internationally-recognized riders and trainers as well as some super, young professionals and promising, young talent. We have worked hard to establish a program for identifying and educating our talent. I believe we need the same caliber of horses to support the riders.  Investing in top quality young horses and placing them with riders that have the ability to develop a horse could make us a real force on the international scene."

However, to be truly great Jan recommends "having a dream, be willing to work hard for it, develop strong loyalty to a training program, and don't ever give up!" Steffen added "work hard, be humble, and listen."

by Sarah Warne for Eurodressage - Photos © Lindsay McCall

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