Thursday, Jun. 6, 2024

Floriano Leaps Into Top Position At The League Final

The riders weren't fooling around today as they rode to music in the U.S. League Final at the Festival of the Horse in Burbank, Calif. on April 1.  But Steffen Peters emerged triumphant once again with Floriano, scoring an impressive 78.70 percent in the musical freestyle to earn a berth to the Rolex FEI World Cup Final.

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The riders weren’t fooling around today as they rode to music in the U.S. League Final at the Festival of the Horse in Burbank, Calif. on April 1.  But Steffen Peters emerged triumphant once again with Floriano, scoring an impressive 78.70 percent in the musical freestyle to earn a berth to the Rolex FEI World Cup Final.

They passaged down centerline to Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” and proved their form is still world class.  Courtney King and Idocus  moved up into second place with an expressive test to music from The Wizard of Oz (75.50%), and Leslie Morse grabbed third place aboard Tip Top 962 (73.00%). 

Peters, King, Morse and Catherine Haddad, who qualified in Europe, will represent the United States at the Final in Las Vegas, Nev. in April.

“The riders performance was much improved today,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Klaus Balkenhol.  “They were awake to the fact that only good performances get good scores.”

“It’s always an honor to represent the United States,” said Peters after his winning performance.  “I’ve done it a few times, but it’s always very special.”

An uncharacteristic mistake in the two-tempis was the only flaw in Floriano’s otherwise foot-perfect test.

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“Sometimes it happens,” said Peters cheerfully of his mistake.  “We’re human and horses are horses.”  He revealed that Floriano had undergone stem cell surgery for a small hind leg suspensory tear in the winter, so it was questionable that the 17-year-old Westphalian would even be fit enough for the League Final. 

But he proved he was feeling quite fit in the honor round by performing a full Courbette.  Floriano is known for his disdain for awards ceremonies, but he outdid himself with his flying leap into the air.  Peters merely laughed and reassured him before continuing forward.

King, for her part, looked a bit shell-shocked as she headed into the press conference knowing she’d qualified for her first World Cup.  “My goal was to make the League Final,” she said.  “I though that was a good goal.  I was not expecting to make the World Cup.”

King rode a clean test with Idocus, showcasing his tempi changes on a figure eight and coming down her final centerline in extended trot.  “Every time I show him it’s a blessing,” said King of her 17-year-old partner.  “He’s so happy and inspired right now.” 

She’ll head to San Diego to train with Peters until the World Cup Final.

Morse will be representing the United States at the World Cup for the second year in a row with Tip Top.  “I love the World Cup,” she said.  “I love the freestyle.  It’s a fabulous event.”

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Her swing tunes freestyle was as much fun as ever with the highlights coming in the canter pirouettes, half-pass and passage.  Mistakes marred the two-tempi changes, but she was able to recover for the ones. 

Arlene “Tuny” Page placed fourth (71.05%) with a much improved freestyle test from the day before with Wild One.  The only mistake in their 1960s themed test came in the one-tempis.  
    
Michael Barisone debuted his new freestyle with Neruda for fifth place (70.75%).  They entered at the walk to Billy Joel’s “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” and began with a double pirouette to the right.

Jeremy Steinberg and Parocco placed sixth in the class (67.80%).  Steinberg rode to music from Peter And The Wolf.  Donna Richardson withdrew Jazzman before the class because he came down with a fever.

Peters and King both scored other CDI wins today.  Peters rode an expressive Grand Prix Special test with Lombardi II.  The talented Holsteiner thought about running out of the arena at the beginning of the test, but he soon settled and showed off his marvelous gaits and suppleness for 72.10 percent. 

King rode Mythilus to their third small tour win of the weekend in the Intermediaire freestyle (75.10%).  “I couldn’t have been happier,” said King.  “He’s often a horse where the scores are good, but he’s not really on my seat.  After the last show he turned a corner, and now he’s so light.”

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