Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2024

Peters Puts In A Personal Best At Exquis World Dressage Masters

Ravel brought his “A” game to Wellington, Fla., for the Exquis World Dressage Masters and proved he’s only getting better with time. He and Steffen Peters put in their best Grand Prix test to date and came away the winner over some of Europe’s best riders with 75.57 percent.

Canada’s Ashley Holzer showed that the North Americans really can compete by placing second with Pop Art (71.31%) over the Netherlands’ Hans-Peter Minderhoud with Exquis Escapado (71.14%) and Edward Gal on Interfloor Next One (70.17%).

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Ravel brought his “A” game to Wellington, Fla., for the Exquis World Dressage Masters and proved he’s only getting better with time. He and Steffen Peters put in their best Grand Prix test to date and came away the winner over some of Europe’s best riders with 75.57 percent.

Canada’s Ashley Holzer showed that the North Americans really can compete by placing second with Pop Art (71.31%) over the Netherlands’ Hans-Peter Minderhoud with Exquis Escapado (71.14%) and Edward Gal on Interfloor Next One (70.17%).

The shocker of the day came when Anky van Grunsven, who rode IPS Painted Black second in the order-of-go, made two errors during her test. First she forgot the rein back, which was added to the new Grand Prix test this year. Then she moved into her pirouettes in the canter work instead of riding the zigzag. She finished in ninth place.

“I was so stupid and forgot the rein back,” said van Grunsven. “Then he got really scared of the short side where the judges were. The rest of the test I was trying to get him there, and then I made another stupid mistake. This has never happened in my entire life.”

Peters was all smiles after his winning ride. “What can I say?” he asked. “The horse makes me look good. Today was pure fun.”

Holzer sympathized with van Grunsven over the errors. “I almost forgot the halt to rein back,” she admitted. “I watched my scores drop [on the scoreboard] because I didn’t prepare him.”

Holzer said she’d aimed for a clean and safe test. “It wasn’t his most brilliant ride,” she said.  She thought that the new tests made it difficult to really push the horses because they too get used to their program, and changing it up confuses them.

Van Grunsven was one of several who went off course today. Jan Ebeling did his zigzag canter line instead of his one-tempis with Rafalca, and Tara Stegan did her zigzag in place of the two-tempis with New Tango.

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Van Grunsven commented that the Europeans had to contend with Florida being their first outdoor show. “It’s completely different than normal,” she said. “We train indoors and compete indoors [in the winter.] The first outdoor show is really difficult.”

But she pointed out that neither Minderhoud nor Gal had any problem with the venue and put in lovely tests. “The horse and I did not do a good job,” she said.

Van Grunsven will get a chance to redeem herself in the freestyle on Saturday night, Jan. 31.

“Anky did this in Amsterdam,” warned Peters. “The first day didn’t go that well and then it was a hell of a freestyle. We’ll have to step it up!”

Wind and rain threatened to make the first U.S. five-star that much more difficult, but despite the weather, several riders put in excellent tests. Neruda’s piaffe and passage looked fantastic as always, and a clean, accurate test left Michael Barisone in fifth place (68.59%).

Jane Hannigan and Maksymilian were another classy pair, and they were right behind Barisone on 68.55 percent. Other excellent tests were marred by small mistakes. Belgium’s Stefan van Ingelgem had a mistake in the ones with Withney van ‘t Genthof as did Lars Petersen and Succes, but their strong tests still left them in seventh and eighth place respectively.

The top-placed riders had their choice of whether they would continue on to the $40,000 Grand Prix Special or the $80,000 Grand Prix freestyle. At day’s end, most of the highest-placed riders had chosen the freestyle, but Michael Barisone opted for the Special.

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