Del Mar, Calif. – May 3, 2018 – After years of riding at the top level of dressage competition and garnering an impressive show record with American Olympian Steffen Peters, the now 16-year-old Westphalian gelding Legolas 92 was formally retired from international competition Saturday, April 28, at the CDI-W in Del Mar, California. He was surrounded by his loving owners, riding partners and adoring fans as the highlights of his life in the limelight were remembered.
Paying tribute to the gelding’s impressive career, long-time partner Peters rode Legolas to the music of their freestyle routine one last time as a video honoring his accomplishments was played to the crowd, followed by the traditional unsaddling and blanketing. The ceremony was wrapped up like every other training session at Legolas’ home barn in California — a box of treats was brought into the arena on the back of a four-wheeler by Shannon Peters, which the gelding proceeded to help himself to as a well-deserved reward.
Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang, owners of Legolas and Peters’ other mounts including Ravel, Rosamunde and Suppenkasper, first purchased Legolas as a 9-year-old at Hof Kasselmann in Germany. Both owners as well as Peters’ had high hopes for Legolas as a successor to Ravel, and they were not disappointed in his performances in the years to come.
Following a winning debut CDI together in Burbank, California, in early 2012 where they claimed both the Grand Prix and the Special, Peters and Legolas spent the remainder of the year undefeated in Grand Prix competition, proving themselves in order to gain a spot on the US Dressage team. Traveling internationally to venues such as Hagen, Aachen, Verden, Caen, Roosendaal and Rotterdam in years following, they remained an asset to the team through 2016, helping the United States come home with a team bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
When discussing Legolas’ performance in Rio, Steffen said, “I’m just so excited that Legolas did one of his best tests of his life, maybe one of the best tests of my life. It’s been a difficult road with Legolas. Sometimes I didn’t know exactly which horse was going into the show arena. But he did not change one single bit from the warm-up arena to the show arena, and there was not one single point that we gave away. This was it. This was the test I dreamed of for my team. I just loved it. He did everything I dreamed of and you don’t just hope that dreams come true you make the dreams come true. That’s what he did today.”
The pair competed in the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen, the 2015 World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, and the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, where they claimed the team and individual gold medals, scoring over 80 percent in their musical freestyle. Adding to his numerous achievements with Peters, Legolas also maintained his title of US Grand Prix Horse of the Year from 2013-2016.
In 2017, when Peters assumed the ride on Rosamunde, Legolas was handed to his assistant trainer Dawn White-O’Connor as a schoolmaster. With White-O’Connor in the saddle, the gelding went on to successfully compete in CDIs in Wellington, California, Rotterdam and Cappeln. The horse-and-rider combination rode three more CDIs in California at the beginning of 2018, finishing out at the CDI-W at Del Mar in February.