Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 7, 2020 – Following a stellar performance in the previous day’s CDI-W Grand Prix, U.S. dressage rider Steffen Peters and his mount Suppenkasper, owned by Four Winds Farm and Akiko Yamazaki, returned to the Global Dressage stadium with their eyes on the top prize of the night. When he alluded to a showstopping freestyle choreography with the gelding on Thursday, he did not lie. With an electric performance and consistently high marks, Peters and Suppenkasper claimed the Grand Prix Freestyle victory with a personal best score of 83.495%.
Peters and the 12-year-old KWPN gelding brought renewed energy into the arena with fun and upbeat freestyle music, some of which was borrowed from Ravel’s old choreography, Peter’s past Olympic mount. The pair was up for the challenge of bringing new, difficult elements into their test, such as riding a pirouette into the piaffe, then straight into the walk.
Clearly elated and emotional following his test, Peters explained how exciting it was to realize when his personal best score came in that he and Suppenkasper, or “Mopsie” as he is fondly called in the barn, had officially earned their ticket to the FEI Dressage World Cup Finals set to take place in Las Vegas in April.
Riding into second place was fellow U.S. rider, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir, a 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, with a score of 79.365%. In Thursday’s Grand Prix, the pair also finished in second behind Peters, and set the goal of riding a clean freestyle and gathering as many points as they could. Just two weeks prior, LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir were victorious in the Week 3 CDI-W Freestyle with a score of 80.495%.
Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Blue Hors Zatchmo, an 11-year-old Oldenburg stallion, rounded out the top three with a score of 77.635%. The horse-and-rider combination have been together since 2018, training and competing in Denmark, and only just made their Wellington debut at the beginning of the 2020 season. While Kirk Thinggaard explained that she would like to one day compete in an FEI World Cup Final, she also noted that her main focus is on qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo later this year.
Competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival will resume on Saturday, Feb. 8, with the highlight event being the CDI-W Grand Prix Special.
Results: CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Steffen Peters / USA / Suppenkasper / 83.495
2. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz / USA / Lonoir / 79.365
3. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard / DEN / Blue Hors Zatchmo / 77.635
4. Yvonne Losos De Muniz / DOM / Aquamarijn / 76.215
5. Heather Blitz / USA / Semper Fidelis / 73.595
6. Anna Marek / USA / Dee Clair / 73.385
7. Martha Fernanda Del Valle Quirarte / MEX / Beduino Lam / 72.38
8. Naima Moreira Laliberte / CAN / I Do Kiss / 72.25
9. James Koford / USA / Adiah HP / 72.16
10. Rebecca Waite / USA / Doktor / 71.685
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Steffen Peters – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle First Place
On the class:
“It felt wonderful. I knew coming into the arena with him rather relaxed and stretching. When the music started, he actually still was walking. Usually, we are piaffing and passaging. One hind leg goes to the moon; the other one goes somewhere else, so he just walked in, and from there on, I knew there was a very good chance he would stand still right at the gate. And then from there on, he was, the entire time, right with the music. It’s one of those freestyles that I have visualized for many days, many mornings, many nights, through dark times, and it worked out beautifully.”
On the Freestyle:
“There are parts of it that are new. The music that I picked for the canter, I looked at so much different music, and I could never come up with a better music than the one I used to ride with Ravel. No matter what I looked at. And I said, you know what, why don’t we just use that, that we were so successful with with Ravel in 2009. And there are still a few improvements that we can make for Vegas. We have a few surprises in the music. First of all, that is the most exciting part, that this is his third score, and we got a ticket to Vegas!”
On the pirouette into the piaffe, straight into the walk:
“It’s one of those movements that I have practiced with, actually on my horses for many years. It is more of a training move when they don’t want to sit enough in the canter pirouette, you know? I like to use the piaffe in between to get that done. So it is a bit more of a training tool that I use for the Freestyle. Tonight it worked out beautifully, and the way Mopsie walked afterward was a gigantic success, because that gets really tricky after an extended canter, to the piaffe, and then this super relaxed, extended walk afterward. That almost made me cry. There are so many difficult movements in it, but the relaxation of this horse tonight was tremendous.”
On his experience at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival this year:
“It is always an amazing pleasure to ride here. It was actually today, eight years ago, at the World Dressage Masters that I won in Wellington. I’ve never won the Freestyle here, so thank you so much to both gentlemen to my left and the huge sponsorship from Adequan, which is so generous for so many years. The experience was amazing. I was excited to go back on the long side, shake a few hands from the audience, and that felt really good to get everybody involved because there are only so many of us, but there are hundreds of spectators. They made it happy. We are only a small part of it, and it felt good to give a little bit back to them.”
Olivia Lagoy-Weltz – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle Second Place
On her horse:
“I was super happy with him. He was really good, like in the warm-up he was super, and in the ring he was super. For a horse his size, it was a lot of things coming one right after the other in there, and he handles it super well. I was really pleased. I couldn’t be happier with him. I think I will go home and watch the video, and there is always room for improvement. We have our eye on Vegas as well. I would like to go with Steffen, that would be awesome. Just want to keep making it better, that’s all there is to it.”
On the Freestyle:
“This is the second time we have shown it [the Freestyle]. I think the fourth time we have ever ridden it. Maybe fifth.”
Agnette Kirk Thinggaard – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle Third Place
On her test and her horse:
“I thought the test went really well tonight. I was aiming for a quiet and calm horse. I knew I was going right after Steffen and that the audience would probably do some clapping, and that’s okay! But he gets a bit tense, so I was waiting until everybody was done and came in and I think he was really, really good and calm all the way through it. So I was really pleased with him. I love this horse. He has so much quality and so much power. He has so many years left, he is eleven, and we are only starting. This is our very first Freestyle. I went through it once at home, so it was very much the first time for us. So I am very proud.”