Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 6, 2020 – During the fifth week of the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival [AGDF], the International Arena invited a field of 23 horse-and-rider pairs for the highlight event, the CDI-W Grand Prix, Thursday, Feb. 6. In the end, it was America’s own Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper who emerged victorious with a personal Grand Prix best score with a 76.896%.
Representing the United States, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz took the early lead following the first half of the class, riding Lonoir, her own 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, to an overall score of 73.891%. LaGoy-Weltz and the gelding have already notched a major win this season, riding away with top honors during the Week Three’s CDI-W Grand Prix and Freestyle.
Though the 12 competitors that followed attempted to unseat LaGoy-Weltz’s lead, none could match her score. Peters and Suppenkasper, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Four Winds Farm and Akiko Yamazaki, saved the best for last, putting down a clean and expressive test to claim the top spot with a score of 76.896%. The pair remain undefeated thus far in the 2020 AGDF season as they solidified their fifth CDI win of the year. In Thursday’s Grand Prix, they picked up many scores of 9s across the judges panel for their extended canter, canter pirouettes and their halts.
Peters picked up the ride on the sensitive and talented Suppenkasper in 2018 and it has taken time for the combination to settle into their new partnership. They represented the U.S. at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018 and was a member of the bronze medal team at the CDIO5* Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany in 2019. Peters credits much of his success to his renewed focus on mental health, and he plans to continue to visualize his spot at the top of the podium with Suppenkasper as his star mount for this year’s FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada in April as well as the highly anticipated 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
La-Goy Weltz and Lonoir would ultimately claim second place, while Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard rounded out the top three aboard Blue Hors Zatchmo, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Blue Hors Aps, with a score of 71.413%. The Danish Olympian acquired the ride on Blue Hors Zatchmo in 2018, with 2020’s AGDF marking the pairs’ debut in the U.S..
The fifth week of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival will continue Friday, Feb. 7, featuring the next installment of Friday Night Stars which will kick off at 7:00 p.m. with the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle.
Results: CDI-W Grand Prix
Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Steffen Peters / USA / Suppenkasper / 76.896
2. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz / USA / Lonoir / 73.891
3. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard / DEN / Blue Hors Zatchmo / 71.413
4. Yvonne Losos De Muñiz / DOM / Aquamarijn / 70.761
5. Kazuki Sado / JPN / Barolo / 70.261
6. Megan Lane / CAN / Zodiac MW / 70.065
7. Anna Marek / USA / Dee Clair / 69.391
8. Jaimey Irwin / CAN / Donegal V / 69.239
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Steffen Peters – CDI-W Grand Prix winner
On his win:
“Every show it has been getting a little bit better, so I was super excited. I heard the tents flapping but Mopsie didn’t hear it and that is a huge step ahead because that really threw him off the first week. I’ve been exposing him — walking in the morning, a little bit in the afternoon, another 20 minutes before, so that was the plan today.”
On scoring a 79% from one of the judges:
“It’s super exciting! He had a few 79s before, and both Debbie [McDonald] and I feel that there may be an 80 in there and it doesn’t hurt to dream about it, visualize that and know what an 80% feels like. We’ve seen it from so many riders here, especially from Laura [Graves]. The dream and the goal is there.”
“He is extremely rideable — he is so soft in the contact and perfect in the frame, he goes forward at any time, he goes back at any time, he goes sideways at any time so easily. It’s that feeling that you can’t get most of the time, and I wish that the judges could experience that because it was incredible. That gives that effortless picture and I still believe that harmony goes over expression — unless there’s enough expression in there, but I would never ever sacrifice the harmony over expression.”
On riding the Freestyle with Suppenkasper’s sensitivity:
“You know what I’m imagining right now that I’m at a golf tournament and the reporters are talking very quietly ‘He’s coming down centerline. He’s doing the halt. Let’s see how the first trot goes.’ That’s kind of the scenery that I’m imagining for tomorrow. The first halt will tell everything. If I get him to stand still right at the beginning and we are starting with a huge extended trot. If those movements work, most likely we’re in good shape. But it’s a huge hurdle. If it goes great, that’s the ticket to Vegas. He’s done two qualifiers and some people say ‘You can’t talk that way, you’ll jinx it’, but I’ve learned to dream more, visualize more. And why shouldn’t it happen tomorrow night?”
On visualizing the win:
“I have amazing memories from [the World Cup in] 2009. I have a picture on my phone holding up the trophy and I look at it every single morning. I listen to Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman — there’s so many people that motivate me. I go through that routine every single morning and during most of the time that World Cup trophy is there. It’s not just in my mind, it’s in there!”
On Suppenkasper’s growth of confidence this season:
“It’s a wonderful feeling where I can give him the rein and he really stretches down [in the arena before the test]. Some people said, ‘You’re coming in at a pony trot,’ and I said, ‘I wish I could get an even slower, even more toned down pony trot.’ That’s the plan for tomorrow night and hopefully it will work out.”