History Repeated: Van Grunsven Wins Freestyle at 2010 Exquis World Dressage Masters; US Superstar Steffen Peters and Ravel Second
RELEASE: February 6, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Ravel Settles for Second (SusanJStickle.com)
– Having convincingly won the Grand Prix at the 2010 Exquis World Dressage Masters on Thursday afternoon, the pressure was on Steffen Peters to continue his winning tear with Ravel. But unfortunately for the US fans, it was a repeat of 2009 and he still couldn’t eclipse Anky van Grunsven and her Olympic champion Salinero. The reigning Gold medalist wowed the fans with a classic fault-free performance and a score of 84.4% for the Netherlands. Last year she won with Painted Black – but in 2010 it was Salinero’s time to shine.
“For me the practice yesterday evening with the crowds and arena,” said van Grunsven about the difference in her horse since Thursday. “He gets a bit nervous with the atmosphere but yesterday he really settled down. He concentrated, but the Grand Prix I was happy as well but tonight everything worked out how it should be and I’m really, really pleased.”
The classy 16-year-old Dutch veteran was flawless in his performance and his reign in the dressage world has spanned the better part of the decade.
“I’m very proud,” said van Grunsven. “He’s already at the highest level for six years and he’s still a happy horse, he likes to compete and likes the training.”
Ravel is still coming into his own, and the 12-year-old Dutch gelding owned by Akiko Yamazaki’s Four Winds Farm dazzled the crowd at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with a serious degree of difficulty in his freestyle. Flying changes performed with Peters only riding with one hand, a canter pirouette into piaffe and passage half-pass highlighted a test that perfected will be one for the ages. To music by the Rolling Stones and Coldplay, the pair rocked the arena, a contrast to van Grunsven’s classical medley composed for her freestyle.
“He’s been feeling pretty solid in the changes,” said Peters. “So I thought I would try one hand – I didn’t quite have the guts to do it in the one-tempis but in hindsight maybe I should have… I will try it next time.”
Ravel was thriving in the atmosphere and was a little frisky in the wind and cool temperatures. It were those moments that perhaps cost him the win, but his score of 81.7% left him comfortably in second place and he took home a check of $20,700.
“It’s a little strange you would expect him to be more excited in an arena like Las Vegas but he’s more relaxed,” said Peters. “I knew I had a little more horse in there, he did a great job and I’m very, very proud of him.”
The 2009 USEF Horse and Rider of the Year have been winning at a very rapid pace since their victory at the 2009 FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas, they followed that up with a sweep of the CDIO Aachen and then a win in the Grand Prix on Thursday – the freestyle proved that the pair is indeed, mortal.
“I was a little careful into the first piafffe, and that wasn’t very good,” said Peters. “But the rest of the test was very, very good.”
Isabell Werth and Satchmo rounded out the top three on a score of 78.9%, meaning the three of the very best Dressage in the world went head-to-head-to-head again. Peters is realistic about the upcoming 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games and his expectations for his wonderful horse.
“It’s a big mistake if you start riding the score,” said Peters. “You have to ride your horse, Ravel tried his best for me tonight.”Tip Top is Best in the Grand Prix Special
Eight riders contested the Grand Prix Special on Saturday afternoon – and Leslie Morse and Tip Top, who are the reigning Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Champions, won convincingly on a score of 66.042% over Canada’s Belinda Trussell.
Morse recovered from an atypical performance in Thursday’s Grand Prix and was thrilled with the improvement – the classy 16-year-old Swedish Warmblood looked supple and strong in his test on Saturday.
“I was a little rusty (on Thursday),” said Morse after a seven month break from competition. “You forget how far you have to go and how hard you have to try, to be honest. I wish I could redo the Grand Prix. Having one class under my belt, I had to step up.”
Step up she did. Tip Top’s excellent canter work and powerful movement got him big scores throughout the majority of the test, but a mistake at the end, meant a winning mark wasn’t as high as it could have been. Morse momentarily lost her concentration in the walk and then took a few movements to get it back, luckily Tip Top carried on confidently.
“I needed a little more breath to get organized,” said Morse. “They were big errors for me, and it’s not normal to make them for me.”
Morse owns Tip Top with Laura Petroff and picked the Grand Prix Special to practice the technical aspect that isn’t called on in the Freestyle.
“Tip Top and I need to practice our technical side, that’s what we wanted to do here,” said Morse. ENDS
For complete results, please visit www.palmbeachworlddressagemaster.com. For more information, please contact Joanie Morris at email@example.com.