by Tori Bilas • photos: Terri Miller
Not even one month ago, Steffen Peters (USA) took the FEI World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle win during Desert Dressage II, saying he believed three wins would be required to qualify for FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha in 2023. He has another victory under his belt now from Desert Dressage II, riding to the win with Suppenkasper in the FEI World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by EurEquine Stallions, Saturday afternoon. Their score of 81.590% earned them the win.
“‘Mopsie’ did another great freestyle today,” Peters remarked on the 14-year-old gelding’s performance. “In the double pirouette after the canter extension, I was a couple seconds behind the music so I finished the pirouette a little too soon. Then I did the walk and trot work in the reverse direction. I think that was a bit confusing to the judges but then everything worked out at the end.”
Peters and Suppenkasper, owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm, have been nothing but victorious this season at DIHP. The season features one more CDI World Cup Qualifying event in January 2023, and Peters knows the win is crucial at that final international show of the DIHP season.
Until then, they’re not reinventing the wheel with Peters’ trusted partner. “We’ve been pretty successful with Mopsie working four days a week,” the Olympian said. “He works Mondays and Tuesdays, goes for a walk Wednesday, then we work Thursdays and Fridays. That system has been working great. He walks quite a bit on the weekends. Hopefully we can keep him as happy and sound as he is right now.”
Second place went to Anna Buffini (USA) with FRH Davinia La Douce with a score 77.460% and Claire Darnell (USA) and Harrold S took third with a new personal best of 73.455%.
The upcoming FEI World Cup Finals in April of 2023 would mean more to Peters than any other in recent memory.
“It’s been a while that we’ve been able to ride in front of an American crowd,” Peters reflected, having last jumped a championship in front of a home crowd in Tryon of 2018. “There is not a dressage fan in the world as loud, as enthusiastic, and as extremely inspiring as the American dressage fan. If I would get a chance to ride once more in my career at home in a freestyle, it would mean so much. It would be a huge honor, and hopefully Mopsie can pull off one more freestyle win in January.”
Shannon Peters (USA) was also in the winner’s circle Saturday in the FEI Grand Prix Special, presented by El Ranchito. Aboard Disco Inferno, she rode to a score of 67.766%, a new personal best, for the win. “That was just fabulous,” Steffen remarked on his wife’s success. “I was so happy for her. It means just as much to me as Mopsie winning today.”
Desert Dressage III concludes Sunday with the CDIY FEI Young Riders Freestyle and the CDIJ FEI Junior Freestyle.