Steffen Peters & Rosamunde Debut New Freestyle to Win Inaugural Las Vegas World Cup, Dawn White-O’Connor Gets Lifetime Best For 2nd On Legolas

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Stablemates Rosamunde with Steffen Peters Aboard and Legolas with Dawn White O'Connor talking during the awards ceremony after finishing first and second in the inaugural Las Vegas World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Stablemates Rosamunde with Steffen Peters Aboard and Legolas with Dawn White O’Connor talking during the awards ceremony after finishing first and second in the inaugural Las Vegas World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, Nov. 7, 2016–Steffen Peters and Rosamunde claimed their first World Cup event by winning the inaugural High Roller Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday with Dawn White O’Connor posting a lifetime best on stablemate Legolas in the pair’s first competition.

Steffen and Rosamunde, a Rhinelander mare who turned 10 years old a week ago, scored 78.425 per cent riding a new musical performance that was a mix of Phil Collins and Coldplay tunes and a touch from the freestyle of Ravel, his 2009 World Cup championship mount.

Dawn and Legolas were awarded 75.275 per cent for second place at this show in the South Point casino resort hosting its first dressage competition, Dawn and the 15-year-old Westfalen gelding took their first ride in a show ring five months after Legolas was Steffen’s partner in leading the United States to a team bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Both pairs, owned by Four Winds Farm of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang and based at Steffen’s training center in San Diego, California plan to head to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida next month to compete, Rosamunde in the CDI5* and Legolas in the CDI3* Feb. 8-12 then the World Cup qualifier two weeks later seeking to qualify for the final in Omaha Mar. 27-Apr. 2.

Steffen and Rosamunde have the highest score and Dawn and Legolas the second in the four World Cup qualifiers held so far in the North American League with five more events scheduled, four in Wellington and one in Burbank, California. The highest average of the top two scores count toward qualifying for the two spaces reserved for North American in the final.

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde riding to victory in the inaugural Las Vegas High Roller World Cup Grand Prix Freestyule. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters and Rosamunde riding to victory in the inaugural Las Vegas High Roller World Cup Grand Prix Freestyule. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Laura Graves of Geneva, Florida, at No. 4 the highest ranked American combination in the world, has declared her intention to ride Verdades to qualify for a start in Omaha. Laura and the 15-year-old KWPN gelding competed in the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2015 and placed fourth in the Rio Olympic freestyle after the U.S. team bronze performance.

Steffen described Dawn’s ride on Legolas as “pretty darned good” from what he saw while he warmed up next to the centerpiece arena in the equestrian complex that also has two other competition arenas and 1,200 stables indoors as part of the casino-resort.

“I though the whole show with Dawn was like throwing a rook quarterback into the playoffs,” said Steffen who is an avid NFL fan. “She handled it beautifully. She was self-critical and saying it needs to get a whole lot better but that’s the competitor in her and I love that.”

Although Rosamunde made a mistake in the one-tempi changes, Steffen said the horse was much more rideable.

Timing in the new freestyle worked perfectly, he said, while the piaffe and passage were exactly Rosie’s footfalls.

“If we make it to the World Cup, we will make it a little more special, more entertaining; polish it a little bit more. But it was a wonderful start.”

Dawn White-O'Connor and Legolas in the Las Vegas World Cup Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Dawn White-O’Connor and Legolas in the Las Vegas World Cup Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Dawn said she was surprised by the score, but there were no mistakes.

“I felt like I rode a little better. I thought I sort of piloted him through the Grand Prix but today I fixed some things in the warmup and rode him.”

Results:

CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle

Judges: E-Lee Tubman CAN H-Natalie Lamping USA C-Isobel Wessels GBR M-Peter Engel GER B-Michael Osinski USA

 
HORSE
RIDER 
Total 
Place 

Rosamunde

Steffen Peters

79.250% (1) 77.750% (1) 79.000% (1) 78.250% (1) 77.875% (1)
1

Legolas 92

Dawn White-O’Connor

73.500% (2) 77.750% (1) 74.125% (2) 77.125% (2) 73.875% (2)
2

Zuperman

Kathleen Raine

68.000% (3) 70.250% (3) 69.875% (3) 72.000% (3) 67.750% (4)
3

Ikaros

David Blake

66.875% (4) 66.750% (4) 68.375% (4) 67.250% (5) 69.125% (3)
4

Vindicator

Barbi Breen-Gurley

62.875% (5) 65.500% (5) 60.500% (5) 68.375% (4) 66.250% (5)
5