By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Steffen Peters and Ravel will not defend the World Cup title the American pair won in Las Vegas in April.
After discussions with Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang, owners of the 11-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding, Peters told dressage-news.com the pair would not be at the FEI World Cup Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands in mid-March.
The focus would be on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky Sept. 25-Oct. 10.
Akiko and Steffen were in the Texas capital of Austin to receive the U.S. Dressage Federation Horse of the Year award based on the World Cup title and an unprecedented sweep by an American combination of the three World Equestrian Festival CDIO events at Aachen, Germany.
“The success of Ravel and Steffen this year has been more than we ever dreamed possible,” Akiko told dressage-news.com. “As much as we want to defend the World Cup title against the best in the world, Ravel’s welfare is our first priority and we feel that the amount of travel required would not be in the best interest of the horse.”
The World Cup would have been the first time that the American pair would have the opportunity to compete against Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal, the rider of Ravel until he was sold to the U.S. three years ago, and Parzival ridden by Adelinde Cornelissen. The two Dutch combinations took the three gold medals at the European Championships in August–both on the winning team, Adelinde and Parzival the Grand Prix Special and Edward and Totilas the Grand Prix Freestyle.
The complete lack of 2009/2010 World Cup qualifying events on the West Coast of the United States would have meant that Peters and Ravel, based in San Diego, California, would have to go to Florida–a distance of 2,244 miles(3,611 km)–or Europe for several weeks to fulfill the titleholder requirement of competing in two events.
“We felt,” he said, “that the transcontinental flights to qualify in Florida and then the transatlantic flight to the final in The Netherlands and more transcontinental flights for the WEG selection trials on the East Coast (of the United States) were more stresses than we wanted to subject Ravel to.
“Our goal in 2010 is to represent the United States at the World Equestrian Games which are being held in our homeland for the first time.
“This opportunity comes around only once every four years, just like the Olympics.
“Akiko, Jerry and myself all agree on a schedule for Ravel to be in peak competition form at WEG.”
The schedule they have set for 2010 includes:
* Exquis World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Feb. 4-6;
* U.S. WEG Selection Trials at Gladstone, New Jersey, July 1-15.
Since their CDIO sweep at Aachen, Peters was the featured trainer at the prestigious Global Dressage Forum in The Netherlands in October.
Then in November, Peters and Ravel competed at a national competition in Thermal, California for the first time since Aachen and were scored above 80 per cent in the Grand Prix.