January 29, 2012
Nürnberger Grand Prix winners Steffen Peters and Ravel.
Not only is that a personal best result in a CDI Grand Prix for Peters and Akiko Yamazaki’s 14 year old KWPN gelding, it is also the highest score ever attained in a WDM Palm Beach Grand Prix.
“I started to have the feeling I got from Ravel tonight in the last couple of weeks,” said Peters after his decisive victory over the international field of 16 competitors.
“I had this feeling at a show two weeks ago in California, but I had to risk it a bit more here. Ravel feels even stronger than last year and more supple. It was a blast to ride.”
Finishing in second place behind Peters was Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding co-owned by Carl Hester and Roly Luard. Dujardin’s score of 78.468% was nearly three points behind Peters, but it was a full five percentage points higher than the third placed pair, Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven of Sweden on the 13 year old Rheinlander gelding Favourit, with a score of 73.255%.
The WDM Palm Beach is Dujardin’s North American debut. For Peters and Vilhelmson-Silfven, their placings in the Grand Prix are identical to the 2011 WDM Palm Beach on the same horses, though the scores are higher than a year ago.
In fourth place was Idaho-based US rider Adrienne Lyle riding Wizard, a 13 year old Oldenburg gelding.
Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer finished in fifth place on Breaking Dawn, the flashy bay 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Akribori and co-owned by Holzer and P.J. Rizvi.
Scoring 71.404%, Holzer was tied for fifth with Anja Plönzke of Germany riding Le Mont d’Or, but Holzer and Breaking Dawn’s higher collective scores were used to break the tie and secured the pair the fifth place finish.
Breaking Dawn moved up to Grand Prix in the fall of 2011, and Holzer is thrilled with the horse’s aptitude for the sport. “I am just over the moon about Breaking Dawn’s test,” Holzer said. “He went in there and almost seemed to relax when he saw the crowd was cheering for him. It was an even better test than last week.
Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn were fifth.
© Susan Stickle
“I think we had so many good horses in this class,” said FEI five star dressage judge Gary Rockwell, president of the ground jury.
The 2012 WDM Palm Beach Grand Prix has also set records for spectators, with well over a thousand people in the stands and at ringside VIP tables on Friday afternoon. For the first time ever, USEF Network live streamed the entire competition in High Definition not only for the web, but also for smart phones. People from all over the world – from Canada to Germany to Japan – logged in on computers and mobile devices to watch the event.
“I was really pleased with the number of spectators who came today,” said Noreen O’Sullivan of Wellington Classic Dressage, which is the Official Show Producer of the WDM Palm Beach.
“It’s a wonderful statement about the state of our sport.”
The World Dressage Masters presented by Axel Johnson Group is the most prestigious dressage series in the world, and with €400,000 in prize money awarded at 2011 WDM events, also the richest. The field at the 2012 WDM Palm Beach represents some of the world’s top ranked and most successful horses and riders.
1. Steffen Peters (USA) Ravel – 81.383%
2. Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) Valegro – 78.468%
3. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) Favourit – 73.255%
4. Adrienne Lyle (USA) Wizard – 72.149%
5. Ashley Holzer (CAN) Breaking Dawn – 71.404%
6. Anja Plönzke (GER) Le Mont D’Or – 71.404%
7. Heather Blitz (USA) Paragon – 71.000%
8. Carl Hester (GBR) Wie Atlantico De Ymas – 69.979%