Articles: Press Release
Steffen Peters and Floriano Finish at Third in the 2007 Rolex FEI World
Cup Dressage Competition; Germany's Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht FRH
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2007
The freestyle is one of the most expressive elements of dressage, and
there was no lack of emotion and pageantry during the finals of the 2007
Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage competition in Las Vegas. Germany's Isabell
Werth, aboard her 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Warum Nicht FRH, took
the top prize before an appreciative crowd at the Thomas and Mack Center
in what will be remembered as one of the great nights in the history of
dressage competition in the U.S. American rider Steffen Peters and
Floriano, the 17-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Stephen and
Laurelyn Browning, put in a third-place ride to end their World Cup bid
among the 11 riders in the final. It was the highest-placed finish for
an American rider in the World Cup since Debbie McDonald's win aboard
Brentina in 2003.
Werth, who was forced out of the competition two years ago (her horse
was withdrawn due to medical conditions), came back this year and put
down an emotional freestyle complete with great control, strength,
impulsion and power to claim her prize on a score of 84.25. This was the
rider's second World Cup champion title to date. Riding to a medley of
"Pomp and Circumstance" and "Bohemian Rhapsody," Werth displayed
excellent use of the arena highlighted by strong pirouettes. The pair
also took the top spot in the grand prix earlier in the week. At the end
of the ride, Werth was visibly thrilled as she pumped her fist in
celebration of a truly stylized and memorable ride.
"I didn't expect him [Warum Nicht FRH] to be so relaxed," said Werth. "I
could start from the first second and take my risks and do what we had
to do to. It was really super today...it was such a great
feeling...today, he was just brilliant."
Second place was awarded to Dutch rider Imke Schellekens-Bartels and
Sunrise, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare, with a score of 77.95. Their
freestyle was set to a wonderful composition written specifically for
the rider. It was a presentation complete with well-executed piaffes,
passages and half-passes.
"I was very happy, as well, with my ride," said Schellekens-Bartels. "My
preparation was not that easy today, as she [Sunrise] was already in
season before the grand prix. So, I had a really difficult warming up,
and the feeling at the end was that I've got to do everything or
nothing. So, I gave everything, and I was very pleased with the ride
compared to warming up. I didn't have a lot of mistakes. It was not the
best form we've ever had. She can do a lot better, but for today, I was
really, really happy."
But it was third-placed Peters, who put in a score of 77.80, who
received perhaps the night's warmest welcome to the arena. Performing to
a medley of classic rock songs including Fleetwood Mac, John Lennon and
Supertramp, the pair's ride included good extended canters and a very
nice piaffe-pirouette. Toward the end of their ride, just before the
halt, there was a bit of a gaff, but it couldn't take away a very nice
showing before the packed crowd.
"I was really excited for a horse that is 17 years old and still wants
to put so much effort into it. Certainly it has crossed my mind that
there were many questions about the future of Floriano," said Peters of
his partner. "It [the freestyle] started out really good. I was
extremely happy with the flying changes and the half-passes, and the
passage half-pass to the right was quiet good. He was very relaxed in
the walk, and those are his strong points. He was just a little bit
tired in the end. Those are little things that we can iron out."
Peters spoke candidly about the competition future of Floriano, who has
climbed to the top echelons of the dressage world with the rider. He
said that if the horse still acts like he wants to continue competing,
then they will. But, he added that it was something that they will take
Venerable Finnish dressage rider Kyra Kyrkland and the Swedish Warmblood
gelding Max came in at fourth in the freestyle on a score of 77.50. The
1991 World Cup champion seemed thrilled with the pair's ride. A
selection of songs from the Broadway show "Cabaret" served as their
Following Peters was the remaining the three Americans - Courtney King
(sixth place), Catherine Haddad (seventh place) and Leslie Morse (tenth
King and her partner Idocus performed to a selection of Broadway show
tunes. The stallion looked relaxed and happy during the execution of the
well-designed choreography. The pair's score came in at 73.20. Idocus is
owned by Christine McCarthy.
Haddad, who lives in Germany, and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood
gelding (owned by the Janet S. Schneider Trust), finished their work
with a score of 69.65. They performed to a selection of music from the
film "Gladiator." While there were some technical problems with the
freestyle, including a rather off-center halt, the rider's dramatic
freestyle was a crowd-pleaser nonetheless.
The fourth American, Morse, aboard her Tip Top 962, scored a 65.85.
Their freestyle was filled with tricky transitions and nicely done
pirouettes. However, the performance was not helped by the fact that
only the basic requirements were fulfilled, thereby reducing the
performance's level of difficulty. This was Morse's fourth World Cup
With four Americans making the grand prix freestyle, it can easily be
said that this was one of the most successful World Cups for the
American dressage program. The Netherlands had three riders competing in
the freestyle, while Germany, Finland, Sweden and Belarus had one rider
Hunter Challenge Rematch: USA vs. Europe
The sport of hunters wasn't lost on the 2007 Rolex FEI World Cups in Las
Vegas, and to prove that point, a fun rematch was in order. The World
Champion Hunter Rider World Cup Team Hunter Challenge took place at the
Thomas & Mack Arena and the crowd was treated to quite a show thanks to
the efforts of the American Hunter Jumper Foundation. It came in the
form of a challenge that pitted four top U.S. hunter riders against four
European jumpers. It was a test of show hunters versus Olympic show
jumpers in the hunter ring, and the results were a lot of fun to watch
The day's rematch consisted of four Americans: Scott Stewart, John
French, Peter Pletcher and Louise Serio. They battled four international
riders: Germany's Christian Ahlmann and Marcus Ehning, Britain's Michael
Whitaker and Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa.
Each of the riders participating are standouts and the international
team are Olympic medal winners, and the American riders have each been
named winner of the Monarch International Show Circuit Magazine WCHR
Professional Hunter title.
Each of the riders took their turn at the ring for round one, and they
returned for a second round on a different horse ridden by the opposing
team in the previous round. Three of the four riders' scores were used
with the lowest score being used as a drop. It was mentioned that the
horses in this year's hunter challenge looked a bit greener that in past
At the end of round one, Team USA sat with 204.33 ahead of Team Europe's
191.66. In round two, the Americans bested their first score, putting
down a 258. Team Europe improved as well with 249.33, but when the tally
was done, it was an overall victory for the U.S. riders. Their
cumulative score of 462.33 trumped the 441 posted by the opposition.
American rider Louise Serio said, "I'd like to take a minute to thank
the American Hunter Jumper Foundation and all the people who work on
this class. It's an honor to be in this class and with these riders who
Peter Pletcher added, "I have to say that I know what stage freight
means...when you come into this arena with this many people. It's an
unbelievable feeling to walk into the arena, and this is a great class
that I wish could do it more often."
George Morris was on-hand and added his thoughts on the event. "First, I
really respect those guys for sticking their necks out and participating
in this. They are great sports and superstars and icons to us all," he
said. "It's a great competition and fun and very good for our sport and
this country." Morris and several of the riders briefly mentioned the
idea of the hunters becoming an international discipline.
For complete results of today's competitions, go to the USEF homepage -
www.usef.org - and click on the Rolex FEI World
Cup Finals section in the center of the homepage.
The Animal Planet television network will televise a special 90-minute
broadcast of the 2007 Rolex FEI World Cup Finals on Saturday, May 12,
beginning at 9:00 p.m. (EDT). The telecast will include the Finals in
both jumping and dressage.
For more information, please contact Maria Partlow, USEF Senior Vice
President of Marketing/Communications at (859) 225-6941 or
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