Articles: Press Release
Peters Continues to Lead USEF Selection Trial for Dressage; Gibson and
Harding Remain Close in Intermediaire I Championship and Lyle Sweeps
Brentina Cup at the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
4047 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511-8483
Tel: (859) 258-2472
Fax (859) 231-6662
Web site: www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2008
By Joanie Morris
San Juan Capistrano, CA - There was no one busier than Steffen Peters at
the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions today and
he saved his best performance for last. Peters rode Ravel to another win
in the third leg of the USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Championship
(which also serves as the USEF Selection Trial for Dressage) with a
score of 75.25%. The 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding continues to
impress everyone on hand at The Oaks Blenheim facility. In a test
highlighted by powerful passage, fluid changes and excellent
transitions, Ravel continued to show class beyond his years.
"Again I'm very, very happy with Ravel," said Peters. "Every single
second there was relaxation and suppleness. It went so well I just
trusted him a little too much in that last piaffe, but I'm just beside
Owned by Aikiko Yamazaki, Ravel has been undefeated in 2008 and doesn't
look to be in danger of breaking his streak. Peters will ride a new
freestyle tomorrow with Ravel, he hopes that his winning roll will
"He's just there where I want him for tomorrow," said Peters. "He was
very relaxed today and this is the first time I will try the new
freestyle at a show. I've tried it many times at home of course. But
this will be the very first time at a show."
Peters felt the pressure for the first time throughout this
championship, as Courtney King-Dye and Harmony's Mythilus put in their
best performance yet to slip right behind Peters on a score of 75.20%.
The New Milford, CT rider held nothing back and the 14-year-old Dutch
Warmblood gelding delivered.
"Myth was a little tired, sleepy tired, this morning," said King-Dye.
"The heart that horse has, I had tears coming down my face after the
test and then when they announced the score. Myth just has a heart of
gold. He pushes through anything that he's feeling, he wants to be so
good. I stayed on course and was able to get a good score."
Owned by Harmony's Amateur Sport Foundation, Harmony's Mythilus'
dynamite performance seems to continue to improve.
"I guessed that this week would be better than last week," said
King-Dye. "Last week I was a little conservative. I couldn't let his
neck out and trust that I could go for it in the extensions. Today I
could and I could go for it more and trust that I was not in the
passenger's seat but in the driver's seat."
Peters said that this was the first time ever that two American horses
had scored 75% or better in a Grand Prix.
Debbie McDonald and veteran Brentina proved that they are as
consistently brilliant as always. The 17-year-old mare owned by Peggy
and Parry Thomas delivered another stellar effort for a score of 73.042%
to finish third by a wide margin. McDonald had a couple small mistakes
in the test which she took responsibility for.
"I think the piaffe passage tour was great," said McDonald. "I made
mistakes personally myself where I shouldn't have. So I'm a little mad
at myself but I couldn't be happier with her. She feels so fit and so
clear. Its just amazing."
Tomorrow's Freestyle Test counts for 10% of the final score and Ravel
leads Brentina and Mythilus in the overall standings.
Two horses were withdrawn before the start of today's competition.
Michael Barisone withdrew Neruda from the remainder of the USEF
Selection Trials for Dressage upon the recommendation of the USEF
Dressage Veterinary panel. He will still be considered in the selection
process and will be ranked according to the selection procedures based
on the average of his qualifying scores in the Grand Prix and the
McDonald has withdrawn her second mount Felix from the remainder of the
USEF Selection Process due to a minor injury and therefore will not be
participating in the remainder of the USEF Selection Trials for
Gibson and Harding Continue Close Contest in the Collecting Gaits
Farm/USEF National Intermediaire Dressage Championship
The top three placings did not change in the USEF National Intermediaire
I Dressage Championship. Michelle Gibson continued to demonstrate the
strength of the developing side of the U.S dressage program by
reinforcing her lead with Don Angelo with an impressive test and a score
"I really rode what I felt was there," said Gibson. "He felt a little
tired in the warm up and he came in the ring and had a little more
energy. I was really happy how he responded to the crowd, gives him a
The Wellington, FL pair have a sparkling resume including the 2007 USEF
National Developing Horse Dressage Championship for 7-9 year olds. The
now 8-year-old Oldenburg stallion showed maturity beyond his years
through out the test today and stayed ahead of his arch rival (and
reserve champion in the Developing Horse Championship last year): Come
"I can always take a little risk in the canter. In the canter extension,
9 times out of 10 I'm going for it," said Gibson.
Come On III, ridden by Shawna Harding, is more experienced than the
lightly shown Don Angelo having won 10 classes in Florida this winter.
He is incredibly consistent and Harding and Gibson are very good friends
and help each other regularly, despite the fact that they are fierce
"You're on your own when you are in the ring," said Shawna. "But it is
fantastic support, Michelle helps me out, gives me tips."
Harding and Come On III made a mistake in yesterday's test that Harding
thinks cost her the lead. She still doesn't have her halt and rein back
as good as she knows it can be.
"The halt rein back wasn't as solid as it can be," said Harding about
today's test. "He took six steps back instead of five. That might have
been some rider error too as I was thinking about yesterday. His trot
work was ultra-solid. His canter pirouettes are improving every time he
goes in the ring. But the mistakes can happen, whoever is better on the
day is going to walk away with it.
Come On III's effort earned him a score 71.0% and Harding can always
count on him to try his hardest.
"He's got a heart as big as his head," said Harding who made the trip
from Aiken, SC. "He doesn't have a mean bone in his body, and he has a
lot of personality. He does try very hard. He loves an audience and an
atmosphere. He's a really kind, nice horse."
Peters got his day off to a successful start, with another third place
finish in the Intermediaire I test with Montango. The energetic
14-year-old Dutch Warmblood was far more settled in the arena at The
Oaks Blenheim facility today.
"Today was much better," said Peters. "I was very, very happy with the
fact that I could ride him with more expression. He was a lot more
supple. It was fun today, yesterday was a lot of negotiation and a lot
of hard work."
Peters was pleased with Montango's level of maturity. He came into the
Championship ranked first in the nation, but after being disappointed
with Friday's effort, Peters changed his warm-up plan and found that it
"It was definitely one of his best Intermediaire I tests so far," said
Peters. "I worked him this morning at 6.30 this morning and we had a
good 35-40 minute workout. Then I was back on for another 15 minutes
before the class. That actually worked quite good. It was as good as I
can expect from this horse at this moment."
The USEF National Intermediaire I Dressage Championship continues
tomorrow with the freestyle which counts for 25% of the final score.
Lyle Best in Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Young Adult "Brentina
Cup" Dressage Championship
The USEF National Young Adult "Brentina Cup" Dressage Championship
started the day off and yesterday's winner Adrienne Lyle rode Wizard
into the ring to start the division. The 23-year-old from Ketchum, ID
rode another stellar effort on the 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding to take
the early lead with a score of 68.683% and never looked back. Averaged
with yesterday's score from the USEF Brentina Cup Test, Lyle and Wizard
finished with a two-day average of 68.265% ensuring a clear win in the
"I try not think about the pressure that much," said Lyle after sweeping
the class. "You try to go in and put in the best ride on that day. The
other competitors have all been really great. Riding next to the
Olympians has been really exciting."
Owned by Peggy Thomas of River Grove Farm, Wizard has been making a
prolific rise through the ranks. Peggy and Parry Thomas are also the
owners of the class's namesake, the legendary Brentina, who has been a
cornerstone of the U.S. international dressage program for five years.
Lyle works for the Thomas family and Debbie McDonald (Brentina's rider)
at their Idaho farm.
"Like with any owners you want to perform your best for them," said
Lyle. "But they understand that I've never competed at this level and
the horse has never competed at this level. Its amazing and watching
Debbie and Brentina - it is my dream to ride like her. I aspire to be
like her some day so I hope this is a little stepping stone."
Lyle originally went to spend the summer in her parents ski house with
the hope of getting some lessons from McDonald, she ended up spending
the summer as a working student. She went back to school for one more
semester and then the Thomas family offered her a job.
"When they offered me a job and I jumped at the opportunity," said Lyle.
"I always wanted to be a trainer. Debbie's so great, there is no
pressure with her. She says to go out there and get it and have fun. We
have a very open dialogue, we spend so much time together she's kind of
like my second mom."
McDonald is lying second in the USEF Selection Trial for Dressage and
the USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Championship but if she gets a
ticket to Europe (and then to Hong Kong) this summer, Lyle will have to
follow her success from afar.
"I'll probably have to stay behind," said McDonald. "We've got a barn
full of young horses."
Second to Lyle was Kelly Casey, a California rider, had another good
test with Luzifer to finish on a score of 63.805% for today's test
ensuring she was not only second on the day but the reserve champion
overall with a two-day score of 64.338%.
Luzifer, a 14-year-old Austrian Warmblood owned by Carla Hayes has
tremendous presence in the arena and Casey knew it would come down to
her and Lyle.
"I'm thrilled," said Lyle. "We've battled it out all year. She's got a
super horse and a super rider. My horse was great. I'm really lucky."
Twenty-three year old Casey thinks that the Brentina Cup program is a
great way to not only build her resume but also hopes it will help her
"I hope to go on and do some large tour stuff," said Casey. "I'm trying
to build my business. I hope that this get me more noticed in my area
and that more horses like Luzifer come my way."
Casey has had Luzifer for under a year, but has developed a great
relationship with the horse.
"I have personal goals," said Casey. "His owner is really good about
having me set goals. I had two clean rides. I tried not to have any
The Brentina Cup is designed to bridge the gap for riders aged 20-25
from Young Riders to the Grand Prix level. It is difficult to qualify
for the Championship but Casey feels like it needs to grow within the
bounds of the riders.
"A smaller class with really competitive horses and riders is better
than a bigger class with less quality," said Casey. "Hopefully if can
get the word out and get people really excited about the program we can
keep it going and get it growing."
For complete results and tickets please see:
. For more information,
please contact Joanie Morris at: email@example.com.
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation(r) is to provide
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
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