June 29th, 2013 -- U.S. dressage riders had top performances against stiff competition at the 2013 CHIO Aachen. Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 were the top U.S. pair in the CDIO5* Grand Prix Special with an eighth place finish. Caroline Roffman and Sagacious HF had an impressive showing in the CDI-U25 Grand Prix Freestyle claiming second place honors. In the CDI4* Small Tour Shelly Francis and Danilo were tenth in the Intermediaire I Test.
In the MEGGLE-Preis class, 30 CDIO5* horse-and-rider combinations performed the Grand Prix Special before a packed Deutsche Bank Stadium. Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) and Legolas 92 executed a lovely test demonstrating beautiful extended trot and half-passes and quality piaffe and passage movements. A mistake in the one tempis flying changes marred an otherwise excellent test. Peters and Four Winds Farm's 11-year-old-Westphalian gelding scored a 73.375% to finish in eighth place.
"After the Grand Prix the expectations were pretty high for the Grand Prix Special and Legolas started out with wonderful trot work," said Peters. "It was the first time we ever got an 8.5 for the trot extensions. Even at the walk he was very relaxed. The piaffe and passage too was wonderful. Unfortunately there were the mistakes in the one tempis but overall still a good score, he placed well, and we still have another chance tomorrow."
Tina Konyot (Palm City, Fla.) and Calecto V demonstrated their typical expressive style before the judges. The pair's flowing test only contained a mistake in the one tempi flying changes. She and her own 15-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion finished in 13th place with a score of 71.104%.
Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.) and Rafalca had a mistake-free test, receiving high marks against a star-studded field of competitors. Ann Romney, Amy Ebeling, and Beth Meyers' 16-year-old Oldenburg mare was in top form, earning a 70.417% for Ebeling to end up in 15th place.
Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempel's 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding Doktor had to execute their test in the rain but performed a solid test. The pair earned a 69.042% to finish in 22nd place.
Germany's Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW took top honors with a score of 80.667%. Anna Kasprzak of Denmark and Donnperignon finished in second with a 77.354%, while Isabell Werth of Germany and Don Johnson FRH were third with a 76.437%.
Caroline Roffman (Wellington, Fla.) and Sagacious HF performed a wonderful Grand Prix U25 Freestyle for the Preis der Liselott und Klaus Rheinberger Stiftung class. The pair did a daring compilation of movements timed well to their music, especially the piaffe and passage. With Hyperion Farm, Inc.'s 14-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding, Roffman executed two tempi flying changes around the corners and along the short side of the arena, as well as one-handed two tempi flying changes on the centerline. The pair was rewarded with a 76.275% to finish in second place.
"It was an amazing experience," commented Roffman of her time at the CHIO Aachen. "To be part of a team, have people supporting you, and showing you the ropes for hopeful future experiences on teams. People like Steffen, Tina, Jan, and Shelly with so much experience, and of course Robert [Dover, Chef d'Equipe] and Jenny [Van Wieren-Page, Managing Director of Dressage], sort of learning the ways from them. It has been an amazing experience, probably the most memorable horse show or horse-related experience I have."
Roffman was awarded a Dutta Corp. flight to train and compete in Europe and had an impressive showing at the prestigious European CDI.
She went on to thank the numerous people who helped her get to Aachen. "I mean I wouldn't be out here without Al Guden who of course owns Sagacious and gave me the privilege of riding him, my mom and my dad, my trainer Juan Matute, Robert Dover, Debbie McDonald who stood behind me on this. Tim Dutta helped me get here with the sponsorship of a flight. All the other people back home who are making all the other horses I am supposed to be riding still going and of course Sierra Keasler who has helped me and groomed for me. It has been a huge team effort. Thanks to Dr. Rick Mitchell and Julie Mitchell for keeping my horse healthy and happy and everyone. It takes so many people, it's a village."
Nanna Skodborg Merrald of Denmark and Millibar won the class with a score of 78.475%, while The Netherlands' Diederik Van Silfhout and Arlando were third with a 73.950%.
CDI4* Small Tour
In the WOTAX-Preis class, Francis rode the Intermediaire I Test with Danilo as part of the CDI4* Small Tour competition. The pair performed a smooth test with a nice reinback, extended trot, and half passes. She and Patricia Stempel's nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding scored a 68.974% to finish in tenth place.
Austria's Victoria Max-Theurer and Della Cavalleria OLD won the class with a score of 77.316%, Patrik Kittel of Sweden and Deja were second with a 75.263%, and Denmark's Andreas Helgstrand and Polka Hit Nexen scored a 74.447% for third.
Learn more about the dressage competition at CHIO Aachen here.
Follow the 2013 U.S. Dressage Team here.