Steffen Peters (USA) surprised no one as he and Suppenkasper took the win in Saturday’s FEI Dressage World Cup™️ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by EurEquine Stallions, at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP). Performing the same Freestyle he debuted in Tokyo just last summer, Peters was awarded a score of 82.020% for the win.

“[This was] definitely one of his better freestyles,” Peters, of San Diego, CA, said of “Mopsie’s” performance. “It was nice to see all judges’ scores over 80%; that certainly is exciting and that’s what I was hoping for to start the World Cup season with. It’s amazing; I still don’t have to push Mopsie for a single movement. He still wants to go, wants to do it, feels very elastic and energetic and. Even though it’s been many years I still feel very honored to ride a horse like Mopsie.”

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper. Photo by Terri Miller

Suppenkasper, owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm, seems to be as familiar with the Freestyle routine as Peters is, anticipating the movements in the best way. “It was interesting; towards the end of the freestyle, since I’m doing a bunch of trot extensions, he felt as if he knew the music. I had to wait a little for the extended trot at the end. He knew exactly where he needed to go to the extension. Even at the end the piaffe/passage felt very energetic,” Peters said of his mount.

Peters is a well-known name among equestrians, but he burst onto the mainstream scene after his Freestyle at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Suppenkasper was dubbed the “Rave Horse” after social media caught on to Peters’ and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood’s impeccable timing to the beat of club anthems including “What Is Love” and “Calabria.”

“It’s pretty simple. I always thought when you play some music at parties, there are certain songs that get most people on the dance floor,” Peters explained of his music choice. “I feel like those are songs that would do it. I appreciate the emotional freestyles a lot, but to me the freestyle is always a big party. I think the music is reflecting that.”

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper. Photo by Terri Miller

Peters did precisely what he set out to do during Desert Dressage II, believing that qualifying for FEI World Cup™️ Finals may require three victories this season. He’s got one under his belt, and now he eyes the remaining CDI World Cup Qualifying events at DIHP, set for December and January.

“We just have to do exactly that another two times,” he put simply. “We can’t forget Mopsie is 14 years old so it’s a very fine juggle between soundness and fitness. It’s not a horse I need to school the movements with a lot. We’ll be super careful with him and hopefully we’ll get the same [result] in December and January.”

Anna Buffini (USA) and FRH Davinia La Douce. Photo by Terri Miller

Second place in the FEI Dressage World Cup™️ Grand Prix Freestyle was Anna Buffini (USA) with FRH Davinia La Douce. The pair achieved their new personal best with a score of 77.500%. Charlotte Jorst (USA) claimed third aboard Kastel’s Nintendo with a score of 74.110%.

Pia Virginia Fortmuller and Kartsevo Goldfinch. Photo by Terri Miller

Earlier Saturday, Pia Virginia Fortmuller rose to the top again in the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Special, presented by the Beverly Gepfer and Kirk Martens Foundation, aboard Kartsevo Goldfinch with a score of 65.383%.

Desert Dressage II, presented by Adequan®, concludes Sunday with the CDI Equifit U25 Grand Prix.

See full results from Desert Dressage II here.