Desert Dressage II, presented by Adequan®, got underway Friday, November 18, at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) as part of the Desert Dressage series, presented by the Brad & Kathy Coors Family. The first of three CDI World Cup Qualifying events, Desert Dressage II welcomed notable competitors, both new and returning, to the Grand Prix Arena at DIHP.

Five-time Olympian Steffen Peters (USA) found himself back in the winner’s circle in the Four Winds Farm FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix aboard Suppenkasper, the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Spielberg x Ips Krack C) owned by Four Winds Farm. The pair, who took their talents to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, sealed the deal and won the class with a score of 73.652%.

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper. Photo by Terri Miller

Just behind in second place was Anna Buffini (USA) and FRH Davinia La Douce with a score of 70.739%, and Charlotte Jorst (USA) and Kastel’s Nintendo took third with a score of 70.370%.

“He’s such a kind soul,” Peters said of his partner. “He is a big teddy bear in the stall. He follows you; you don’t have to put a halter on. On the flipside, he still gets very excited at a horse show. After all those years of showing him, I’ve never had one test where I had to push him. He offers so much. Inf act today, he offered so much he thought he was in the Grand Prix Special and added a few one tempis on the center line, which cost us at least two percent today. He tried to do the right thing and I cannot hold it against him.”

The last time Peters came out with Suppenkasper was in Denmark for the FEI World Championships this past summer. “Today I actually had a nicer feeling. He was better in the bridle, he had a bit more energy, and I think it could have been a better score than in Denmark, but unfortunately the fumble on the center line didn’t help. But overall the feeling was great today and that is a nice feeling to start the show season with,” he continued.

FEI World Cup™ Finals sit at the horizon as a goal for Peters to reach this year. “It’s not going to be easy this year,” he reflected on that goal. “We’re looking at three CDIs and hopefully we can top the leaderboard on the West Coast and get a spot for Omaha.”

ULtimately, the level of dressage events on the West Coast makes the lifestyle easier for Peters, of San Diego. “It’s fantastic what Thomas Baur is doing and how unbelievably generous the sponsors are for supporting these shows,” he said. “It’s a great turnout here, it’s a wonderful venue, and the weather is always consistent. Personally, I like the footing even better than in Wellington. And it’s only three hours away from home, so we bring our RV here and camp at the show. It’s a really great place to compete.”

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper. Photo by Terri Miller

Earlier Friday, Pia Virginia Fortmuller’s luck continued after a strong performance in October in the desert, as she took top honors in the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix, sponsored by It’s A Good Life Podcast. Aboard the 11-year-old gelding Kartsevo Goldfinch (Jazz x Lingh), the Canadian rode to a score of 66.562%.

Pia Fortmuller and Kartsevo Goldfinch. Photo by Terri Miller

Desert Dressage II continues Saturday with the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Special and FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle.

See full results from Desert Dressage I here.