Steffen Peters (USA) is on his way to a clean sweep of CDIW action, taking another victory in the desert Friday afternoon to open international competition at Desert Dressage IV. Aboard Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm’s Suppenkasper, the Olympian rode to a score of 75.609% in the Four Winds Farm FEI World Cup Grand Prix, setting himself up well for Saturday’s FEI World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle.

Peters has had an incredible career filled with highlights, including 51 wins out of 72 total FEI appearances on this horse, but those highlights mean nothing to him in comparison to the joy his horse brings him. “The highlight to me is that he just goes in there and he does it every time,” he said of Suppenkasper. “I don’t have to push him. He was a little bit more energetic in this arena tonight than compared to the shows before, so I had a little bit more of his entire 1700 pounds that I had to control. But it was a wonderful, clean test. Hopefully we can do this once more tomorrow for the World Cup.”

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper. Photo by Terri Miller

The relationship with “Mopsie” has been a long and decorated one, yet the horse still surprises Peters regularly. “He was so full of energy tonight. And at 15 years old, it’s so incredible to have never really had to push this horse once in the show arena. And I’d just feel very, very grateful and honored to ride a horse like this,” Peters continued.

While it may seem Peters has very little to improve as a master of the sport, he has been working on polishing his art in every way possible.

“Over the years, I’ve always been very good about taking care of my body, but I didn’t take very good care of my mind,” he elaborated. “That has improved drastically in the last four years. And it is a really interesting journey. The biggest lesson was that if I do my very best to train Mopsie and do my very best to prepare Mopsie for the show, then no matter what, I have to be okay with the outcome. And if my very best is now not the best each day, that is perfectly fine. I can only do my best and I’m very happy that I finally learned this.

“I always like to quote my friend Monty Roberts,” Peters shared. “It’s so important that we have fun as riders, but much, much more important that the horses have fun. And I really felt like Mopsie had fun tonight.”

Anna Buffini (USA) and FRH Davinia La Douce took second place honors with a score of 70.478%, while Claire Darnell and Harrold S took third with a score of 67.683%.

Amy Miller and Encore. Photo by Terri Miller

Amy Miller (USA) took a major win earlier Friday in the It’s A Good Life Podcast CDI3* FEI Grand Prix aboard her 12-year-old Encore. Her score of 67.305% was a new personal best, securing her the win.

“I bought him as a 2-year-old and we’ve gone the whole way together,” Miller remarked. “It’s crazy how fast it goes. He’s still the same, he’s still just my bug. That part is really neat, but it’s been amazing to see just how he continues to get stronger and continues to give me more and more of himself.”

“He’s a goof,” she said of Encore. “He will take his own boots off when you put him in turnout. When he’s ready for supplements he’ll rub his black rubber bin on the bars of the stall to help you understand it’s time for food. He gives you every last thing he has and that’s what makes him fun. He has a favorite itching spot and he’ll turn around and touch it with his nose. He’ll try it with everyone new to teach them.”

“It’s unbeatable,” Miller said of the international experience at DIHP. “To be able to have something local of this quality is amazing. I came in December and we came back and essentially felt we could implement our homework. Being able to be in a ring that has a big championship feel is great. It’s a good amount of activity at the showgrounds so the horses get that kind of exposure. I’m so appreciative of the consistency and the quality of the venue.”

Desert Dressage continues Saturday with the EurEquine Stallions FEI World Cup Freestyle.