It is fitting of the American dream that the best rider in the US today was not born in American. In fact, Peter’s has only been a citizen in the United States since 1992. He has been in America since 1985 though and says that he loves it here, which is wonderful because we all love him! He and his wife Shannon (who also rides and competes at the top level as well) have a barn out in San Diego California where they are busy training amazing horses and amazing riders to do amazing things.
What is really so special about Peter’s is the fact that he is so well liked. Courtney Dye and Debbie McDonald both worked with him getting ready for the Olympics in 2008. Even this time around there have been humorous Facebook posts about Steffen running a “boot camp” where all the riders work out together. It is not often that a top rider can earn the respect of everyone around them, but it is something that Peter’s is able to do. In fact, I can’t think of any other rider who is at Grand Prix today who is as well liked!
It is not common for someone who has been in the horse industry for as long as he has to have such a good reputation. I have heard many stories about someone not being fair to him and in every story I have ever heard Peter’s has always taken the high road. Peter’s, who is not even 50 years old, has had an amazing career, including winning three national dressage championships in a row…on three different horses! In fact, if memory serves (which is might not) Peter’s has tied Robert Dover’s all time record of number of national championships won. Imagine how hard it must be to train and ride one horse at the Grand Prix level, but to think about having three different mounts in 3 consecutive years, that takes something special. He won it this year on his back up horse, choosing to give Ravel some well deserved rest before the Olympics.
When Steffen Peter’s starting riding Ravel in the Grand Prix the horse was only 9 years old, just barely old enough to compete at that level. The pair have been showing Grand Prix since 2008 and seem to get better every single time they go out. Not only have they already been to the Olympics as a pair, but they won all three tests at Aachen in 2009, the first for an American. They also won the Dressage Masters in 2009 year beating out Isabell Weth and Anky Van Grunsven. As Ravel has gotten older he has only gotten stronger and better. If you watch his videos from early 2008 and compare them to the pair at the world cup from Vegas last year you will see the change in Ravel’s gait from big to that of a super pony.
Steffen Peters is the top dressage rider in the country at the moment. Since the 2008 Olympics he has gone from the status of a great to a true legend. He will be remembered 50 years from now as one of the best dressage riders that America has ever had. I have watched him give clinics and work with students and I have to say, he is also a wonderful teachers, which is rare for such a great rider. I have nothing but good things to say about this dressage superstar. I can’t wait to see him ride in the Olympics. I feel that he is Team USA’s only chance to break an 80% at the games this year. If we manage to pull out a team medal I can guarantee you that it is because of Steffen Peters!