Pictured left of Ravel: Team Peters, including veterinarian
Rodrigo Vazquez, and Shannon and Steffen Peters.
Pictured to the right: Ravel’s groom Rafael Hernandez talks with owner
Akiko Yamazaki and her daughter Miki and husband Jerry Yang.
Photo: Julie Blair Photography, www.julieblairphotography.com
Steffen Peters’ star dressage mount Ravel has excelled in many settings this past year. He won the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, of course, and repeated his success as champion at the Aachen CHIO in Germany during the summer.
On Nov. 5, Ravel reigned supreme on an all new stage, or at least one that looked totally different: the covered arena at Steffen and Shannon’s Arroyo Del Mar Stables. Elegantly dressed guests and elaborately decorated dinner tables transformed the space into a magical evening benefit for the Equestrian Aid Foundation.
“Honoring Ravel” was the evening’s theme and the handsome champion rewarded his guests with a personal appearance after video presentations. A highlight was The Road to Hong Kong, a video diary created as a gift by Jerry Yang for his wife Akiko Yamazaki’s 40th birthday. The film follows Ravel’s trials and triumphs with interviews and performance footage. After videos of his two World Cup tests, Ravel emerged from the wings to more roaring applause. “It is very special that he can be present himself,” said Yamazaki, who, with her husband, bought Ravel for Peters in 2006.
Dancing and merriment followed while funds for the EAF’s great cause were raised. Formed in 1996, the Equestrian AIDS Foundation was established to help HIV/AIDS victims. As broader needs became evident, the EAF changed its name to the Equestrian Aid Foundation and expanded its mission to offer financial assistance to anyone in the equestrian world suffering from life threatening illness, catastrophic accidents or injuries.
“We are fortunate to have such an organization as the Equestrian Aid Foundation,” Peters said. “It was wonderful to be a part of a night benefiting a great charity and honoring such an amazing horse.”
The event fit into what has been a whirlwind season for Peters. His international successes have increased his popularity throughout the world and one of the upshots is requests for clinics in New Zealand, Australia, throughout Europe and, in January, Mexico. As we went to press, Peters and his team were debating whether to defend their World Cup title at the 2010 Finals in s’-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands in late March. Doing so would mean extending their World Dressage Masters Florida stay this winter to get in the necessary two CDI-Ws. Biggest of all, this is a WEG year and that has long been Peters’ main focus for Ravel in 2010.
However the World Cup/WEG scenario pans out, Peters was set to take Ravel to the desert Nov 21-22 for the Dressage Getaway at Thermal. That’s the same venue where the CDI*** will be held on Valentine’s weekend next year, where “the road to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games begins.” According to Peters, Ravel is working even better than he was in Las Vegas and Aachen.