Steffen Peters wins despite tempi changes and bunchy underwear.

Steffen Peters (USA) threw his hands in the air as his winning score of 77.106% was announced in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI5*, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic. He was last to go in the class of 11 starters in the five-star week seven of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida. AGDF 2020 runs for 12 weeks, through March 29.

Peters’ score represented a new personal best in this test, and his delight with Suppenkasper, Four Winds Farm’s 12-year-old gelding, was evident as he punched the air. Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu rode All In to a new personal best score of 73.447% in this test to finish second, with Sabine Schut-Kery (USA) finishing third on Sanceo with 72.979%.

Despite a mistake in the middle of the one-time changes on the diagonal, this was the first time Peters had broken the 77% barrier and repays the faith he has had in this giant and extraordinarily athletic horse.

“He’s been at 76% for some time,” said a delighted Peters. “I knew there’s a 77% in there and we’re slowly and consistently creeping up, so without the mistake it would have been even higher. It’s so very exciting to see ‘Mopsie’ getting a 77%.

“It felt really good for him to still after four shows have this energy,” added Peters, who is based in California. “The horse has so much go, it’s incredible. I didn’t push him for one single extension; in fact I was still holding back a little bit.”

The test was fault-free apart from a blip in the middle of the diagonal of one-time changes.

“He’s done six tests without a mistake, so today he was allowed one and I’m not sure it was his mistake, there is always the rider involved too. To be honest, I just did not feel comfortable with the way my underwear was sitting so when I came in, that’s what I was thinking about. Thank god it didn’t cause me more trouble than just a missed one-tempi.”

Both Peters and Schut-Kery have been training with Debbie McDonald while in Wellington, and the legendary trainer identified what went wrong for Peters in the flying changes right away.

“Debbie said she thought that before the one-tempis I rode him just a little too forward on the short side to get a bit more energy and ride the one-tempis with risk,” explained Peters, who was on the bronze-medal winning USA team at the Rio Olympics in 2016. “She’s absolutely right that I didn’t need to do that.”

Fraser-Beaulieu, who had her first child eight months ago, stormed to a new personal best on her own 15-year-old All In, a son of Tango. That was despite breaking to canter in two extended trot movements.

“I was very excited about how All In felt today,” she said. “I had a very short warm-up, just 15 minutes — which was maybe a little bit too short — but he came out feeling better than ever and I thought the passage was pretty incredible today. Both extensions were completely my fault; I pushed him too much because I was trying to beat Steffen! So that was totally rider error, but to come out and have two 73% scores this week — personal bests on both days — that’s very exciting leading up to Tokyo.”

Schut-Kery had a tricky start to her test on Alice Womble’s 14-year-old San Remo stallion Sanceo, which saw the pair trending below 70% for the first portion of the test.

“He was definitely hot, I could feel it in the warm-up, but then there was no more time so you have to just get going,” she said. “But, as a rider, I’m almost more happy because it’s amazing if you can turn it around in the test and I felt like I had a really nice canter tour from him. He recovered and I was able to carry that into my final piaffe and passage on the centerline. I also have to remember that he really hasn’t done that many grands prix, so I am all smiles.”

Ashley Holzer (USA) recaptured the top step of the podium in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Wellington Agricultural Services. She finished third in Thursday’s qualifying grand prix, but was back on winning form today, riding Mango Eastwood to 71.979% and a unanimous first place from all five judges.

“It was so fun,” said the four-time Olympian, who used to ride for Canada and still trains most of the Canadian senior team riders. “Mango is an amazing horse and I’m very lucky to have such a great horse.”

Holzer only began competing at big tour with Diane Fellows’ 11-year-old KWPN, by the Jazz son Wynton, last month and has won three of their four starts at AGDF. The gelding was formerly competed in the young horse divisions by Spain’s Jordi Domingo Coll but has been out of the international ring for four years. Holzer, who is 56, has been riding him for two years.

Of the 12 starters, it was fellow USA rider Michael Pineo who got closest to Holzer. He recorded 68.617% on his own 10-year-old Farrington, another horse to carry Jazz blood, being a direct son. Farrington began his international grand prix career in AGDF in 2019; this was his highest score at the level to date and included a plus-70% from judge Peter Storr. Megan Lane (CAN) and Zodiac MW finished third with 66.787%.

Katie Johnson (USA) climbed a place from the qualifying Prix St. Georges class to claim the winner’s sash in the FEI Intermediate I CDI1*, presented by CabanaCoast. Riding Kylee Lourie’s Quaterback gelding Quartett, she posted 69.265%. The 12-year-old is a new ride for Johnson and this is their first CDI show together and their first victory. She fended off 11 other competitors, including her compatriot, the PSG winner Günter Seidel, who finished second by 0.39% on Beltano, and third-placed Diane Creech (CAN) who scored 68.726% on Robbie W.

Week seven of the 12-week AGDF concludes on Sunday with six international classes, including young horses, amateur classes and under-25 competition, as well as the FEI Intermediate II CDI3* and the culmination of the small tour contests, the FEI Intermediate Freestyle CDI3*. AGDF 2020 runs for 12 weeks, through March 29. For more information and results, visit

FEI Grand Prix Special CDI5*, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic

1. Steffen Peters (USA) on Suppenkasper, Four Winds Farm’s 12yo KWPN gelding by Spielberg: 77.021, 76.17, 77.234, 77.34, 77.766, 77.106

2. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu (CAN) on All In, her own 15yo KWPN gelding by Tango: 73.298, 73.83, 73.298, 73.617, 73.191, 73.447

3. Sabine Schut-Kery (USA) on Sanceo, Alice Womble’s 14yo Hanoverian stallion by San Remo: 73.191, 73.298, 73.298, 73.83, 71.277, 72.979

4. Charlotte Jorst (USA) on Kastel’s Nintendo, Kastel Denmark’s 17yo KWPN stallion by Negro: 72.34, 72.872, 74.043, 72.447, 72.34, 72.808

5. Adrienne Lyle (USA) on Harmony’s Duval, Duval Partners LLC’s 12yo Danish Warmblood gelding by Rousseau: 74.574, 70.957, 71.064, 70.957, 74.468, 72.404

6. Naima Moreira Laliberte (CAN) on Statesman, KML S.A.R.L’s 13yo Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit: 71.596, 72.128, 71.596, 72.34, 70.745, 71.681

7. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard (DEN) on Blue Hors Zatchmo, her own & Blue Hors’ 11yo Oldenburg stallion by Zack: 68.085, 70.426, 71.702, 71.064, 67.979, 69.851

8. Heather Blitz (USA) on Semper Fidelis, Rowan O’Riley’s 14yo Oldenburg mare by Sir Donnerhall: 69.894, 70.532, 68.723, 71.489, 66.915, 69.511

9. Jaimey Irwin (CAN) on Donegal V, Team Irwin Supporters’ Group’s 12yo Danish Warmblood gelding by Johnson: 66.383, 70.106, 66.383, 65.319, 65.106, 66.659

10. Joanne Vaughan (GEO) on Elmegardens Marquis, her own 21yo Danish Warmblood gelding by Michellino: 63.936, 64.681, 64.681, 65.851, 64.468, 64.723

FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Wellington Agricultural Services

1. Ashley Holzer (USA) on Mango Eastwood, Diane Fellows’ 11yo KWPN gelding by Wynton: 72.447, 72.234, 71.702, 71.17, 72.34, 71.979

2. Michael Pineo (USA) on Farrington, his own 10yo KWPN gelding by Jazz: 67.234, 69.043, 67.872, 68.298, 70.638, 68.617

3. Megan Lane (CAN) on Zodiac MW, Deer Ridge Equestrian’s 16yo KWPN gelding by Rousseau: 66.17, 66.915, 65.106, 67.553, 68.191, 66.787

4. Susan Dutta (USA) on Don Design DC, her own 10yo Hanoverian gelding by Der Designer: 64.362, 68.085, 65.319, 67.872, 66.702, 66.468

5. Evi Strasser (CAN) on Disney Tyme, her own 12yo Oldenburg gelding by Diamond Hit: 66.383, 64.894, 65.426, 64.787, 63.404, 64.979

6. Denielle Gallagher-Legriffon (CAN) on Wilson Pickett, her own 15yo Hanoverian gelding by Wolkentanz: 66.617, 65.34, 64.596, 62.681, 64.383, 64.723

7. Jill Irving (CAN) on Arthur, her own 15yo KWPN gelding by Jazz: 64.064, 66.723, 64.596, 64.383, 62.468, 64.447

8. Patricia Ferrando (VEN) on Elvis, her own 11yo Danish Warmblood gelding by Rousseau: 63.511, 65, 64.787, 64.468, 64.043, 64.362

9. Kiichi Harada (JPN) on Fairytale S, Noa Co Ltd’s 16yo AES gelding by Reve D’Or: 63.404, 63.191, 67.34, 63.085, 63.936, 64.191

10. Liz Steacie (CAN) on Callahan, her own 15yo Hanoverian gelding by Cordoba: 63.511, 63.191, 62.234, 62.66, 63.298, 62.979