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White-O’Connor, Legolas 92 pair up for fi rst Grand Prix victories at Dressage Aff aire CDI3*

from releases S

AN JUAN CAPISTRANO -- Since 2012, Legolas 92 and U.S. Team rider Steff en Peters traveled the world together and

have a multitude of titles to their credit, including a Team Bronze Medal from last summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. But in January, Four Winds Farm’s

Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Fuerstin by Florestan II) entered a whole new chapter in his career as Peters handed over the reins to 27-year-old former working student Dawn White-O’Connor, and the promising pair wasted no time get ing top results as they claimed both the CDI Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special titles at Cornerstone Event Management’s Dressage Aff aire CDI3*/1*/ Y/J/U25/AM, held March 24-26 White-O’Connor’s weekend got off on the

right foot as she piloted Legolas to a hard- fought win over a fi eld of 12 competitors in Friday’s CDI Grand Prix with 73.780%. “I think it was the cleanest test with the

best feeling I’ve had with him so far,” White- O’Connor said. “There’s always plenty of room for improvement, but I was so happy.” The pair then returned to the main ring at

the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park with another solid performance in the Grand Prix Special, topping the leaderboard with 73.706% in their inaugural outing in this notoriously-challenging test. “The hardest part of doing the Special

with him is having the changes start from the opposite lead, so having the off day in between to be able to school the two’s off the right and the one’s off the leſt really worked well with him,” she added. White-O’Connor isn’t so naïve as to think

that taking over the ride on an accomplished international Grand Prix mount like Legolas won’t come with a certain degree of expec- tation—she just doesn’t let the pressure aff ect her. “Of course there’s an expecta- tion because of how the horse has scored in the past, but Steff en [Peters] and Akiko [Yamazaki] are so supportive and they don’t put any pressure on me, so that makes it a lot easier to have that encouragement,” she explained. “It’s always a challenge to get used to a new horse, but luckily Steff en knows him so well that his assistance is invaluable.

Legolas is a sensitive horse, but since we’re still in the same program Steff en has always had with him, that consistency helps a lot too. So now we’ll go to Del Mar at the end of April and then we’ll see what happens from there.”

Despite the fact that White-O’Connor

and Legolas have only been together a short time, their obvious chemistry also impressed the judges. “She rode that horse masterfully,” said

judge Sarah Geikie (4* USA). “Her position and manner on the horse are impecca- ble, and you can see Steff en’s infl uence coming through. It looks like Legolas really likes her and they seem to have a great harmony together, and it was very exciting to see what a great partner- ship they’re forging with each other.” Charlot e Jorst

“I’m so excited he fi nally got to win with

it,” Jorst said. “He was on fi re today! It was such a great ride and Akeem keeps on get- ting bet er and bet er. Instead of get ing tense like he used to, he’s gaining so much confi dence and really loving going in the ring. It makes it so much fun for both of us. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in such a short time.” Just a mat er of days before he canters

down centerline at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Omaha, Neb. with new star Rosamunde, Steff en Peters enjoyed a winning weekend in the small tour at the Dressage Aff aire with Four Winds Farm’s nine-year-old Oldenburg Bailarino (Breitling W x Schila by De Niro). The fl ashy chestnut

White-O’Connor and Legolas 92

Charlot e Jorst

may have been the bridesmaid behind White-O’Connor in the Grand Prix and Special as she had to set le for second place with Kastel’s Nintendo (Dutch Warmblood stallion, Negro x Rodieni R by Monaco) in both tests with 71.600% and 73.392%, respec- tively. But in her favorite division, the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle, Jorst came out on top with her Danish gelding Kastel’s Akeem Foldager (Akinos x Lobelia Foldager by Loran) on the strength of a score of 74.750% for her “Time To Say Goodbye” freestyle which she utilized for last year’s World Cup Final performance in Gothenburg, Sweden with Nintendo, but in fact was originally choreographed for Akeem Foldager.

Tiff any Mahoney

Steff en Peters

gelding impressed the judges in the CDI Prix St. Georges test for a winning score of 73.526% over Nicholia Clarke and Quincy (Oldenburg gelding Quaterback x Breanna by Brentano II, owned by Jennifer Mason) with 71.500%, and then repeated their victorious performance in Saturday’s Intermediaire I class to win with 73.500%. “This was a highly competitive division

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Terri Miller photo Terri Miller photo

Terri Miller photo Terri Miller photo

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