As 2016 Olympic Games qualifying kicks into high gear, the West Coast will see its largest field of international Grand Prix competitors of the year to date as 17 horse/rider combinations square off during this week’s California Dreaming Productions’ Dressage Affaire being held March 10-13 at the Del Mar Horse Park. As the competition heats up, once again dressage fans from around the world will be able to keep up with all of the action via California Dreaming Productions’ live streaming video service, CDP Live, including the return of expert commentary by FEI 5* judge Axel Steiner (who we met briefly last year at our Backstage at the Riding Park event in San Juan Capistrano.) This is the best opportunity for Orange County enthusiasts to see our top local dressage Olympians before they head to Rio for the Olympics at the end of summer.
Currently ranked as the #6 dressage rider in the world, Olympian Steffen Peters of San Diego looks to further cement his position as a member of this year’s U.S. Team for Rio de Janeiro as he brings his veteran partner Legolas 92 to Del Mar for the CDI Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle. But in order to return to the winner’s circle, Peters will have to contend with the experience and talent of two fellow Olympians: Guenter Seidel with new star Zero Gravity, who punched his ticket to the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals with a big CDI-W freestyle win just two weeks ago; and Jan Ebeling, aboard the impressive Hanoverian stallion FRH Rassolini. Also joining the field will be former FEI World Equestrian Games bronze medalist Kathleen Raine presenting Zuperman for the gelding’s international competition debut, as well as Michelle Reilly with Umeeko and Anna Buffini aboard Sundayboy, who both scored CDI large tour victories during last month’s Mid-Winter Dressage CDI-W in Burbank.
This year’s Dressage Affaire CDI marks the return of the international portion of the show after a two-year absence, and organizer Glenda McElroy is excited to see the competition return to its elite status, now as part of the successful California Dreaming Productions (CDP) series of showcase dressage events. “As we looked to expand the CDP circuit this year, we were particularly interested in adding the Dressage Affaire for two reasons: one, we really wanted to revive this wonderful CDI; and secondly, we wanted to embrace this opportunity to grow into the Del Mar area because we have so much support from competitors there,” McElroy explained. “It’s been several years since I organized a show at the Del Mar Horse Park, and there have been a number of improvements made including enlargement of the covered arena. I’m excited to go back and we’re all looking forward to a wonderful show.”