Equestrian events haven’t exactly swept America by storm. If you listed sports by their popularity, equestrian would fall somewhere between badminton and table tennis. Most people don’t give it a chance because it seems boring. But if you went to an event, you would change your mind.
The Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage is being held in Las Vegas this week, and the greatest rider of them all, Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain, was on hand to dominate the field in the Dressage Grand Prix, as usual. Dujardin and her horse, Valegro, are the only duo in history to hold the titles in the Olympic, World, European and World Cup dressage championships simultaneously. At Thursday’s event, they easily outclassed the field, scoring an 85.41%. Second place went to Edward Gal of the Netherlands and his horse, Glock’s Undercover. Third place went to Steffen Peters of the United States and his horse, Legolas.
But the spectacle of the event was what left the lasting impression. Dressage is like figure skating, only on dirt and using horses instead of skates. When Dujardin and Valegro entered the arena, fans rose as one for an ovation, and rose again after they ended. The horse seemed to keep perfect beat to the music, which is a little depressing when you realize a horse has more musical rhythm than you do.
Afterward, Peters was thrilled with his third-place finish. “It was one of Legolas’ best tests of his career,” Peters said. “There were not too many movements where I said ‘I should have done this, or I should have done this better.' Everything worked out. He was brilliant and very relaxed, and I could not be happier.”
Peters is always proud to represent the U.S. at international competitions such as this one. “You know I have been in four Olympics, four World Cups, but when you get a chance to represent your country on American soil, it is always extremely special. It is so hard to describe the feeling when you get done and have 12,000 people cheering for you. That is almost impossible to put into words.”
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