Friday, April 17, 2009

High-Tech Plastic Glue Shoes Carry American Horse to Historic Win at Dressage World Cup

by Fran Jurga | 16 April 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

UPDATE: Steffen Peters' freestyle score on Saturday night was high enough to put him over the top and declare the USA winner of the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup in Dressage in Las Vegas. This is the first-ever non-European victory in the World Cup. Peters bested Germany's Isabel Werth on Satchmo by only .45 points; Dutch defending World Cup champion Anky Van Grunsven on IPS Painted Black--her #2 horse--was third.

The following story was written on Thursday night when Peters and Ravel won the Grand Prix, the first event in the World Cup competition. That was a shock in itself; this overall victory is astounding.

Two important bits of horse history were made and celebrated in the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada today: First of all, an American horse and rider combination won the Rolex FEI World Cup Final Grand Prix, first leg of the Dressage World Cup Finals.

This is akin to an American soccer team winning in the FIFA World Cup! Steffen Peters and the black Dutch gelding Ravel bested second place rider (and defending World Cup champion) Anky Van Grunsven of The Netherlands by 3.8 points in a sport that is usually decided by decimals--and has never been won by an American!

But the Hoofcare and Lameness community will want to know that this was more than a sporting victory: it was a technological victory, as the San Diego-based duo did it the new-fangled way. Ravel has now won 11 shows in a row in the USA and finished fourth in the 2008 Olympics wearing glued EponaShoes on his front feet. Ravel is shod by Stephan Tournier of Fallbrook, California.

It was a great night for innovators in the hoof technology world.

I spoke with John Craig of Eponashoes tonight, who said that he and his wife, Monique, are thrilled for Steffen and Ravel; they are also the developers of Metron software for quantitative hoof measurement analysis. John said that the shoes are held on by glue and a couple of nails, as well, in the case of this large warmblood. Ravel is owned by Akiko Yamazaki of California.

The World Cup will be decided on Saturday night when the top horses from today's Grand Prix compete in the musical freestyle. Stay tuned: a lot can happen, but Steffen has a solid lead.

Top photo of Ravel links to, the social networking site of the US Equestrian Team. Thanks to Joanie Morris and John Craig for information used in this post.

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