The Del Mar Evening of Musical Freestyles showcases many of the brightest stars in the sport of dressage, and you needn’t be an expert to appreciate the elegance and athleticism demonstrated by these current, past and hopeful champions.
With a format, similar to figure skating or gymnastic, floor exercises, Musical Freestyles are intricately planned competitions to music. Specific movements must be demonstrated, but sequence and the inclusion of elements with added degrees of difficulty is left up to the riders and coaches. Music is chosen to highlight the personality of the individual pairs. Communication between horse and rider is almost imperceptible as they execute an amazing representation of both art and sport.
Riders to Watch:
Steffen Peters, Jan Ebeling & Guenter Seidel
Here to defend his victory in last year’s CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle will be local favorite and four-time Olympian, Steffen Peters (San Diego, CA). One of the most decorated of all American Dressage riders, Peters boasts three Olympic Bronze Medals; four Pan American Gold Medals; and five top-five finishes out of four appearances at the World Equestrian Games. He has represented the US at five World Cup Finals and was champion in 2009. Other riders competing this year, who have represented American in Olympic and World Cup competition include 2015 Del Mar Champion Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, CA) and another local favorite Guenter Seidel (Cardiff, CA).
Joy Rothe and Sarah Pinney
Joy Rothe and Sarah Pinney will return to Evening of Musical Freestyles to perform their breathtaking Pas de Deux. French for “steps of two,” Joy and Sarah debuted at the Del Mar National five years ago, and have been captivating crowds ever since with their synchronized movements on two well-matched chestnut horses, who happen to be full brother and sister.
Performing the Pas de Deux takes extreme concentration, riders that work well together, and of course, horses that look alike and move in a similar manner. “The four of us strive to move together with very few signals, to get all four of us into a similar stride and flow. The team continues to progress and perfect their Pas De Deux, and are currently working on a new, Grand Prix Level routine set to debut at the 2017 Del Mar National’s “Evening of Musical Freestyles”. We hope everyone enjoys this as much as we do!
The Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society is a re-enactment group from San Diego. Through authentic costumes and beautifully decorated horses and carriages, these elegant ladies take you back to the refined Victorian era of the 1880s. The members range in age from mid 20’s to mid 80’s and have been performing together for nearly a decade. Each member is well-versed in historical costuming and are well-ridden avid equestrians. All the “costumes” are custom made, one-of-a-kind originals and are designed and sewn by the members.
These lovely ladies ride and drive horses in several Southern California parades and shows including the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade, Night of the Horse and Equestfest, and make appearances at local rodeos and charity events.
Anna Buffini and Sundayboy
Anna Buffini, 22, of Escondido knew there was something special about Sundayboy when she got goosebumps the first time she rode him. Sundayboy and Anna swept the Young Rider division on their way to helping Region 7 bring home the NAJYRC Team Gold at the 2014 Del Mar National. Sundayboy, originally ridden by multi-Olympian Guenter Seidel, who is Anna’s California coach, and Anna have been competing and winning together ever since.
Anna’s last two competition rides on Sundayboy were in Wellington on March 22 and March 24, where she helped the US team win the CDIO Under-25 Nations Cup and she took the top spot as an individual two days later in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Those were Sundayboy’s last competitions and he went out in grand style!
Buffini describes Sundayboy as her “best friend” and now all of us will have a chance to share in this special friendship. Buffini has decided it is time to give her 18-year-old partner a new chapter, retiring him from international competition. As a sendoff, the pair will perform their final Freestyle under the Saturday night lights here at Del Mar.