Steffen Peters and Legolas took California’s Del Mar National CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night but Jan Ebeling and his Olympic celebrity mare Rafalca posted a personal best result just 1.750 percentage points off the lead.

Steffen of San Diego and the 12-year-old Westfalen gelding received a score of 78.050 per cent, within 1.5 percentage points of their highest result but, as with the Grand Prix a day earlier, with widely different scores–a high of 82 .125 per cent from Lois Yukins of the United States and a low of 75.875 per cent from Maria Colliander of Finland.

“The scores were right on the money,” Steffen told after the ride.

“Legolas was great. Overall, I’m very happy.”

Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California and the mare, Rafalca now 17 years old, were marked at 76.300 per cent that surpassed their previous best of 76.125 per cent when the pair won this same event a year ago.  Brian Hafner of Sonoma, Caifornia and Lombardo LHF were third on 71.450 per cent.

For Jan, who described the Grand Prix as “probably the best ride ever” on Rafalca, the results of this show confirm the pair in clear second place behind Steffen and Legolas in rankings for the U.S. World Equestrian Games Selection Trials in Gladstone, New Jersey in mid-June. Coral Reef Wylea, listed as No. 2, was injured and rider Günter Seidel said the horse will not recover in time to be a team prospect.

The German-born Jan and Rafalca began their international Grand Prix career in 2007 and since then have competed at premier horse shows on both sides of the Atlantic including three World Cup Finals.

The pair was selected for the United States team at the Olympic Games in London in 2012 where they became a celebrity couple with global media attention focused on the ownership group that included Ann Romney, wife of the Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, along with Beth Meyer and Amy Ebeling, Jan’s wife.

The Del Mar National was also the first international competition for King’s Excaliber, ridden by Leslie Morse of Beverly Hills, California. The nine-year-old gelding was sired by her stallion, Kingston. Leslie spent the winter in Florida developing King’s Excaliber and other young horses.

 By Ken Braddick/