THE STORY OF SPETERS DRESSAGE
Steffen and Shannon Peters, both widely known and accomplished within the sport of dressage, are no strangers to the competition ring nor the media spotlight, but what is the story behind their success and what they now call "SPeters Dressage"?
Today, SPeters Dressage is the name for both Steffen and Shannon Peters training business in San Diego, CA out of the Arroyo Del Mar facility. Although both Steffen and Shannon run their businesses separately with different clients and horses, they do share in their longtime memories, training philosophies, and in their loyal and experienced grooms. Before unpacking the present of SPeters Dressage, let’s take a brief dive into the past of both Steffen and Shannon individually and together.
Steffen Peters began his riding journey in Wesel, Germany at the age of seven. He competed from a young age in local dressage competitions and by fifteen explored the opportunities to compete throughout Belgium and Denmark. A pivotal moment in Steffen’s career was the gift of Udon from his father. Before Peters began his army service in Germany, he spent the summer of 1984 training in San Diego, CA and in 1985, returned to the San Diego area to work with Laurie Flavo. Peters opened his own barn in 1991, gained US citizenship in 1992, and competed and won bronze in the 1996 Olympic Games on Udon.
Shannon Peters, originally from Michigan, also began riding from a young age and began her own training business when she moved to Boulder, Colorado for college. She had a successful training business in Colorado, but decided to move her business to San Diego in 2003 when she married Steffen Peters. In 2006, the Peters moved their business to Arroyo Del Mar, where they currently live and work today.
Shannon Peters is known for her excellent and compassionate connection with the horses she works with. Her longtime mentor is Karl Mikolka, who believed it takes a dedicated spirit and time to understand the horse as a willing partner. Shannon is a very experienced Grand Prix dressage rider and a USDF Gold Medalist. She has competed in USDF Recognized shows on 41 different horses, and is a a CLS five star competitor with 133 shows to date.
Shannon has been featured in multiple articles and magazines for her thoughts on hoof health and longterm soundness. She has taken fifteen horses now from training level to Grand Prix dressage barefoot. Her incredible story can be read in the article below.
Although the name SPeters Dressage clearly is the story about Steffen and Shannon Peters, Team Peters also includes multiple other important players. Loyal and experienced grooms Eduardo Garcia, Juan Rodriguez, and Angel Utrilla have been working at Arroyo Del Mar with the Peters since the business first moved to the facility. Team Peters is also about educating and developing driven individuals. Dawn White O’Connor first came to work with the Peters following her high school years in 2007 and worked with them for over eleven years. O’Connor, originally from Colorado, met Shannon Peters at a clinic and was invited to work with Team Peters as a working student. She rode with Shannon and Steffen for several years and was given the opportunity to groom for Steffen in Europe several times, including both in 2007 as well as in 2012 for the London Olympic Games. O’Connor has had the privilege of riding and competing on some of Steffen’s mounts, such as Aristo, Legolas, Galeno, and Bailarino. She now runs her own successful training business in the San Diego area.
Ehren Volk is another key member in the dynamics of Team Peters. Ehren, a Canadian born rider, first came to train with Shannon Peters immediately following her high school years for a few months in San Diego. She clicked with the team and Shannon specifically and was offered a working student position. Volk has now been working with the Peters for eight years now and has found her important place as Shannon Peter’s assistant. She has had the privilege of riding and competing some of the Peters past horses in FEI Small Tour CDI competitions and is now operating her own training business out of Arroyo Del Mar.