Born in Wesel, Germany, Steffen is a four-time Olympic dressage competitor and three-time USEF Horseman of the Year. He marks as his good fortune to have trained and ridden a number of remarkable horses, reaching back to his teenage years in Germany when his father bought him a three-year-old KWPN gelding named Udon.
The two trained at Jo Hinnemann’s barn in Voerde, Germany, where Steffen met American trainer Laurie Falvo who invited him to work at her barn in San Diego in the summer of 1984. Captivated by the lifestyle and weather, Steffen made a life changing choice and moved to San Diego with Udon. Living in a $200 a month garage, riding a motorbike for transportation, he worked for others for five years, including Guenter Seidel, before going out on his own in 1991. In 1992 he became a U.S. citizen.
While riding in a clinic with the late Dr. Reiner Klimke, Steffen was spotted by Lila Kommerstad who would become his first sponsor, purchasing Udon from the Peters family. With the horse he had brought up from a three-year-old, Steffen saw his dream come true as they were honored to represent the U.S. in the Atlanta Olympics where they won team bronze.
Other great horses came into his life, including Akeena and Grandeur whom he rode in the 2002 World Cup and competed in the CHIO in Aachen. These two campaigners spent several years retired at Steffen’s barn.
2004 — Steffen was an alternate on the U.S. Olympic team with his horse Floriano who was in 2005 purchased by Laurelyn and Stephen Browning. In 2005 Floriano was U.S. Grand Prix Champion, victorious in the group 1 CDIO Grand Prix at Aachen, and in 2006 highest finishing American horse on the U.S. bronze medal team at the Aachen World Equestrian Games.
2006 — Akiko Yamazaki’s Ravel performed his first ever Grand Prix test with Steffen aboard.
2008 – Steffen and Ravel became the highest placing American pair at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, coming in just out of the medals at fourth place.
2009 — Peters won the FEI Rolex World Cup finals, then swept the Grand Prix, the Special and the Freestyle at Aachen – a feat no American had ever done. That same year United States Dressage Federation named Ravel horse of the year.
2010 — Steffen and Ravel represented the United States in Kentucky at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, where they earned two bronze medals.
2011 — Steffen brought home team and individual gold medals from the Pan American Games with Jen and Bruce Hlavacek’s Weltino’s Magic.
2012 — The London Olympics saw Steffen and Ravel come in 17th in the individual dressage and as part of the U.S. team which came 6th.
2013 — He looks forward to a great future with Akiko Yamazaki’s Legolas 92. The pair finished third in the Exquis CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle at the World Dressage Masters in Florida with an 80.175%. They went on to win the Grand Prix Freestyle in Del Mar, CA at the Dressage Affaire.