September 25, 2020 3 min read
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. Today, He finds continued success in the international show arena with Suppenkasper, owned by Four Winds Farm's Akiko Yamazaki.