Edward Gal of the Netherlands was once again magnificent on his super horse, Moorlands Totilas.
Laura Bechtolsheimer of Great Britain was stunning on Mistral Hojris.
Yet, the brightest tale of what transpired in Wednesday's dressage grand prix special — the individual competition — in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games rested with the bronze medalist.
At least, that's how the home-nation crowd saw it in the Rolex Stadium of the Kentucky Horse Park.
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Steffen Peters gave the United States its first-ever WEG individual medal in dressage, placing third on Ravel.
It is believed that his is the first U.S. individual dressage medal in a World Games, World Championships or Olympic Games since Hiram Tuttle rode Olimpic to a bronze medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Peters just missed a bronze in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, which were contested in Hong Kong.
As what he had done sank in on the awards podium, Peters brushed away tears.
"I can tell you pretty much exactly how many years, days and hours it's been since Hong Kong, since I missed that bronze medal," he said. "Only Shannon knows — my wife knows — how tough that was. I never really admitted that and tried to control myself pretty well afterwards.
Germans had won all five previous WEG titles. This time, Christoph Koschel was the highest-placed German, sixth on Donnperignon. Isabell Werth, a three-time WEG individual gold-medalist, was 10th on Warum Nicht.
Gal and Totilas led the Dutch to their first WEG grand prix team title Tuesday. His 10-year-old stallion had more in the tank Wednesday.
"When I entered the arena, I already felt that he was more relaxed than yesterday, and so I could take a little bit more risk today," said Gal, 40. "It worked out, and he gave me the best feeling. I had a really good ride today."
Gal, the last rider to go, scored 85.708 points.
Bechtolsheimer, who like Peters is German-born, scored 81.708. Peters totaled 78.542. The riders finished in the same order in Tuesday's team competition.
Asked to assess the top three, ground jury member Mary Seefried of Australia said the harmony of the riding is what set them apart.
"I think it was goose-bump territory for nearly all of us watching," she said.
Peters, 46, came from Germany to train with friends in San Diego in 1985. He wound up staying, earning U.S. citizenship in 1992.
He and his wife operate a training facility in Rancho Santa Fe, near San Diego, and run Chalk Hill Winery.
Peters' success on the world stage includes a team bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where he rode Udon.
His best shot as an individual came at Hong Kong.
Ravel, 12, is a Dutch Warmblood gelding. He showed no ill effects from having competed Tuesday.
"There were just a few very small, little mistakes yesterday," Peters said. "Today was cleaner. The amazing part was that Ravel still felt very, very strong. I didn't feel (him being) one single bit tired.
"He still was going for extensions like he was yesterday. His passage felt amazing."
(Pesade is when the horse raises its forehand off the ground and tucks the forelegs evenly, carrying all the weight on the hindquarters to form a 45-degree angle with the ground.)
"I can't even tell you what I felt getting done with this test and then having the crowd behind me," Peters said. "It was just an amazing experience."
'Thrilled with my horse'
As for the other Americans, Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Tina Konyot placed 19th and 20th. Bateson-Chandler, riding Nartan, scored 68.875. Konyot, aboard Calecto V, had 68.625.
"I am thrilled with my horse," Bateson-Chandler said of her 15-year-old Dutch bay gelding. "He is about the most honest animal that ever was. I'm going through the test, all the silly things were mine, and that horse tried his heart out."
Bateson-Chandler, 35, was born in England and moved to the United States in 1986. This is her first WEG as a competitor, although she groomed at two World Championships and two Olympic Games.
She acquired Nartan last May and spent much of the summer in training on her farm in Belgium.
"His temperament is his biggest strength," she said. "He is an incredible animal that way."
Konyot, 49, said of her test: "It was a very nice ride. I lost a lot of points on the first pesade, where he was skipping behind, but that's something that I created with that horse. ... The opening of it was not very good and, after that, it sort of evened out. It got better and better."
The top 15 finishers in the special advance to Friday night's sold-out music-accompanied grand prix freestyle.