Danish Jumper Rider Wins First USA Dressage Class at Devon

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Rikke Poulsen on Pikk Elena HU.
Rikke Poulsen on Pikk Elena HU.

DEVON, Pennsylvania, Sept. 22–Rikke Poulsen, a Danish jumper rider based in the U.S., on Tuesday won the first dressage competition she entered in America by riding Pikk Elena HU to the blue ribbon for four-year-olds suitable to become a dressage horse.

Pikk Elena, a mare by Pik L and owned by Horses Unlimited of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was first, Summer Solstice ridden by Terri Impson placed second and Austin ISF ridden by Peter Hansen was third on the opening day of Dressage at Devon that runs through Sunday.

Rikke, 31, works with fellow Danes Henrik and Mikala Munter Gundersen at their jumper and dressage base in Wellington, Florida.

“We put her in a dressage uniform for her first time out and she won,” Mikala said.

Rikke said: “It was really exciting, cool to go out for the first time and do well.”

Tuesday was the opening day of the annual competition in this Main Line Philadelphia community.

Riders from Ireland, France, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Argentina, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Israel and the United States will compete for more than $50,000 (€34,000) in prize money and awards throughout the six-day show.

Olympians Lars Petersen of Denmark and Ashley Holzer of Canada will try to repeat victories from previous years. Other riders to watch include Pan American Games gold and silver medal pair Lauren Sammis and Sagacious HF and Todd Flettrich, who recently returned from training in Germany.

The show draws thousands of spectators, particularly for the Saturday night musical freestyle, that benefits Thorncroft Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Inc., the oldest and largest therapeutic riding program in the United States.