Update: US-Based Mikala Gundersen to Compete at Aachen on Way to WEG Qualifying Attempt

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Mikala Munter Gundersen and Leonberg at Kentucky Cup WEG test event. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Mikala Munter Gundersen and Leonberg at Kentucky Cup WEG test event. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, May. 5–Mikala Gundersen and the 16-year-old Leonberg will head to Europe in July, planning to compete at Aachen and the Danish championships for a place on Denmark’s team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky Sept. 15-Oct. 10.

Horse Unlimited of Albuquerque, New Mexico, that owns the Zweibrücker stallion decided on the trip after winning the Kentucky Cup CDI3* Grand Prix Special WEG test event with a score of 70.79 per cent at Lexington at the end of April. The victory followed a successful winter circuit.

Mikala, 41, who is based in Wellington, Florida, said Wednesday that she has been entered to compete at the CDIO at Aachen, Germany July 13-18 before the Danish championships at the end of July.

Anne Sparks, owner of Leonberg and Horses Unlimited, said: “I couldn’t be happier because Mikala has been working so hard. And it is nice when hard work pays off.” Leonberg and Gundersen were invited to compete in the 2010 FEI World Cup Final in ‘s-Hertogenbsch, The Netherlands, but skipped the event to focus on WEG preparation.

“What I love about Mikala is her commitment to the horse and building the relationship. They have a true, solid connection built on trust. In two short years, they have come really far.”

Leonberg and Gundersen competed in the 2010 Exquis World Dressage Masters Palm Beach, placing fifth in the Grand Prix Freestyle under the lights with 72.2 per cent, and won both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby a month later.

“I’m ecstatic,” Mikala said. “The season has been coming along for us. When it started we hadn’t shown for six months and at the Masters things started coming together. I can see it coming and hopefully go up from here. We are pointing towards the World Equestrian Games as our goal and so we will keep working hard and see if that happens. I’m so proud of Leonberg and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year brings.”

Leonberg recently received his breeding license from the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society, a division of the German Oldenburg Verband. Leonberg, by Lonely Boy xx out of a Romiros mare, is also approved by the RPSI and the ISR/OLD.