Danes Dominate Florida CDN Grand Prix

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Lars Petersen and Gredstedgårds Casmir. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Feb. 11–Danish Olympian Lars Petersen rode Gredstedgårds Casmir and Mariett in his Grand Prix debut on both horses Saturday, filling the top two places in the Wellington Spring Classic CDN the day after his father died in Denmark.

Fellow Dane Mikala Gundersen rode My Lady in their first Grand Prix and finished third in the same class. Both riders drew dozens of spectators to the covered arena that made the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle with only two entries an anticlimax.

Fellow Danes Lars Petersen and Mikala Gundersen after the Florida CDN Grand Prix. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

After receiving the news of the death of Neils Enjar at the age of 71 Friday night, Lars and his personal and business partner, Melissa Taylor, intended to fly to Denmark Saturday. But Ingrid, Lars’ mother, told him, “Do not scratch. Ride to honor your father.” Lars’ father may have been the biggest fan and proudest of his son’s achievements in Olympics, World Equestrian Games and World Cups, watching Lars compete when he was in Europe.

Lars and Melissa will fly to Denmark Sunday. The funeral will be held on Wednesday.

In the class of 15 combinations before a three-judge panel, Lars and Gredstedgårds Casmir, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Continue x Lisette x Rastell), placed first with 68.582 per cent while on Mariett, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Come Back II x Zendi x Sidney), he placed second on 67.872 per cent.

Mikala and My Lady, aged 12 and also a Danish Warmblood mare (Michellino x Itterstern), were third on 66.241 per cent.

Lars began riding Gredstedgårds Casmir for Blue Hors less than three months ago after the horse arrived from Europe. The horse was first competed at Grand Prix by Andreas Helgstrand in 2007 and was on the Danish team at the European Championships the same year and the World Cup Final in 2008.

Sune Hansen took over the ride in 2009 and rode the horse at the European Championships the same year, the World Equestrian Games in 2010 and the European Championships at Rotterdam last year.

Lars said that although the horse is not always easy, “he surprised me today, he was not too bad.” He took the blame for mistakes in the one-tempis and said that more fitness should strengthen the piaffe and passage.

The pair will compete in one more national competition then start in two CDIs before heading to Denmark in May ahead of the Danish national championships at the end of May in the campaign to seek a place on the Danish team for the Olympics in London.

Mariett is owned by Lars in partnership with Marcia Pepper. Marcia bought the horse five years ago.

Mikala Gundersen and My Lady in the first Grand Prix for the partnership. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mikala said she was “ecstatic” over the performance by My Lady that was bought less than three months ago by former Dane Janne Rumbough as a “fun” partnership with Mikala. The horse was competed by Mikala for the first time last month, in warmup small tour classes.

“The horse was fantstic,” she said. “I can’t believe such great scores for her first Grand Prix.”

The $5,000 CDI Grand Prix Freestyle was won by the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz and Liebling II with 67.925 per cent with Yvonne Barteau of Maple Park, Illinois, on GP Raymeister second on 60.125 per cent.

Complete results from Saturday’s competition: Wellington Spring Classic results for Saturday