Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen & My Lady In Tears Over Win at Wellington CDI5* Grand Prix Special

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Mikala Gundersen and My Lady after winning Wellington 5* Grand Prix Special. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Mikala Gundersen and My Lady after winning Wellington 5* Grand Prix Special. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, April 7–The sound of the Danish national anthem brought Mikala Gundersen to tears after winning the Global Dressage Festival’s Wellington 5* Grand Prix Special aboard My Lady Sunday with the highest non-Freestyle score since beginning their international Grand Prix partnership less than 14 months ago.

Mikala and the the 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare scored 70.083 per cent that has given the rider the confidence to join fellow Florida-based Dane Lars Petersen on Mariett who won the Freestyle Saturday night to go to the Danish Championships the first week of June. She hopes the pair will be invited by Danish coach Rudolf Zeillinger to join a national team this summer.

Canada’s Diane Creech and Devon L placed second on 67.917 per cent with compatriot Evi Strasser and Action Tyme third on 65.813 per cent and James Koford of Wellington and Rhett in fourth on 63.229 per cent.

My Lady (Michellino x Itterstern) was bought by former Dane and longtime Palm Beach resident Janne Rumbough, an active adult amateur, as a prospective international mount for Mikala. She is competing on her ninth winter circuit after moving to Florida with her show jumping husband, Henrik Gundersen, and their two children, Claudia and Casper.

Mikala said he mare “was so with me, very relaxed, very calm, she did such a good job for me.”

But when she got her score sheet she was surprised to find she did only 13 one-tempis and one judge had commented, “Your score would have been mch higher if you learned to count.”

“I should have gone to bed earlier last night,” she joked. “I’m going to have to study some math.”

Seriously, though, she is confident that they are not riding any more to just get through a test. “Now the fun starts. We need to focus, to make the transitions more clear, to get those extra points.”

Makala Gundersen and My Lady. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Makala Gundersen and My Lady. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“We used this season to get to know each other and I’ve used this season as preparation to go to Europe this summer. I really wanted to make sure I got there and would be well prepared and know her in different atmospheres. I think we’re ready to go now. As ready as we’ll ever be,” Mikala said.

While in Europe for two months, Claudia, her 14-year-old daughter who is at school in Denmark, will “hang out” with her mother and groom for My Lady. Casper, whose love is soccer, will accompany his father to horse shows in the northeast United States.

Mikala and Henrik came to America seeking to enjoy the same success with the HorseGym treadmill business they had in Europe.

“I wanted to ride less when I first came,” Mikala said. “I brought one horse wth me. I thought I’d do a little teaching, take care of the kids, help sell the treadmills, not be so busy.

“That plan kind of changed.”

They soon had a barn full of horses in the heart of the show horse community that is unique in the world.

“Slowly we had a lot of horses.. not really, it was all of a sudden,” she laughed.

The Gundersens have built a life in Wellington that they wouldn’t trade.

“This gets better every year,” she said. “I love our little paradise, waking up every morning to blue sky and palm trees. It’s great here.”

And she is ecstatic about the Global Dressage Festival grounds at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center that was built for its first season in the winter of 2012 and is about a mile (1.2km) from their farm–close enough that she can go home for lunch if she doesn’t want another horse show hamburger.

She tries to ride no more than five horses a day, something that’s working since hiring an American, Katrina Evans, who had gone to Germany at the age of 15 and stayed six years improving her riding.

“She’s a talented rider and it’s been wonderful,” Mikala said. “I don’t have to rush home from the show grounds to ride. We have some good sales horses. She does all the stuff I want to do. In this way, I can leave to go to Europe for two months and not worry about the horses at home. It’s perfect for me.”

RESULTS:

Grand Prix Special 5*
E: Fore – USA H: Saleh – FRA C: Steiner – USA M: Holler – GER B: Clarke – GBR
Rider Nation Horse E % H % C % M % B % Total Pl.
Gundersen, Mikala Munter DEN My Lady 70.417% 68.542% 71.250% 71.146% 68.958% 70.063% 1
Creech, Diane CAN Devon L 68.229% 65.729% 69.063% 68.750% 67.813% 67.917% 2
Strasser, Evi CAN Action Tyme 65.521% 65.313% 64.896% 66.563% 66.771% 65.813% 3
Koford, James USA Rhett 63.125% 63.125% 62.604% 63.542% 63.750% 63.229% 4