Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen & My Lady Post Personal Best for Victory at Wellington World Cup Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 13, 2014–Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen rode My Lady to a personal best score of 73.120 per cent Thursday to claim victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix, ending a string of placings behind fellow Dane Lars Petersen and Mariett who were second on 72.700 per cent.
Catherine Haddad-Staller and Mane Stream Hotmail served notice of being a pair to watch when they placed third with 71.560 per cent, their highest ever CDI Grand Prix result on any horse and 2.520 per cent more than the previous best on Hotmail after a ride that the American described as the best she has ever had in a competition arena.
But the ride by Mikala, the last in a starting lineup of 32 combinations from eight nations, set off loud cheering in the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium centerpiece arena. The score easiy surpassed the previous highest highest Grand Prix score of 71.660 per cent logged just two weeks ago at these same show grounds.
Mikala was injured last year and had eased up on the amount of riding she does at her training center near the show grounds and joked that it was just as well her husband, jumper rider Henrik Gundersen was also the distributor for the HorseGym treadmill that kep My Lady in top condition.
Two weeks ago, she felt better and returned to a busy riding schedule–“I probably shouldn’t have as I injured myself again.”
Coupled with the fact that in this winter season of 12 weeks with eight CDIs she and the 14-year-old Danish Warmblood mare by Michellino finished third or second behind Lars Petersen and Mariett, also based here. Lars is also atop the World Cup North American League ahead and he could be invited to the Final in Lyon, France that would likely prevent Mikala from going as she is in the second spot.
“I rode like I had nothing to lose,” she told dressage-news.com. “I talked to Ernst (Hoyes, her coach) and he told me not to put pressure on myself. I rode just like I do at home. Everything I can usually do at home I was able to do in the ring.”
With My Lady, that Danish native and longtime American citizen Janne Rumbough bought more thsn two years ago for Mikala to compete, it has been “an amazing season.”
“She has been so consistent and has slowly gotten better and better,” she said. “Today it all came together.”
Miakala was fed up with placing third in seven out of her eight previous competitions, and second in the other that led to get being labeled the “Yellow Lady.” Putting the seven yellow and one red ribbon together, she figured, could come up with blue for the winner.
Lars said that Mariett who he started six times this year for three first places and three seconds, felt the effects of having the last month off. His success on the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Come Back II x Sidney) has kept the pair in the top 20 in the world rankings.
Catherine Haddad-Staller, who moved back to the United States after 20 years in Germany where she competed at the top echelon of the sport and was reserve for American teams at both the 2006 and 2010 World Equestrian Games, described the ride on Hotmail as “super… fantastic.”
Hotmail, whom she bought in Germany in 2012 as a sales prospect, had it easy last year when Catherine was out for five months with an injury.
The 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding also by Michellino was the easiest horse she had ever ridden, she said.
The latest result of 71.560 per cent will move the pair higher than their current 11th place in the national rankings to qualify for the selection trials for the American team for the WEG in Normandy, France in August.
Catherine said that even if she did not make the squad of the top eight combinations to go to Europe to determine the final WEG team of four she planned to go to compete over the summer.