Denmark’s Millibar Fails First Veterinary Inspection for World Cup Final, Reinspection Set for Saturday

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

April 18, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Millibar to be ridden by the 20-year-old Nanna Skodborg Merrald in their debut World Cup Final failed to pass the first veterinary inspection Friday but the Danish horse was scheduled to be re-inspected hours before the Grand Prix in Lyon, France on Saturday.

Millibar was the only one of 18 horses from 11 nations to fail the walk and trot inspection the first time around, a not unusual occurrence as it has happened with other top horses that most times are accepted to compete after a second look by the official veterinarians and judges. If, however, the 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare is not approved to start it would be the second loss for Denmark this week at the Final.

Lars Petersen, an Olympic, world championship and World Cup veteran based in Florida, had to pull out when the American-owned Mariett was found to have an abscess on a foot after flying from the United States to Europe.

Millibar (Milan x Liberty Dane) was ridden by Nanna in four qualifiers in the highly competitive Western European League and their highest score in the Freestyle that decides the World up was 78.325 per cent at Odense, Denmark in October.

The American-owned My Lady jogged by her rider, Mikala Münter Gundersen, the third Danish combination and based in Florida, passed the veterinary inspection.

Both American horses–Calecto V ridden by Tina Konyot and Van the Man ridden by Cesar Parra also passed muster, to confirm the ”look great” verdict of U.S. Chef d”Equipe Robert Dover.

Earlier, Mikala told dressage-news.com: “It’s pretty wild to be stabled next to Valegro, Damon Hill, Don Auriellio, Don Johnson, Glock’s Undercover, etc.”

The veteran Australian international competitor Mary Hanna on her 2012 Olympic mount, Sancette, traveled the greatest distance to this annual global championship that’s being held with the jumping Final while Marc Boblet on Noble Dream is the sole represetative of the home side.

Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain on Valegro, with two gold medals from the London Olympics and the two individual golds from the European Championships last year in her vault, will challenge the defending World Cup titleholder Helen Langehanenberg of Germany on Damon Hill NRW.

So, too, will the other combinations including Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Don Auriello ranked No. 1 in the World Cup Western European League and fresh from their third winter basking in Florida’s sub-tropical warmth instead of shivering in Sweden’s near Arctic cold.

And The Netherlands’ Edward Gal with a World Cup title in 2010 on the superstar Totilas on his resumé can be expected to wow the 9,000 spectators that have snapped up all the tickets to pack the Eurexpo stadium for the Grand Prix Saturday and the Freestyle Sunday.

The weather in Lyon was described by Robert Dover as “gorgeous.”

Mikala seconded the opinon. My Lady, she told dressage-news.com, “loves the cooler weather (more than I do for sure) and she’s very fresh.”

Mikala who is based in Wellington is competing in her first World Cup Final. She had expected to be stabled with fellow Florida-based Danish rider Lars Petersen and the U.S.-owned Mariett but the 16-year-old mare developed an abscess on her right hind foot and had to scratch.

Everyone, including jumper riders whose Final is being held at the same time, have gushed over both the indoor facility that is rated among the best ever with bright lights, chandeliers in the competition arena, a warm up area larger than usual with food and atmosphere befitting the first dual World Cup championship in France.

“The show organizers are so friendly and they are trying very hard to make everyone feel comfortable,” Mikala said. “Lots of bedding for the horses, nice food for the riders and comfortable lounge areas to rest. They really make you feel special.

“What a great learning experience it is as well to watch the rock star riders work these brilliant horses. All of them working their horses focused and nicely without stress or pressure. It’s been a pleasure to watch today.”