Lars Petersen Back Helping Denmark’s Blue Hors Build On Success He Helped Create

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Lars Petersen on Mariett at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen on Mariett at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

LOXAHATCHEE, Florida, Jan.1, 2015–Lars Petersen, whose Olympic and championship performances helped build the reputation of Blue Hors to become one of the largest breeding operations in Europe, has started working with the Danish stud’s competition riders under an agreement that will take him from his Florida home base most months this year.

The initial agreement by Lars to work with Allan Grøn, Daniel Bachman Anderson and Kenneth Damgaard for 10 sessions over a year began last month for four days at Blue Hors in Randbøl, Denmark.

“It’s something I really love, making horses,” Lars said at the Legacy Farm training center he operates with his wife, Melissa Taylor in Loxahatchee, a neighboring Florida community with Wellington and its Global Dressage Festival of seven CDIs with more than $650,000 in prize money over winter.

“When I was at Blue Hors I made all my own horses from scratch. It’s fun to go back and help develop young horses up to a high level.

“I feel like I’m part of Blue Hors.

“It keeps me a little bit sharp being in a place where you see some of the best horses in the world and you have to produce.

“It’s good for me, too, because it’s not my own little pond.

“And I still feel I’m part of it.”

Lars, who turns 50 years old this this year, is a lifelong friend of Blue Hors manager Esben Møller with whom he made the arrangements to work with the stud riders when he was based at Blue Hors for five months over the summer ahead of competing on the Danish team with Mariett.

He originally moved to the United States in the 1980s but was lured back to his homeland to become the rider of Uffe Korschajgaard that he took to the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and Blue Hors Cavan he rode at the World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998 and was reserve World Cup champion in 2002.

The exposure of the stallions at world and European championships and World Cup Finals helped build the reputation of what was then the newly created Blue Hors and has since developed into a premier breeding and competition operation with top sires that have had a major influence on dressage.

Lars Petersen riding Blue Hors Cavan. © Dirk Caremans/hippofoto.be
Lars Petersen riding Blue Hors Cavan. © Dirk Caremans/hippofoto.be

Lars moved back to the United States more than 12 years ago and settled in Florida with its intense competition schedule that attracts hundreds of riders from around the United States and Europe for the winter.

The focus in the winter is training riders and more than 50 horses that fill the stables while the rest of the year has a full calendar of clinics throughout North America–and now Denmark–that he credits Melissa’s management of the business as making possible his frequent absences.

His success on Mariett, a Danish Warmblood mare owned by Marcia Pepper, led to the pair becoming the top money winner at the 2014 Global Dressage Festival, standing atop the World Cup North American League that led to an invitation to the Final and a member of a Danish World Games team, a championshp berth for the first time since the Europeans in 2001.

The expanded relationshp with Blue Hors hasn’t changed Lars’ mind about becoming an American citizen now that Denmark has approved dual citizenship.

He will continue to ride for Denmark while Mariett is competitive as a change in national reprsentation means he would have to sit out competition for a year. Although Mariett is feeling better than ever despite her age, he said, her competition career is limited now she is 17 years old.

Part of the attraction of the involvement with Blue Hors, he said, is the development of the enterprise that led to the annual Glonal Dressage Forum being held outside its founding base in the Netherlands for the first time in 2014 as well as a major expansion of the center to include a state of the art competition venue to help promote the sport.

Lars has no horses from Blue Hors to compete, but said the arrangement as structured is working well.

“I never expected it,” he said. “It’s a fun job.

“It’s a challenge for me. It’s making horses… or making riders to make horses.”