My Lady Ridden by Mikala Gundersen Makes her USA Debut at Prix St. Georges in Florida

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My Lady in her USA debut ridden by Mikala Gundersen. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 20–In My Lady’s American debut Friday with Mikala Gundersen aboard, the Danish Warmblood seemed to grow taller as she settled into new surroundings to perform “as good if not better than at home.”

The 12-year-old mare (Michellino x Ritterstern) that Mikala, a Dane based in Wellington, and Janne Rumbough, a former Dane, bought two months ago as a “fun” international mount, competed in the Prix St. Georges at the Gold Coast Dressage Opener CDI-W that kicked off the first of 11 CDIs scheduled for Palm Beach over the next three months.

The pair scored 67.184 per cent for second place behind the USA’s Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina, on Rigo with 69.632 per cent. Canada’s Diane Creech on Junior was third on 64.974 per cent before the five-judge panel that included one 5*, three 4*s and one 3* judges.

“I was really pleased with her debut,” Mikala said. “We had some difficulties. She wanted to look around. I think she was a little overwhelmed by her new surroundings, starting with some tension but she grew and grew and got better and better.

“She felt like she grew an inch (2.5cm) although she’s a pretty tall girl at 176cm (17.3 HH), as the ride went on and she became more confident.”

The covered arena was surrounded by spectator stands and some decorations in preparation for the World Dressage Masters to be held there next week.

Mikala said she was glad she made their first start in the small tour although the horse was at Grand Prix in Denmark, “so I get to know her at a level that I can ride my way out of trouble.

“She wants to do the Grand Prix so she won’t stay at this level for very long. There are still a few buttons I haven’t found yet.”

The pair may start in the Intermediaire II at the next competition, and will probably make her first Grand Prix appearance in the U.S. a month from now.

“We want to have a good ring and a big atmosphere so the horse gets used to what to expect when we go to Europe in the summer,” Mikala said.

Most of the judges they would compete before in Europe also judge at the Florida competitions so the change in the ring atmosphere is likely to be the biggest difference.

The main goal this year is the Danish Championships in June.

Mikala said that in the past two months she has learned that My Lady “is a big horse with a big personality and can be ‘hot’ to ride.”

If she has a whip in her hand, Mikala can’t get on My Lady. She found out when she tried to mount the horse with a whip in her hand and she would not let Miakala get on.

“She definitely has her own opinions,” she said. “There are some people she will do whatever they ask. For others, she won’t recognize their existence.

“Every day, though, she wants to work.

“She goes out in the paddock every day. She walks around and never does anything stupid–she takes care of her legs.

“When we put her on the treadmill for the first time she acted like she had been doing it all her life.”