Lars Petersen & Mariett Win Saugerties NEDA World Cup Freestyle
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Lars Petersen and Mariett won the New England Dressage Association World Cup Freestyle Saturday in the first show since the pair returned home after competing in Europe in June and the first step in a campaign to win a place at the World Cup Final next April.
Lars, renowned for fun music for his Freestyles introduced a new canter tour that worked well and helped the Danish Olympian and the 15-year-old mare to a score of 76.575 per cent.
The result was the second best personal score, the top being the 78.450 per cent that won the pair the Global Dressage Festival CDI5* in Wellington, Florida in April that also was second only to Steffen Peters and Legolas in notching the highest Freestyle score by any North American combination so far this year.
Canada’s Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro, who competed at the World Cup Final in Sweden last April, placed second on 72.325 per cent.
Australia’s Kelly Layne, competing outside her home base for the first time since moving to Wellington four years ago, rode the 12-year-old KWPN gelding Udon P for third place with 71.850 per cent.
The NEDA World Cup event is the second on the North American League calendar for 2013/2014 with one scheduled for Devon, Pennsylvania next week, four in Florida and two in California during the winter circuits. None were staged in Canada.
The result by the 48-year-old Lars puts him at the top of the North American League standings which are determined by the average of the two highest scores and not the points system used by the Western and Central European leagues. Jacqueline Brooks is in second place, Kelly Layne third and Canada’s David Marcus fourth.
The World Cup Final in Lyon, France next April, Lars told dressage-news.com, is “one of our goals” and as he is based in the United States he will declare for the North American League.
The success of the Danish Warmblood mare (Come Back II x Sidney) continues the miracle recovery after she tore off an entire hoof in her stall and was not expected to ever be fit enough to be ridden again by her owner, Marcia Pepper, an adult amateur. After three years of recuperation, Lars began riding the horse and when the recovery seemed complete he took her into her first CDI Grand Prix 18 months ago.
Since then, the Olympic, World Equestrian Games and World Cup rider and Mariett have started in 28 Grand Prix competitions, posting 12 victories. In June, the pair were on Denmark’s team at the Rotterdam Nations Cup after competing in the Danish Championships.
“She is getting better and better,” Lars said. “I basically thought she would never go again.
“I know she’s 15 but she’s like an eight-year-old to ride. I think she has years left and I think she’ll be even better by the Florida season (that starts in January).
“We may have a horse that could really be up there.”
Looking back at this summer’s experience he said he should have done more shows before the Danish Championships and stayed on longer, a tough decision as he has a barn full of horses to be trained year round at the Legacy Farms business he operates with Melissa Taylor, his business and personal partner for the past several years and also a Grand Prix rider and trainer.
He misses the European shows, seeing lots of spectators, breeders and trainers and dressage and jumping at the same venues and hopes to take Mariett back in 2014.
However, he also plans to change citizenship to the United States after living here for 11 years, a step he can take in well under a year.
“It’s mostly because I feel it’s where I live,” he said. “I like the U.S. Every year, I’ve had someone qualify for Gladstone (the U.S. championships) and thought, ‘Why can’t I ride there myself if I have a horse’.”