Denmark’s Lars Petersen & Mariett Tighten Grip on World Cup North American League with 2nd Wellington Freestyle Victory
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 24, 2014–Lars Petersen and Mariett won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle on Friday with their second best ever result despite a memory lapse by the rider but the pair tightened their grip at the top of the North American League.
In what he said may be the last time he makes the claim, the Danish Olympian said he believes he can get even better results from the Danish Warmblood mare that is “getting younger” despite her age of 16 years than the 77.450 per cent the pair were awarded.
Canada’s Diane Creech on Devon L debuted a new freestyle that won the partnership second place on 73.175 per cent that was by far their personal best Freestyle result in competing the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding at the top level of the sport for almost five years. And it moved them to the lead of North American citizens on the World Cup North American League standings from which two combinations will be assured of places at the Final in Lyon, France in mid-April.
United States team rider Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey scored 72.725 per cent with Van the Man in Friday’s Freestyle and that gave them an average of 72.350 and moved them into second place for U.S, and Canadian riders on the NAL standings.
Mikala Munter Gundersen, like Lars a rider who moved from Denmark to become a fulltime resident of Florida, was third on My Lady with 72.075 per cent in their third performance of a freestyle that was created by British musical creator Gary Patterson. She said she was disappointed that he had flown to Florida for the ride and had not performed better.
The result for Lars and Mariett was the second highest to the 78.450 per cent the pair scored a year ago to win the CDI5* at this same venue.
Lars, a master at riding the Freestyle as he has done on several horses including Blue Hors Cavan on which he was reserve champion at the 2002 World Cup Final, mistimed the final centerline of the test on Mariett Friday night which was the last of 14 rides in an open air arena that had gotten unseasonably cold, about 60F (15C) after the sun went down. And the drop in temperature cleared many spectators out of the stands which had been full during the first few rides when the sun was out.
The music continued for several seconds after Lars saluted.
He had forgotten the piaffe on the final centerline of the freestyle that has a high degree of difficulty though fun circus-like music.
Even so, the performance was a big step up from their ride two weeks ago which was the first competition for the pair since last September.
“We’ve now had a little bit of practice,” he said, “when it gets easier.”
Friday night’s Freestyle was the fifth of nine World Cup North American League events to qualify for the Final in Lyon, France in mid-April.
Lars and Mariett have four results that average 76.996 per cent as the NAL is determined by the average of the top two scores and not points as in the Western and Central European Leagues that makes their qualifying result 77.212.
Mikala and My Lady are in second place with a two-score average of 73.663.
However, the NAL is reserved for two North American citizens so Lars and Mikala can only hope for a wild card invitation from the International Equestrian Federation which has to be requested by the Danish federation.
The highest ranked Canadian or United States combination are Diane Creech of Canada and Devon L with an average of 72.737 after two competitions and Cesar Parra and Van the Man with a two-competion average of 72.350. Jaqueline Brooks of Canada and D Niro, the 2012 Olympic and 2013 World Cup Final partnership, have a two-show average if 71.912 per cent and third in rankings.
Nanna Skodberg Merrald is the only Danish rider in the Western European League with better results, two 13th place finshes that place her seventh in the rankings.