Lars Petersen & Mariett Lead Near Danish Horse, Rider Sweep of Wellington CDI4* Freestyle
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 7, 2014–Mariett came down from her “hot” high to carry Lars Petersen to victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle on a balmy tropical Friday night under lights in which all three horses and two of the riders were born and bred in Denmark.
Lars and Mariett scored 76.400 per cent for their third straight victory this year with the United States Olympic team combination of Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida and Calecto V in second place on 75.500 per cent and Mikala Munter Gundersen, also a Wellington-based Dane, on My Lady placing third on 72.825 per cent.
The $80,000 CDI4* Freestyle was a sellout in both the spectator stands and the VIP pavilion that was the highlight of America’s richest non-championship dressage show sponsored by the Dutta Corp., the third of seven CDIs that make up the Wellington winter circuit from January through the end of March.
“She came down a little bit today, thank God,” Lars said Friday night, a day after the Grand Prix when the mare was hotter than ever before. “She’s like a dog, usually, a really sweet horse at home. But she gets a little bit more up when she comes to the show… the lights, music, people. In some ways that’s what makes them good.”
And, he said the pair are getting “closer and closer” to being able to achieve the best in the competition arena that they get at home.
Since the beginning of 2013, Lars and the Danish Warmblood mare (Come Back II x Sidney) have won 12 of their 24 starts in the United States and Europe, including three first places and three second places in their six starts so far in 2014.
The pair are ranked 18th in the world and are atop the World Cup North American League standings.
Tina Konyot exclaimed “Thank God” at the performance by Calecto V in the Freestyle after Thursday’s Grand Prix in which she was “a little bit frustrated” at the number of mistakes. However, she said, the stallion she rode on the U.S. teams at the 2010 WEG and the 2012 Olympics was returning to top firm and despite the stallion’s age of 16 years culd again by at the top of the sport.
Mikala Gundersen said that when My Lady was first competing two years ago after arriving from Denmark “she ws terrified” and “we had to feed her sugar cubes to get her into the ring.” Now, “we feel the horse is having fun.”