Lars Petersen & Mariett Win Wellington World Cup Freestyle Stays Atop North American League
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 14, 2014–Lars Petersen rode Mariett to a personal best result that was the second highest for a Danish combination anywhere in the world this season to win the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle before a standing room only crowd on a mild tropical night.
The Olympic, world championship and World Cup star for Denmark before he based himself in Florida, confirmed himself as a contender for a place in the World Cup Final with his fourth victory in eight starts this year on a score of 79.950 per cent.
American Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida and her Olympic and World Equestrian Games partner Calecto V were second on 77.975 per cent while fellow Dane Mikala Gundersen, also based in Florida, was third on My Lady with 76.500 per cent.
After what she described as being “terribly disappointed” by her Grand Prix ride Thursday, Tina said: “I thought about retiring him, at the age of sixteen, but he’s so strong and healthy and sound that I kind of re-evaluated everything, and I’ll continue moving forward.”
The moving forward will not include the World Cup, she said.
“My horse doesn’t owe anything to me. He doesn’t owe anything to the United States. The distance for the flight from here to Amsterdam then to Lyon and back is a lot of traveling. I don’t want to put him in a risky situaton.”
After the latest competition, it semed likely that two American combinations, Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and Van the Man and Catherine Haddad-Staller of Califon, New Jersey and her Mane Stream Hotmail qualified for the World Cup Final in Lyon, France in mid-April.
Tina Konyot, the highest qualifying American in the North American League, was adamant she would not put her Danish Warmblood stallion through the stress of transatlantic travel for the World Cup, returning to the United States for World Equestrian Games selection trials then going back to campaign in Europe to seek selection for the WEG team in Normandy.
Only Anna Kasprzak on her Olympic and European Championship mount Dennperignon has turned in a higher score in the Freestyle in the 2013/14 World Cup season and is ranked fourth in the highly competitive Western European League. The highest score for Nanna Skodborg Merrald, the Danish rider ranked fifth in the WEL on Millibar, was 78.325 per cent in World Cup qualifier in Odense, Denmark last October.
Lars said he has promised the Danish federation he will notify them of his decision on whether he will accept an invitation as a foreign rider “additional” to the two places reserved for North Americans at the Fina. A maximum of three riders from a single nation can compete in the Final.
On the assumption Anna Kasprzak and and Nanna Skodberg Merrald are invited, that will leave one place open that could go to Lars or Mikala who stands second in the North American League.
“I’ll wait and see what Lars decides,” Mikala said. “If my federation wants me, I’m ready to go. If I get the opportunity I will go.”
My Lady, bought more than two years ago by Danish native and longtime Florida resident Janne Rumbough for Mikala to compete, is still only 14 years old and Mikala believes she may have opportunities in the future to compete at championships for Denmark.