Lars Petersen & Mariett Plan to Compete at World Cup Final

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Lars Petersen winning the Wellington World Cup on Mariett, their last 2013/14 season qualifier. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen winning the Wellington World Cup on Mariett, their last 2013/14 season qualifier. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 19, 2014–Lars Petersen who wih Mariett has dominated the North American World Cup circuit confirmed Wednesday that he plans to compete at the Final in Lyon, France April 17-21.

The Florida-based Danish rider told dressage-news.com that he had informed the Danish federation Wednesday he would accept an invitation to participate in the World Cup Final, the first appearance for Lars since he rode Blue Hors Cavan to reserve champion at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands in 2002.

For Mariett to make an appearance at the World Cup Final would be a fairy tale celebration for the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood mare that took almost two years to recover from a hoof injury so serious it was feared the horse might never again see the inside of a competition arena.

Lars and Mariett, owned by Marcia Pepper, would join Anna Kasprzak on Donnperignon and Nana Skodborg Merrald on Millibar, the Danish combinations that are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Western European League.

“I’m excited that I may have the opportunity to return to the World Cup Final,” said the 48-year-old rider who married his longtime personal and business partner, Melissa Taylor, last Christmas Eve.

His decision most likely means, however, that fellow Dane Mikala Gundersen and My Lady, also based in Florida won’t make it to the Final after finishing second in the NAL. World Cup rules limit to three the number of combinations from the same country.

Lars and Mariett (Come Back II x Sidney) dominated the North American League of nine qualifying competitions that includes Canada, Mexico and the United States. The pair set the standard from the first appearance, last September in Saugerties, New York, scoring 76.575 per cent in the Freestyle and improving on it throughout the season to culminate in a personal best of 79.950 per cent in their last World Cup competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington last Friday night.

Last weekend’s victory for the Olympic, world championship and World Cup star was his fourth victory in eight starts this year.

The World Cup rules provide for up to two non-North American citizens competing in the NAL circuit to be invited as “additional” riders for the Final that is decided by the Freestyle.

Mariett was bought by Marcia Pepper to ride.

But in her stall, the mare tore off a foot up to the coronet band. It took two years for the hoof to grow back and it was feared she might not be able to compete again. Marcia turned Mariett over to Lars to train with the intention for her to show as an amateur.

However, she gave the ride fulltime to Lars and the pair began competing at the international level exactly two years ago in Florida.

In 2013, Lars and Mariett competed at the Danish championships and were on the team at the Nations Cup in Rotterdam last June.

Lars has joked, “As she did not compete for two years I hope we get those two years on the back end.” Marcia laughs that she lost the ride but gets the ribbons.

Lars rode Uffe Korshojgaard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics but is best known for riding Blue Hors Cavan at the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome, the European Championships in 1999 and 2001 and reserve champion at the 2002 World Cup.

Lars first came to the United States 30 years ago but returned to Denmark for 10 years as the in-house trainer for Blue Hors. He came back to America 12 years ago.