Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen on My Lady Tops Wellington CDI5* Freestyle, Lars Petersen & Mariett 2nd, Steffen Peters & Legolas 3rd
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 12, 2016–Denmark’s team rider Mikala Gundersen on My Lady won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle Friday night, posting their second highest score to beat out fellow Dane Lars Petersen on Mariett and the USA’s Steffen Peters on Legolas.
The victory by Mikala, based in Florida for the past decade, and the 16-year-old Danish Warmbood mare on a score of 79.075 per cent was the first time the pair had finished ahead of Steffen and Legolas in a Freestyle.
Lars Petersen, who became an American citizen just days ago but still rides for Denmark, placed second on the 18-year-old Mariett on a score of 76.600 per cent.
Steffen on Legolas, his mount for the 2014 World Games and the Pan American Games team and individual gold medals, was third on 76.425 per cent. Legolas was too electric in the piaffe and passage that caused errors that were too much to overcome by some brilliant moments such as pirouettes and trot half-pass as well as much of the piaffe and passage tours.
Steffen of San Diego, California and ranked No. 6 in the world on Legolas told dressage-news.com: “I thought after the Pan Ams in Toronto she was over this, but apparently not. We have more work to do.”
For Mikala, the Freestyle was one of the best ever despite a mixup in the start of the music.
My Lady knew the choreography so well, though, that she went straight to the centerline to begin the performance and Mikala’s reaction was: “Holy, moly, she knows her test well” and allowed Mikala to push more than she had in the Grand Prix Thursday.
“We had a really cool ride,” she said. “She was on, she wanted to do well.”
Mikala and My Lady, owned by Palm Beach resident Janne Rumbough, Danish born by American citizen, were the last of the 14 horses and riders in the lineup under lights that drew what may have been the biggest crowd yet to Global show grounds for the Friday night Freestyle under lights–about 4,000 spectators in an expanded VIP pavilion and bleachers with people standing three deep around the arena.
Mikala said she didn’t see the crowd as she tries to block it from her mind and stay calm and focused, but “I really felt it on the way out as it was the biggest applause we’ve ever had. Going last with fun music it was: ‘Let’s finish this party’.”
Lars Petersen and the 18-year-old Mariett that has been a star combination since the creation of the Global circuit five years ago were not as in sync as in recent years.
The pair competed in April 2015 but this was only their second show since then and Lars admitted he “has a hard time finding the rhythm. I felt a little rusty.”
Steffen was blunt about his performance on Legolas:
“It was very tough. I was sitting not on one stick of dynamite but a whole case of dynamite beneath me.
“It’s diappointing. We’ve dug ourselve out of this spot before and will do so again.”
The crowd, music, a combination of everything was responsible, but “it’s not the last time he will act up. That’s his nature. I’m not going to punish him for that.”