Lars Petersen & Mariett Perform Highest Scoring Freestyle in Year at Florida World Cup to Clinch Fourth Olympic Team Place for Denmark
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 5, 2016–Lars Petersen and the 18-year-old Mariett performed their best musical ride in a year to win the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle and clinch a fourth team place at the summer Olympic Games.
Lars, who became an American citizen a month ago but still rides for Denmark, and the U.S.-owned Mariett scored 78.025 per cent to capture the Palm Bach Dressage Derby that was enough to give Denmark a full team of four horses and riders for Rio de Janeiro.
Fellow Danish team rider Mikala Gundersen on My Lady, already qualified with an individual place, scored 75.700 for runner-up place.
America’s Katherine Bateson=Chandler on Alcazar was third on 73.450 per cent.
“Tonight, before I went in with Mariett,” Lars told dressage-news.com. “I said to myself, ‘This is it! We are going for it.’
“Mariett is 18 years old. This year has not been easy as we haven’t been together.
“Sometimes there are competitions where we perform the best we can but it is not always the best.
“We went in tonight knowing that it was not always the way we hoped earlier in the season but we were determined to do our best. ‘This is it. We’re going for it,’ I told himself. ‘Watch out’!”
Mariett performed like she was a young horse in her movements but experienced in knowing what she needed to do. The judges, the audience, everyone knew this was the performance of the night under the lights at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
“We did the best we could. We didn’t know whether it was good enough but Mariett gave her all–her heart.”
The plan is for Lars, who has lived in the United States for most of his adult life, to compete Mariett at least once again during the Global Dressage Festival before deciding whether to go to Europe to seek a place on the Danish team for Rio.
Falsterbo, Sweden and Aachen, Germany that are two Danish team selections shows in July are tentatively on the schedule.
For Mikala and Mariett the competition did not impact their ranking that helped Denmark qualify a full team.
Anna Kasprazak on Donnperignon, Mikala on My Lady and Agene Kirk Thingaard on Jojo AZ appeared assured of earning the individual paces for Denmark to field a “composite” team of three combinations. But a fourth was preferred to provide some breathing room in case of injury.
Lars and Mariett, owned by Marcia Pepper who was to have ridden this horse before she was injured and a long rehabilitation led to Lars taking over the ride, was Denmark’s last hope of a fourth pair.
The position seemed secure two weeks ago, but competitions in Russia and elsewhere upset the rankings and Lars cancelled a flight to Europe to train riders at Blue Hors in Denmark to ride in this final qualifying competition before the Mar. 6 deadline.