Lars Petersen, Denmark’s Olympic, World Games & World Cup Rider, Approved to Ride for USA

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Lars Petersen riding Mariett at the 2014 World Equestrian Games the last championship to compete for Denmark. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, June 27, 2017–Lars Petersen, who rode for Denmark at Olympics and championships for a quarter century, received approval Tuesday to ride for the United States.

Lars, 51 years old lives in Wellington and is married to the American Melissa Taylor. He became an American citizen in February, 2016, but retained his Danish citizenship and continued to ride for Denmark.

His first competition under the United States flag will be at the World Cup event in Tryon, North Carolina in September.

He cannot compete on U.S. teams or at championships for America until after Mar, 5, 2018, under the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rules that approved the change of flags under which Lars will compete.

That means he can prepare horses as prospects for the U.S. team for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in September, 2018.

The switch by Lars to ride for the U.S. comes three months after Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer started riding for America.

Lars first came to the United States for a brief visit as a teenager and then returned in 1991, first based out of Five Star Farm owned by his then father-in-law Peter Kjellerup and Amanda Cabot and then to Virginia.

Blue Hors Stud lured him back to Denmark after a couple of years.

He became Denmark’s top rider, competing Uffe Korshojgaard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 1995 European Championships.

In 1998, he competed Blue Hors Cavan at the Rome World Games, the first championship for the pair before going on to become one of the top combinations in the world.

He rode the Hanoverian gelding for Denmark at the 1999 and 2001 European Championships.

Highlights of their career were two World Cup Finals, first in 2001 and then in 2002 when the pair was reserve champion, the fun music making them popular with spectators.

Lars returned to America, settling in Wellington, Florida.

He built a successful training operation and competed extensively on a succession of horses for the next decade.

Then, in 2012 he competed Mariett, a Danish Warmblood mare that he had rehabilitated after a serious accident in which one of the horse’s hooves was torn off. Although the horse was intended for owner Marcia Pepper to ride, she insisted Lars compete Mariett.

The show career of Mariett coincided with the creation of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival of international competitions over winter with more prize money than had ever been previously available in the United States.

Lars and Mariett were at or near the top of money earnings, enough to fund travel to Europe to ride on Danish Nations Cup teams in Rotterdam and Aachen, Germany, qualifying for two World Cup Finals–the horse sustained a hoof bruise and withdrew from one–and the World Games in Normandy in 2014.

Lars Petersen receiving his United States citizenship in February, 2016.

Lars’ connection with Denmark remain strong.

As he has for the past two years, he goes to Blue Hors once a month to work with the stud’s trainers in the horse development program.