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Lars Petersen and Mariett Lead the Competition in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle at AGDF 3 CDI W

RELEASE: January 25, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Lars Petersen and Mariett (SusanJStickle.com)
Lars Petersen and Mariett (SusanJStickle.com)
Wellington, Fla.
- Danish rider Lars Petersen and his grand prix mount Mariett won the FEI World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix Freestyle presented by US P.R.E. Association during the third week of competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). Petersen rode Marcia Pepper's 16-year-old Danish Warmblood mare to first place with 77.450%.

Second place went to Canada's Diane Creech and Devon L. The pair finished on a 73.175%. Mikala Munter Gundersen (DEN) rounded out the top three with My Lady after receiving a score of 72.075%.

The third week of the AGDF, sponsored by the US P.R.E. Assocation and Chesapeake Dressage Institute, runs through Sunday, January 26. The AGDF hosts nine more weeks of world-class dressage through March 30. The FEI World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix Freestyle was the feature event of the week, and chilly weather and a schedule adjustment didn't detract from a phenomenal evening of dressage competition.

"Competition was stellar, the horses were beautiful, (and) the riding was exquisite," commented Allyn Mann of Adequan.

Mann was excited to see the AGDF continuing to flourish, especially under new Sports Director Thomas Baur's expertise. "As far as this year versus previous years, I think we've already exceeded expectations. Thomas is just continuing to do wonderful things to make each of these events a special evening. I would expect that it's only going to get better and the competition more fierce because I think that's what keeps each [rider] going, right? You want to get to the top rung on the ladder," Mann remarked.

The rider at the top of that ladder has often been Petersen with Mariett, and after finishing second with the mare during AGDF 1, Petersen was pleased to see her getting back in the swing of things.

"That was the first show since [Dressage at] Devon [in September]. Now we have one show with a little bit to practice. When you're on a roll it always gets a bit easier. I think that's the biggest thing. Also for her, she was in [this ring] before and she was more tense the first show. I think it's a combination of a lot of things, [but] the main thing is that we showed two weeks ago and now we do it again," Petersen explained.

Of Mariett's performance on Friday evening, Petersen said, "I thought she was really good today. I had a very difficult test; high difficulty with my changes and all my transitions from trot to passage. She was with me today."

Second place finisher Creech debuted a new freestyle routine featuring Capital City's hit song "Safe and Sound." Creech's music was produced by Karen Robinson, who Creech has worked with before.

"We've always liked working with each other. It's not so easy to find the right music for your horse," she acknowledged. "It needs to suit the temperament and the movement, and I need to like it and he needs to like it. Those are a lot of things to mix into it. It needs to be happy music, and I like it to be a little bit familiar to people."

The most important thing to Creech is that Devon L takes to the music, which he appears to be doing.

"I just have ridden [the new freestyle] for the second time now, so we're just getting into the routine, but he seems to like the routine and he seems to like the music," she described.

Mikala Munter Gundersen and My Lady put on another good show, placing third for the second time in the FEI World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix Freestyle. Munter Gundersen was very happy with her horse's performance, but admitted she committed a few errors that kept them from the top prize.

"She has had some nice consistency in her test. Tonight, she got a little bit hot for me and I got a little behind the music, so I was chasing to catch up with the music a bit, and I got some mistakes because of that. Those were all mine. She really paid attention to me even though she was hot," Munter Gundersen recounted.

As for giving Petersen a run for his money, Munter Gundersen says it will all come together in a few weeks at the AGDF 5 Dressage CDI 4*.

"I think in two weeks, we're going to get Lars. At least we'll try!" she laughed.

Cesar Parra was the top American finisher for the class, riding Van the Man to a 71.975%. He too sees his routine coming along as the horse continues to mature.

"I'm very, very happy with him. He's a very hot horse. A very special horse; he's my special child," he smiled.

Parra continued, "I think he's a wonderful horse that is maturing a lot, and I really have big expectations for him. I think very soon everything will come together, and everyone will see his greatness in the ring. I'm very proud to be representing the United States with him."