Lars Petersen and Success Win Holiday & Horses CDI*** Grand Prix Freestyle Over Tuny Page and Wild One
RELEASE: December 8, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Ken Braddick
Denmark's Lars Petersen played his crowd-wowing cartoon medley to Success to capture his second straight major grand prix freestyle with a convincing win at the Holiday & Horses CDI*** at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Saturday night.
The score of 73.90% with four of the five judges awarding first place for the longtime partnership that began in Europe and flowered in America edged out 2006 World Cup Finalist Arlene "Tuny" Page and Wild One of the USA who placed second with 70.00% and the USA's Tara Stegen and New Tango, who finished third on 67.55%
Mikala Munter Gundersen, also of Denmark and the wife of Danish jumping grand prix rider Henrik Gundersen, rode the Horses Unlimited-owned Leonberg to fourth place with a score of 67.20%.
Several hundred spectators turned out in cool sub-tropical weather for the inaugural CDI during the holiday season in the newly remodeled Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Choirs from Palm Beach area schools performed seasonal songs.
FEI World Four-in-Hand 2008 Silver medalist Chester Weber drove a team of four miniature horses with Santa Claus in the carriage as a popular celebration of both the multimillion dollar improvements to PBIEC and the launch of the premiere winter circuit.
Petersen, the Danish Olympic and World Cup star and the rider for the famous Blue Hors stud, captured the spotlight Saturday night with the 13-year-old gray gelding by Blue Hors Silvermoon.
Petersen, now 43 and who lives in Wellington, said that with the win Friday in the grand prix and the freestyle victory Saturday night, he was on track seeking a berth at next April's World Cup Finals in Las Vegas.
After the pair won the freestyle at Dressage at Devon, he rested Success for a few weeks.
"I'm really glad this show was added to the calendar," he said. "It is a beautiful show grounds with fabulous footing. If we didn't have this CDI we would have a break of almost four months between major competitions."
Petersen said that if he qualifies for the 2009 FEI World Cup--he has to finish near the top in the North American League, which has strong contenders, such as the USA's Steffen Peters and Ravel and Canada's Ashley Holzer and Pop Art—it will be with a new freestyle.
"It will still be the cartoon music that has been popular but it will be completely different than what I have been showing," he said.
Page, who is familiar to European audiences with her appearance with Wild One at the World Cup Final in Amsterdam in 2006 and appearances in other major shows, said she is back on track with Wild One.
She was working with Petersen in 2006, when he also had 30 horses in training at her Stillpoint Farm in Wellington.
"When he decided to move...I suddenly found that instead of dealing with one trainer I was dealing with several trainers and riders as well as trying to juggle my family," she said. "I had a lot to manage."
The past year had not been easy, she said, but believes that she now is managing well both her horses, Wild One and the 10-year-old Danish mare Alina.
The goal now, she said, is "to trust the horse more thoroughly, which in turn will give him more confidence."
She said she has not set her sights on any specific championship such as World Cups or the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.
"We're just taking it one show at a time," she said.