Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 7
Lars Petersen, winner of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI**** Grand Prix freestyle, rides for Denmark. His mount for the win, Mariett, is a Danish Warmblood. But Petersen and Mariett weren’t the only Danes at the top of the leaderboard Friday night. Tina Konyot’s Calecto V, who finished second on 75.50 percent, is also a Danish Warmblood, and the third-placed pair, Mikala Gundersen and My Lady, are both Danish as well.
“I’m feeling very Danish!” joked Konyot, Palm City, Fla. “These two Danish riders are both wonderful people and good friends of mine. Both Lars’ horse and mine are by the same sire [Come Back II], so it’s a wonderful night for being Danish.”
Petersen, who’s based in Loxahatchee, Fla., and Mariett, owned by Marcia Pepper, earned a 76.40 percent for their extremely difficult freestyle, which includes two tempis to one tempis on curved lines, and then the reverse of that movement going the other way, and double pirouettes. Petersen also earned $20,000 in prize money for this win, and Konyot earned $15,000 for her second-placed finish.
During Friday’s Grand Prix, Petersen could hardly contain Mariett’s enthusiasm, and her excess energy caused the pair a few mistakes. He put that ride behind him for tonight’s test in front of a packed grandstand.
“I thought she was really good tonight,” said Petersen. “I was very happy. Yesterday she was maybe not so easy, but tonight she was with me. She came down a little bit for today.
“I don’t want to make that freestyle more difficult,” he added. “That’s it for that one.”
“I was very happy,” said FEI five-star judge Lilo Fore, who was president of the ground jury for the freestyle. “All three of these top horses showed themselves really well today. Yesterday I was a tad worried because all had little mistakes here and there, and they were all a little hot under the collar. Tonight they were really well with the riders. All three are amazingly talented horses with three wonderful gaits and really super minds. A very good Grand Prix horse has to be very hot, or they wouldn’t do the [test]. If you can channel that energy, it’s an amazing horse to ride.”
Konyot was thrilled to improve on her ride from yesterday, when she placed 11th with a 66.40 percent.
“I had so many mistakes yesterday,” she said. “I was a little frustrated with it. Thank God Robert Dover is such a huge support. He said, ‘Tina, forget about that and concentrate on what the horse can do.’ Calecto is still not quite as fit as he could be, but overall I’m really happy with him tonight.”
Calecto V, a 16-year-old stallion, hasn’t competed in a CDI since Dressage At Devon (Pa.) last September, but Konyot is considering a bid for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France) team.
Twelve riders contested the four-star freestyle. Four riders competed for the United States, five for Canada, two for Denmark and one for Germany.
Other Friday Happenings:
After finishing a close second in the three-star Grand Prix, Australia’s Kelly Layne came back to win the freestyle with Udon P (73.62%). Germany’s Kim Jesse, who’s spending her first winter in Wellington, picked up second on Charming 8 (70.20%). This was the highest CDI Grand Prix freestyle score for Layne.
“He warmed up as calm as he ever has for a competition,” said Layne, who rode to an ABBA freestyle made my Marlene Whitaker. “I feel like that’s really due to having more mileage in the ring. He was very concentrated and very focused. He’s starting to know his music cues, and that’s really exciting. That makes the whole routine feel much smoother and more harmonious.”
Layne, who’s based in Wellington, will head to Europe this summer with Udon P, a 18.1-hand Dutch Warmblood (Hierarch—Maleida) gelding owned by Whistlejacket Farm, to make a bid for the Australian team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France).
Charming 8, a 16-year-old Rheinlander (Champus—Lesley S) stallion owned by Dirk Haese, is fresh out of quarantine from his trip overseas.
“It’s a great opportunity to ride so many international competitions,” said Jesse, who’s usually based in Warendorf, Germany. “It’s a good point here because you can ride and train in one place. It’s also good for the horses. They have one long travel, and then it’s much less stress than all the traveling [they’d do in Europe].”
Juan Matute Jr., 16, beat a roster of veteran riders in the CDI Prix St. Georges, winning with Don Diego Ymas on a 71.18 percent. Chris Hickey finished second on Ronaldo (70.74%).
“I think there’s always stuff to improve, but I believe Don Diego and I are creating a stronger bond all the time,” he said. “Now we have so much confidence in each other, and we’re completely partners in crime.”
Matute, Wellington, also topped the FEI Junior Team test with Dhannie Ymas.
Ronaldo’s dam, Trostruplunds Scarlet, is also competing here this weekend, doing the three-star Grand Prix and Grand Prix freestyle with Kasey Perry aboard. The two horses jogged one after the other on Wednesday. Hickey’s been riding the 8-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Cece Stewart since the horse was 4.
“Historically I’ve been the most successful on horses I’ve trained from the beginning,” said Hickey. “I think it’s important to build a bond with a horse from the beginning, and then you know everything about them; you know the good and bad experiences they’ve had, though hopefully there weren’t any bad ones.”
Full results from today’s classes available online.