Lars Petersen might have an unexpected detour to make this summer. He’s been notified that he might need to contribute to the Danish team’s efforts at the European Championships, so he’s getting Succes ready.
The first step in that preparation was winning the Grand Prix B test (66.62%) and the Grand Prix Special (71.56%) at the Raleigh CDI-W/Y/J Capital Dressage Classic, June 1-3 in Raleigh, N.C.
Succes (Blue Hors Silver Moon—Wapeti) is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Petersen. The pair would surely have had a higher score in the Grand Prix were it not for some problems in the corner near M. Succes spooked twice in that corner, which Petersen said had become a pattern at Raleigh.
“He’s a very hot horse and very spooky. I’ve shown him myself three times in Raleigh and he always spooks in that corner on the first day of competition,” Petersen said. “I think he hears the people up top in the stands. You know, when you are down in that ring, there is actually a lot more noise coming from above than you think. That’s not an excuse, because he should be able to deal with it, but it’s just what happens.”
For some time, Petersen’s partner, Melissa Taylor, had actually been doing most of the riding and showing with Succes. She even qualified with him to compete in this year’s USEF National Dressage Championships being held during the Collecting Gaits Farm Festival of Champions in Gladstone, N.J.
Petersen only recently began competing Succes again with the aim of qualifying with him for next year’s FEI World Cup Final. But the pair’s immediate future is a bit unknown. Denmark’s dressage team is in need of a bit of help, and the team’s trainer, Rudolph Zeilinger, is making a trip to the United States to evaluate Petersen and Succes.
If he decides the two should go for the Danish team, then they’ll be traveling to Europe to compete in the European Championships on Aug. 27-Sept. 2 in Torino, Italy.
“If that happens then I’ll go over for about four weeks, do a small show for a warm-up and then do the Championships,” Petersen said. He admitted he’s a little ambivalent because he doesn’t like leaving home right now with so many horses in training. “But if Rudolph feels we should do this, then we will.”
Petersen and Succes didn’t compete in Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix freestyle, which left the door wide open for a star horse not seen on the show circuit for some time—Rainier.
Rainier and Katherine Bateson-Chandler finished second in the Grand Prix with a score of 65.95 percent right behind Petersen and Succes. But they moved up to the win in the freestyle with a 69.75 percent. Behind them in second was Susan Dutta with Gumshoes DC (68.70%).
Bateson-Chandler stopped competing Rainier, once the mount of Robert Dover, about two years ago. In the interim, the big gray hung out in his field and schooled the Grand Prix moves at home with Bateson-Chandler.
Earlier this year, the 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Jane Forbes Clark seemed better than ever, and Bateson-Chandler and Clark decided to compete him once again, just to see how he’d do. “And he’s doing great,” Bateson-Chandler said.
Bateson-Chandler has actually known Rainier for eight years. She was his groom when Dover was riding him. So as a pair, they’re certainly familiar with one another. She admits she made mistakes with him
when she first took over the ride because she lacked experience at the FEI level. “He was my first Grand Prix horse,” she said. “But I’ve learned a bit more in these two years and so I’m hoping I’m riding him better and that we’re a better team.”
How long Rainier (Rolando—Elenora) will remain on the show circuit is unclear. Bateson-Chandler said she takes it a step at a time and as soon as he indicates he no longer wants to be in the ring, she’ll take him out. “I’ll take him to Gladstone, maybe to Devon [Pa.]—some fun stuff. But, it’s up to him,” she said.
She Won Too
While Taylor had to give up her ride on Succes, she more than made up for it in Intermediaire competition, where she won a large Intermediaire I class on Schumacker Solyst (68.58%).
Taylor and the 13-year-old Danish gelding (Schwadroneur—Patricia Solyst) also took second in the Intermediaire I freestyle with a score of 69.00 percent.
Susan Dutta won the freestyle on Pik L with a 71.83 percent. Pik L (Pik Bube II—Abaja) is a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Horses Unlimited that had previously been the ride of Cesar Parra.
Taylor owns Schumacker Solyst, who was extremely pleased with himself after winning the Intermediaire I. His victory gallop turned into a victory romp gone a bit wild, but Taylor rode through it with a huge smile as show announcer Charlie Musco jokingly told her to “hang on and stay with him.”
“He loves to win but the clapping gets him wound up,” Taylor said. “He’s proud of himself so I don’t get mad at him. I just let him do it.”
In Prix St. Georges competition, Shawna Harding had a great ride on the 8-year-old Dutch gelding Come On III (Come Back II—Canna), winning with a score of 69.33 percent. They weren’t so lucky the next day in the Intermediaire competition. Come On III spooked at something in the stands as he came down centerline and never lost his tension throughout the test.
“It was very bad luck, but he is young and although very upset still tried to do what I asked in the more forward work,” Harding said. She believes that as the gelding gains more show experience, he’ll become a solid competitor. The pair have already qualified to compete in the USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship for 7-9-year-old horses to be held in Lexington, Ky., in September.
Harding has had Come On III since he was 5, when she found him in Europe, and she competed him while in Europe. She showed him at Prix St. Georges last year and just started Intermediaire with him this year. Harding said it’s been awhile since she’s had a good horse of her own to ride and that makes Come On III rather special to her.