Germany and the Netherlands are often considered the powerhouses of European dressage, but you wouldn't know it looking at the results of the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle competition at the Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge CDI. The top three finishers all hail from Denmark.
The win in the Freestyle competition went to Denmark's Lars Petersen riding Succes with a score of 76.65. Second went to Danish rider Mikala Gundersen with Leonberg and a score of 70.45 and third went to a Danish native who now rides for the U.S. – Bent Jensen riding Liberty Light to a score of 69.15 percent.
Petersen and Succes, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood by Blu Hors Silvermoon, have been a powerhouse team on the 2009 Florida circuit. "It's been going really well," Petersen said of the winter season. This weekend's CDI win puts the pair in a good position on their road to qualifying for the upcoming Dressage World Cup in Las Vegas in April.
Petersen said he recently made some changes to his freestyle, mostly in the canter work, which was a bit difficult and left him with little opportunity to make adjustments based on how the ride was going.
Now he can more easily adjust if necessary. The next stop for Petersen and Succes is the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI.
Gundersen and Leonberg, a 14-year-old Zweibrucken stallion that is a licensed RPSI and accepted into the ISR/Old NA stallion book in the USA and is owned by Horses Unlimited, have had several wins in Open Grand Prix competition during the Florida circuit.
Their second-place finish in this weekend's CDI Grand Prix Freestyle showed that they're definitely ready for the big tour.
Jensen, a year-round Florida resident, and Liberty Light have been successfully paired for several years. The 13-year-old Dutch gelding is owned by Randi Barenholtz and was imported from Holland in 2003.