Denmark's Mikala Gundersen and the Horses Unlimited stallion Leonberg won the Intermediaire II Friday at the Zada WEF Dressage CDI 3*, the first competition for the pair. The pair scored 64.959 per cent, with Canada's Jacqueline Brooks and Balmoral second with 61.626 per cent and Australia's Jules Anderson and Narobi third with 57.886 per cent.
Gundersen, 39, and her husband, Henrik, and their two children, moved to the United States three and a half years ago. She rides Horses Unlimited's breeding stallions, including Pik L that she has started showing Grand Prix.
She started riding, Leonberg, a 14-year-old Zweibrucken stallion who is registered Hanoverian, last Thanksgiving. "I was warned that he he was crazy in the ring," she said. "I'm so thrilled at how calm and relaxed he was in the this big stadium," she said after their ride in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
"This ring is so phenomenal. The footing is excellent. It's so much fun to show in this big stadium. "I hope everyone who loves dressage will come out Saturday night for the freestyle so see how amazing this facility is."
Gundersen said that her goal with Leonberg is to aim for the 2009 European championships as a member of the Danish team, and after that the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky.
"He's not strong enough for the Grand Prix yet," she said, joking that he will spend time on the HorseGym treadmill that her Grand Prix jumper husband distributes in the United States. But she plans to make her debut in the Grand Prix with him at the CDI in Raleigh, N.C. in June.
Photo: Mikala Gundersen and Leonberg in the Zada WEF CDI 3* Intermediaire II at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Friday. Photo: Susan J. Stickle.