Saugerties, N.Y. – Denmark’s Lars Petersen rode Mariett to victory in the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle at the New England Dressage Association’s Fall Festival of Dressage. Petersen and the 15-year-old Danish Warmblood mare scored a 76.575 percent for the win. Placing second, with a score of 72.325, was Canadian rider Jaqueline Brooks with the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding D Niro. Third place went to Australia’s Kelly Layne riding the 12-year-old KWPN Gelding Udon P to a score of 71.850 percent. The win was an improvement from Friday when Petersen and Mariett placed third in the CDI Grand Prix with a score of 68.064 behind winners Ashley Holzer and Jewel’s Adelante and second-place finishers David Marcus and Chevri’s Capital. Holzer scored a 71.149 for her win and Marcus scored a 69.298 percent.
Petersen said Mariett felt much easier and smoother in the freestyle ride at NEDA than in past rides. “I felt that things were easier but I still think I can do better.” And better will come, he said, as the mare gains experience. Petersen and Mariett will be heading down the road this week to compete at Dressage at Devon as they continue their campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Petersen said he’s taking things one step at a time focusing first on the World Cup and then maybe the World Equestrian Games after that.
While Petersen’s freestyle ride went smoothly, it wasn’t so for a couple of other riders competing in the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle, particularly Julio Mendoz with Ivan and Sharon McCusker with Wrigley. Both had problems with their music. Mendoz lost his music during his ride when there was a momentary loss of power in the announcer’s booth. McCusker’s music started skipping in the middle of her ride.
“The ride today was going great and then half-way through, my music was just tripping. What are you going to do?,” McCusker said. “I made my best shot of where I had been in the canter tour but it wasn’t spot on. It was hard to let him down and pick it back up. But I’m extremely happy with my horse and how he did.”
10-Year-Old Anya Armstrong is a Big NEDA Winner
As the competition wrapped-up for the day at the New England Dressage Association’s Fall Festival, the food, drink and entertainment took over as competitors gathered for the show’s party. This year’s party featured a costume competition – one for golf carts and one for individuals – as well as the annual hula hoop competition.
The big winner of the night was 10-year-old Anya Armstrong, of Manhattan, New York, who not only won the individual costume contest for a $100 cash prize, but also won the hula hoop competition with a $25 gift certificate. The theme for this year’s costume competition was the Wizard of Oz and Armstrong dressed as Dorothy. But Dorothy was not alone. Toto was with her and playing that role was the two-year old Corgi Elmo. Armstrong gave much credit to Elmo for her win in the costume competition. “I wouldn’t have done it without him,” she said.
Armstrong looked quite shocked after judges declared her the costume contest winner and told her of the cash prize. “I think it really came down to having Elmo. Having a dog really made the costume better,” she said. Clearly judges agreed.