Lars Petersen of Denmark and Mariett captured the win in the Grand Prix on opening day of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W at the International Horse Sport (IHS) Champions Park at Equestrian Estates in Loxahatchee, FL. The pair scored a 72.745%, besting the second place rider by more than three percentage points. Petersen and Mariett, owned by Marcia Pepper and Petersen, tallied up first place wins in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special at the February 7-10 Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge CDI3*. They also took on top riders from around the world at the World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach, earning fifth place in both the January 25 Grand Prix and the January 26 Grand Prix Freestyle. Petersen has represented Denmark at the top levels of competitive dressage for more than 10 years including at the Olympic Games, three World Equestrian Games, two World Cup Finals, and three Continental Championships. He was also named Danish National Champion five times. He was pleased with the outcome of the Grand Prix test. "I was pretty happy," he said. "Overall, I was happy with her." Pepper was thrilled with today's win. She originally competed Mariett, a 15-year-old dark bay Danish Warmblood mare, but after Pepper broke her ankle, Petersen started training the horse. Pepper said plans for the horse are hatched day-to-day. "We'll see how it develops," she said. "There has never been a plan. Ever. We're just taking it slowly."
Coming in second with a 69.391% was Shelly Francis of the United States, riding Doktor. The pair placed fifth in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival Florida Classic Dressage CDI-W February 14-17 and they placed sixth in the Grand Prix and second in the Grand Prix Special at the Wellington Classic Dressage Sunshine Classic CDI3* January 23-27. Francis, a six-year resident of Loxahatchee, said she was very pleased with her ride and with Doktor, a 10-year-old gelding. "He's getting better and better," she said. "It's his third time for this and his scores just keep getting higher and higher."
Placing third was Olympian David Marcus from Canada riding Don Kontes with a 68.277%.The pair won the Grand Prix Freestyle and took second at the WCD Sunshine Classic CDI3* January 23-27. They placed sixth in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W February 14-17, and earned second place in the Grand Prix Special at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W January 17-20. "It was a clean, mistake-free test," Marcus said. "He was relaxed out here and I couldn't have asked for more. He rode great," added Marcus' coach, six-time Olympic athlete Robert Dover.
Another Canadian, Jaimey Irwin aboard Lindor's Finest, scored a 67.532% for the fourth place spot. The pair went from a win in the Grand Prix Freestyle and a fourth place in the Grand Prix at the WCD Spring Challenge CDI3* February 7-10 to drop to a 12th place finish in the Grand Prix and an eighth place in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Florida Classic Dressage CDI-W the following weekend. "I thought he was much better," Irwin said. "He felt a lot more energetic and I was very happy. He was a super boy."
Rounding out the top six finishers were Mikala Gundersen from Denmark and My Lady with a 67.489% to place fifth and another Canadian Olympic athlete, Jacqueline Brooks on D Niro, with a 67.128%.
Another big winner today in a field of tough competitors was Kim Herslow, who scored 70.789% in the FEI Prix St. Georges test. After riding her own Rosmarin, whom she calls Reno, she was thrilled with the results."This is our third Prix St. Georges ever," she said. "We showed a couple weeks ago and he was a little tense, but now I think we're finding our groove. He was with me today and I'm really proud of him."
Before the Grand Prix competition, a flash mob was staged to honor Judge Axel Steiner. A group of competitors, owners and well-wishers encircled Steiner as they danced the "Macarena" all the while changing the words to "Hey, Axel Steiner." This year marks the final year as an FEI judge for the legendary Steiner, who has judged the Palm Beach Dressage Derby for many years. "It was my first exposure to judging with European judges," Steiner said. "This year is very important for me."
The dressage action continues all weekend with the Grand Prix Special on Saturday and the Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday as well as a host of FEI and USEF classes.
FEI Grand Prix
1. Lars Petersen - Mariett - 72.745%
2. Shelly Francis - Doktor - 69.391%
3. David Marcus - Don Kontes - 68.277%
4. Jaimey Irwin - Lindor's Finest - 67.532%
5. Mikala Gundersen - My Lady - 67.489%
6. Jacqueline Brooks - D Niro - 67.128%
7. Evi Strasser - Action Tyme - 66.447%
8. Cheryl Meisner - Tango - 66.085%
9. Diane Creech - Devon L - 65.617%
10. Jodie Stevens Kelly - Manhattan - 63.979%
FEI Prix St Georges O CDI1*
1. Kimberly Herslow - Rosmarin - 70.789%
2. Caroline V. Roffman - Her Highness O - 69.289%
3. George Williams - Cleopatra - 67.289%
4. Justin Hardin - Wyatt Star - 67.105%
5. W. Lee Tubman - De La Rosa - 66.947%
6. Silva Martin - Rose Cha W - 65.474%
7. Melissa Taylor - Chicco Roslev - 64.921%
8. Evi Strasser - Ridaudon Tyme - 64.447%
9. Susan Dutta - Lumberjack - 63.895%
10. Kristy Truebenbach Lund - Reel Adventure - 63.289%
FEI Intermediaire II (16-25)
1. Ally Potasky - Lamborghini - 65.158%
2. Cassandra Hummert-Johnson - Plato Carlos - 64.158
FEI Young Rider Team Test (PSG)
1. Ally Dunlop - Danero - 62.149%
2. Tanya Strasser-Shostak- Dancing Tyme - 61.096%
FEI Junior Rider Team Test
1. Paula Matute - Gasper - 66.937%
2. Mattie Zepernick -Wencenza - 64.865%
FEI Pony Team Rest (2012) USEF Qualifier
1. Hanna Benne - Helluva Dream Maker - 62.393%
Palm Beach Dressage Derby Presented By Blue Hors of Denmark
USEF High Performance Qualifying Competition for the 2013 World Cup
Over $20,000 in Cash and Prizes
2013 USEF National Grand Prix & Intermediaire I Championship
2013 Massy Ferguson/USEF North American Junior & Young Rider's Championship
USEF National Pony Rider Championships, USEF Developing Horse Championships
Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships, USEF National Brentina Cup Championships
USEF Level 5 Competition- USDF Musical Freestyles; USEF First thru Fourth Levels;
FEI PSG thru Grand Prix, including FEI Musical Freestyles, JY/YR, FEI Five & Six Year Old Tests.
IHS Champions Park-Equestrian Estates,
3700 Hanover Circle, Loxahatchee, FL
Feb. 28- March 3