It was Freestyle Sunday at the 32 nd Winter Equestrian Festival today – the highlight of four days of competition in the Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic in Wellington, Florida. Ruth Hogan-Poulsen won the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle with Mon Cheri scoring 68.417% and then went on to take second place in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle with Armando, who tallied up 66.333%.
Hogan-Poulsen, 37, of Plainfield, Vermont, and Wellington, Florida, started off her kur rides with Sue Michalek's 12-year-old Danish mare, Mon Cheri. The duo rode to music from the movie Ladyhawke. “It's orchestral, it's very full, and it accentuates her trot especially,” said Hogan-Poulsen.
She pointed out that the best movement the pair performed today was the half-pass right to pirouette to half-pass. “The music just flows so perfectly into it. There's a pause where the pirouette comes and it just looks like it was meant to be there – it was perfect. It's a really good feeling when it works out right, and very obvious when it's not. It went perfectly today,” said Hogan-Poulsen.
She has been partnered with the mare for 18 months. Hogan-Poulsen said the win aboard her today felt, “Fantastic! The mare has been consistently in the top three. It's just pulling off that one more point or two to win the class. In this morning's win she was right there for me. We have more qualifiers coming up so it's a good edge for us to get going into those.” Though the mare is for sale, Hogan-Poulsen is aiming Mon Cheri for the USET Foundation Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire I national championships that will be held in June in California along with the Athens Olympic Dressage Selection Trials.