WELLINGTON, Fla., Dec. 6--Denmark's Lars Petersen played his crowd-wowing cartoon medley to Success to capture his second straight major Grand Prix Freestyle with a convincing win at the Holiday & Horses CDI 3* at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Saturday night.
The score of 73.90 per cent with four of the five judges awarding first place for the longtime partnership that began in Europe and flowered in America edged out 2006 World Cup Finalist Arlene "Tuny" Page and Wild One of the USA who placed second with 70.00 per cent and the USA's Tara Stegen and New Tango finished third on 67.55 per cent.
Mikala Munter Gundersen, also of Denmark and the wife of Danish jumping Grand Prix rider Henrik Gundersen, rode the Horses Unlimited-owned Leonberg to fourth place with a score of 67.20 per cent.
Several hundred spectators turned out in cool sub-tropical weather for the inaugural CDI during the holiday season in the newly remodeled Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Choirs from Palm Beach area schools performed seasonal songs.
FEI World Four-in-Hand 2008 silver medalist Chester Weber drove a team of four miniature horses with Santa Claus in the carriage as a popular celebration of both the multimillion dollar improvements to PBIEC and the launch of the premier winter circuit.
A feature of the Holiday & Horses show is the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Champioship presented by Equine Motorcoach.
Todd Minikus and Pavarotti won the first phase, a speed class, on Friday night in the same arena with footing by Belgium's Bart Poels that was the stage for the dressage musical freestyle. The championship final, a Grand Prix and also a World Cup qualifier, will be held Sunday afternoon.
But Petersen, the Danish Olympic and World Cup star and the rider for the famous Blue Hors stud, captured the spotlight Saturday night with the 13-year-old gray gelding by Blue Hors Silvermoon.
Petersen, now 43 and who lives in Wellington, said that with the win Friday in the Grand Prix and the freestyle victory Saturday night, he was on track seeking a berth at next April's World Cup Finals in Las Vegas.
After the pair won the freestyle at Dressage at Devon, he rested Success for a few weeks.
"I'm really glad this show was added to the calendar," he said. "It is a beautiful show grounds with fabulous footing. If we didn't have this CDI we would have a break of almost four months between major competitions."
Petersen said that if he qualifies for the 2009 FEI World Cup--he has to finish near the top in the North American League which has strong contenders such as the USA's Steffen Peters and Ravel and Canada's Ashley Holzer and Pop Art--it will be with a new freestyle.
"It will still be the cartoon music that has been popular but it will be completely different than what I have been showing," he said.
Tuny Page, who is familiar to European audiences with her appearance with Wild One at the World Cup Final in Amsterdam in 2006 and appearances in other major shows, said she is back onb track with Wild One.
She was working with Petersen in 2006, when he also had 30 horses in training at her Stillpoint Farm in Wellington.
"When he decided to move... I suddenly found that instead of dealing with one trainer I was dealing with several trainers and riders as well as trying to juggle my family," she said.
"I had a lot to manage."
The past year had not been easy, she said, but believes that she now is managing well both her horses, Wild One and the 10-year-old Danish mare Alina.
The goal now, she said, is "to trust the horse more thoroughly which in turn will give him more confidence."
She said she has not set her sights on any specific championship such as World Cups or the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky.
"We're just taking it one show at a time," she said.
PBIEC INFORMATION & TICKETS: http://www.equestriansport.com
561/793-5867 or http://www.equestriansport.com
THE FACILITY: The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival and the site of the first outdoor Nations Cup held in the United States. The competition areas include the 360' x 280' all-weather International Arena, the Bertalan DeNemethy Arena, Mogavero Ring and Grand Hunter Field in addition to several other competition rings. The competition and warm up rings have all-weather footing. Amenities include the International Club, refreshment and shopping areas.
DIRECTIONS: From the Florida Turnpike south, take Exit #93, Lake Worth Blvd., and travel west, crossing over US 441. Travel five miles to South Shore Blvd., turn right on South Shore and proceed one mile to Pierson Road, then turn left at the light. Spectator Entrance is first left, Equestrian Club Road.
From Interstate I-95, take Exit #49. Travel west on Forest Hills Blvd. 11 miles to South Shore Blvd. Turn left on South Shore and follow to Pierson Road. Turn right at the light on Pierson. Spectator Entrance is first left, Equestrian Club Road.
FOOD: A diverse menu of food and beverages is available at the vendor courtyard and at vendor areas around the International Arena, and are open during show hours.
SHOPPING: The vendor courtyard and individual booths around the International Arena offer equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry, home furnishings and more.
CAR RENTAL: Enterprise Rent-a-Car for your car rental needs. Call 1-800-593-0505 or go online to enterprise.com and use the WEF reference number 41W0087 and the PIN; win for a discount.
HOTELS: Hampton Inn and Suites Wellington
2155 Wellington Green Drive, Wellington, FL 561-472-9696
(Closest hotel, just two miles from show grounds)
Hampton Inn Lake Worth Road
8205 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL 561-472-5980
(New location just five miles from Wellington)
Hampton Inn West Palm Beach
Okeechobee Blvd. at Jog Rd.
2025 Vista Parkway, West Palm Beach, FL 561-682-9990
(Just 12 miles away at Emerald Dunes)
GOLF CARS: Dever, Inc., the Official & Exclusive Supplier of Golf Cars. Orders and information at http://www.deverinc.com
or telephone Dever Inc.'s PBIEC office at 859-509-7265 or the home office at 800-714-2201.
Photo: Lars Petersen & Success perforning their Grand Prix Freestyle at the Holiday & Horses CDI 3* before newly lighted Christmas tree at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Saturday night. Photo: © 2008 Ken Braddick-HorseSport USA
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/lars-petersen-holiday-horses-freestyle-12-08.html">Lars Petersen & Success Win Holiday & Horses CDI 3* Grand Prix Freestyle</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com