Lars Petersen & Mariett Win Florida CDI3* Grand Prix With Personal Best Score

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Lars Petersen and Mariett posting their best ever Grand Prix score at the West Palm Beach, Florida CDI3*. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Feb. 8–Lars Petersen rode Mariett, the Danish Warmblood mare that was feared would not recover from a serious foot injury that took two years to heal, won the WCD Spring Challenge CDI3* Grand Prix Friday with a personal best score of 71.979 per cent.

In the 11 months since Lars started competing the 15-year-old Mariett (Comeback II x Zendi x Sidney), the pair have finished in the top 5 in 11 of their 17 starts. Friday’s result surpassed their previous Grand Prix high score of 71.809 per cent in the CDI5* at this same Jim Brandon Equestrian Center two weeks ago.

Canada’s Diane Creech, who is coached by Lars, rode Devon L to second place on 67.064 per cent with Bernd Schopf of Germany on De Value in third on 65.511 per cent.

Diane Creech and Devon L. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Lars said after the ride that he plans another three or four CDIs during the Florida winter circuit and if Mariett continues to develop discuss with Danish team coach Rudolf Zeillinger whether the horse could be a member of the Danish team for the European Championships in his homeland in August. First, he would discuss it with Marcia Pepper, the owner who had originally bought the horse from Lars for her to ride.

But in her stall, the mare tore off a foot up to the coronet band. It took two years for the hoof to grow back and despite fears she might not be able to compete again, Marcia turned Mariett over to Lars to train.

Now the horse is competing at the top level, Marcia jokes that she gets the ribbons.

“She has been very tough in her throughness,” Lars said, “but she is finally starting to come through. I’m happy with the development of her now.

“I think she can be one of the better horses we’ve had.

“As she did not compete for two years I hope we get those two years on the back end.”

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian for his native Denmark on Uffe Korshojgaard, Lars is best known for riding Blue Hors Cavan at the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome, the European Championships in 1999 and 2001 and reserve champion at the 2002 World Cup Final.

Lars and Melissa Taylor, his personal and business partner for the past six years, plan to marry later this year. They live in Wellington and together have built a training business in neighboring Loxahatchee that has 50 horses at their stables during the winter circuit.

Lars first came to the United States almost 30 years ago but returned to Denmark for 10 years as the in-house trainer for Blue Hors. He came back to America 11 years ago.

The 47-year-old Lars said that he is eligible to apply for American citizenship in less than a year and plans to do so.

“I like it here,” he said. “I like Denmark, too… to visit.”

CDI Grand Prix Scores