November 2015 Issue - page 6

Page 6
November 2015
Nor’easter Soaks Grounds But Not Spirits at 40th Annual Dressage at Devon
(Continued on page 31)
A nor’easter that drenched
the mid-Atlantic region during
Dressage at Devon’s 40th annual
show September 29-October 4
forced secretaries to reschedule
classes, including the iconic
Grand Prix Freestyle, held for 39
years on Saturday night. A deluge
of rain and the concern for the
safety of the riders made it nec-
essary to postpone the FEI Grand
Prix B, the qualifier for the Grand
Prix Freestyle, until Saturday. As
a result, the Grand Prix Freestyle
was moved to Sunday. Riders
changed plane reservations and
horses missed out on their regular
warm-up routines. Because of the
flexibility of all involved, specta-
tors, riders and horses were able
to go home having experienced a
world-class show.
With the sun actually peek-
ing out from behind the clouds,
the rescheduled FEI Grand Prix
Freestyle took place Sunday
morning. It was ladies day with
female riders claiming the top
three places. My Lady, a bay
Danish Warmblood owned by
Janne Rumbough, danced into
first place under the guidance of
her rider, Mikala Gundersen. My
Lady, who also won Saturday’s
Grand Prix Freestyle Qualifier
with a score of 72.24%, demon-
strated even more of her scope
in the freestyle performance,
earning a score of 77.875%. The
mare’s elasticity enabled Gunder-
sen to have fun with the music,
showing off, for example, sponta-
neous transitions and big, expres-
sive tempis. Gundersen hopes
to ride My Lady for Denmark in
the 2016 Olympics. Mikala, who
grew up in Denmark, now lives
in Wellington, FL but maintains
roots in Denmark. They trav-
elled to Europe in both 2013 and
2014 to compete with the Danish
Team; the highlight of their
competitions was the 2014 World
Equestrian Games in France.
Gundersen admitted the
changes in this year’s schedule
made the qualifier more chal-
lenging. The wet weather had
interrupted My Lady’s warm up
routine, causing her to be a little
tense. Also, when they came out
under the lights she was in “free-
style mode.” Today, she was back
to her usual self, enjoying the
musical accompaniment to the
freestyle performance. “My Lady
loves the music,” says Gunders-
en, “she listens to it and prepares
for the next move.”
Lisa Wilcox rode Galant, a
Belgium Warmblood gelding,
into second place with a challeng-
ing freestyle that earned a score
of 73.950%. Belinda Trussel and
Anton, a Warmblood gelding,
took third place with their virtual-
ly mistake-free ride that merited a
score of 73.700%.
FEI Pony Individual Test
In her first appearance at
Dressage at Devon, Hannah Irons
won the FEI Pony Individual Test
with a score of 66.341%, riding
Bohdjan, a 16-year-old gray
Dutch Sport Pony that she leases
from Dressage4Kids, an organi-
zation dedicated to encouraging
riders under 21 to become true
Barbara (Bebe) Davis rode
Bohdjan at FEI level before
donating him to Dressage4Kids.
Irons is thankful for the opportu-
nity to ride a pony of his caliber.
“He’s challenging to ride,” says
Irons, explaining that since he
knows the test so well, he tends
to anticipate the movements and
sometimes wants to take charge.
She plans to return next year, see-
ing the show as one step along her
journey towards qualifying for the
Festival of Champions next year.
FEI Intermediaire 1 Freestyle
The top three horse-rider
teams in the FEI Intermediaire 1
Freestyle all boosted their scores
with open, fluid half-passes.
Christina Vinios and Folkestone,
her nine-year-old bay Oldenburg
gelding, scored 73.292% for the
blue ribbon. Katie Riley moved
My Lady, a Danish Warmblood owned by Janne Rumbough and ridden by Mikala Gundersen, a native
of Denmark who now lives in Wellington, FL, danced her way to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle Cham-
pionship. Challenging weather forced the postponement of the prestigious Freestyle for the first time in
the show’s 40 year history.
Photo credit: Hoof Print Images 2015
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