The stands were filled with eager spectators at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), as competitors from around the world took to the Global International Ring for the “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms. Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady impressed the judging panel to earn a 79.075% for their first major win at AGDF this season. Fellow Dane Lars Petersen and Mariett followed in second place with a 76.600%, while Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 finished in third place with a 76.425%. Competition at AGDF on Saturday includes the conclusion of CDI 3*/5* competition, with the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, at 1 p.m. and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms at 4 p.m.
Gundersen and My Lady were one of the most winning combinations on the AGDF circuit in 2015 and their victory tonight marked their first CDI 5* win since 2013, when the duo took home first place in the CDI 5* Grand Prix Special at AGDF.
“Lady was really good. She was very good yesterday, but I planned to push a little bit more today and see if I could put her up a little bit higher in the neck,” Gundersen said. “I had that in the warm-up and then when I came in, when my music was supposed to start it didn’t, so I went to circle. Then the music started, and I tried to finish my circle, but Lady was like ‘No, no. Wrong way,’ and went for the centerline. Once I hit the centerline, she went into the passage, and I knew that we were good.”
The pair thrives in consistency, and they are usually expected to finish atop their respective classes. Gundersen noted that Lady is reliable in big atmospheres such as the freestyle, even though she is an incredibly sensitive horse, because she is so well-versed in their choreography and enjoys performing for a crowd.
“Every time I go down the centerline it’s a new feeling. This is a very sensitive horse, and it’s not like we push a button and then get to go to a Grand Prix,” she elaborated. “It’s always different, and we are always trying to make it better. Since she’s so sensitive, I don’t always know what I have, but I had a good feeling and she was on it tonight. She wanted to do well.”
The stands were overflowing at AGDF tonight, as the facility was filled with spectators who journeyed from around the state to watch the only FEI CDI 5* competition at AGDF this season.
“I heard the crowd at the end, and I really felt it on the way out. I thought to myself that that was the biggest applause we’ve ever had. I know the music is fun and it gets people out of their seats. I think that going last with that music was a little bit like, ‘Okay, lets finish this party.'”