Loxahatchee, FL- March 25, 2013- Lars Petersen and Mariett put in top-notch performances at the March 21-24 International Horse Sport (IHS) Champions Cup to continue their winning streak. They delivered a one-two punch to pick up wins in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle, repeating their results from the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W two weeks prior. Both events were held at the IHS Champions Park at Equestrian Estates.

The Freestyle on March 23 impressed the judges as the pair racked up a 74.950% to a circus-music themed freestyle to win the Champions Cup. Petersen and Mariett, Marcia Pepper’s 15-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, scored a 73.745% in Friday’s Grand Prix to set up the double-header.

“It’s been a good season,” Petersen said. “The mare is getting better and better. She’s really coming along. She can be a woman with an opinion sometimes but I really enjoy riding her now.”

Lars Petersen and Mariett

Pepper said she was euphoric. “The winning never gets old,” Pepper said. She added that the next step was showing at the Adequan® Global Dressage Wellington CDI5* April 4-7. “After that, we are hoping to have the horse assessed and possibly do the Danish Championships,” she elaborated.
Shelly Francis and Doktor proved their consistency once again by earning second place in both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle. Francis and Doktor, a 10-year-old bay gelding owned by Patricia Stempel, also picked up red ribbons in the Grand Prix and Freestyle at the Feb. 28-March 3 Dressage Derby.

“I’m really happy,” she said. “He’s staying consistent and improving and some things are rider-induced but he tries very, very hard. He wants to be a big superstar for next year!”


Shelly Francis and Doktor

Francis and Doktor are ranked third in the North American League standings for the Reem Acra World Cup Final set for the end of April in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Champions Cup was the final North American qualifier for the World Cup. The top two pairs in the standings, David Marcus with Chrevi’s Capital and Jacqueline Brooks with D Niro, now have the opportunity to compete in Sweden.


Marcus put in solid performances at the Champions Cup aboard Don Kontes, a 13-year-old dark bay Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Deborah Kinzinger. The team placed fifth in the Grand Prix as well as the Grand Prix Freestyle.


“I was much happier with him today,” Marcus said after his Freestyle ride. “Today his heart felt like it was in the right place and he was really trying. There was a mistake in the ones and I tried to recover from that but I guess I did six instead of nine.”

David Marcus and Don Kontes

Marcus added that he used to think that the freestyle music, borrowed from Chrevi’s Capital, would be too dramatic for Don Kontes, but as Don Kontes has become stronger, he has risen to the music. “It’s very powerful music from ‘Clash of the Titans,’ but now I think it suits him quite well,” Marcus said.

Canada’s Diane Creech and Devon L, a 13-year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding owned by Douglas W. Leatherdale, took the third place slot in the Grand Prix and then won the Grand Prix Special. The pair ranks fifth in the World Cup standings. Creech came to the Champions Cup with a plan to make showing more routine for the horse. “Just going out and doing it,” she said. “It’s no stress. It’s just like training at home.  So it just has to become normal for him. And it is slowly but surely becoming that way.”

Janne Rumbough made a successful CDI Grand Prix debut, taking home sixth in the Grand Prix and second in the Grand Prix Special on her own Junior, an 11-year-old gray P.R.E. gelding she brought up herself. Rumbough, an adult amateur, moved up the ranks with Junior to compete against the professionals at the IHS Champions Cup.


Janne Rumbough and Junior

“He’s not really ready for it because he just started the Grand Prix, but where are you going to get five incredible judges to give an opinion so you can go home and work on it?” she asked. She added that her goal is to go to Devon and this show provided her the chance to help her reach her goal by getting feedback from the judges to help her train her horses.


“For me, it’s such a wonderful learning experience.” She added that Junior seems to enjoy competition and that it stems from her trainer, Mikala Gundersen of Denmark. “She’s always so positive,” Rumbough said.  “She’s the best-kept secret.”

“I’m so proud of her,” Gundersen smiled after Rumbough’s performance in the Special. “The goal this year was to do the Grand Prix. I was happy with the way he performed today. In the Special you are able to push a little bit more and I think Janne was able to do that.”

Marta Renilla of Spain took home fourth in the Grand Prix Freestyle and seventh in the Grand Prix in her first outing in the South Florida show circuit this season aboard Presumido, a 10-year-old gray P.R.E. stallion. Renilla traveled from Tomball, TX, a suburb of Houston, to also compete against the top performance riders at the show.

“I know it’s a big trip here but I want to see what it’s like to compete with the best riders,” Renilla said.  “I want to see where I stand. For me, competition makes me ride better. That’s what I want to see-exactly where I am.”


The Sunday class offerings attracted a number of promising young horses whose riders hoped to give them experience in preparation for a move up the ranks. Local and international competitors alike persevered through windy weather to put in strong performances.

Canadian Olympic athlete Evi Strasser and daughter Tanya Strasser-Shostak both rode 9-year-old horses to wins in the Freestyle classes. Strasser started the day aboard Rigaudon Tyme to take the honors in the Intermediaire 1 Freestyle CDI1*, and Strasser-Shostak followed up on her mother’s effort with Deluxe Tyme in the Young Rider Freestyle.

Evi Strasser and Rigaudon Tyme

“I was very happy with it,” Strasser said of her ride. “He was trying very hard. It’s getting better and better.”

“We’re going to do a couple more small tour events in the middle of the season and continue training him to the Grand Prix level,” she added. “This is just a way to go out in the ring and get confident. Once we know that he’s not worried about the ring any more, that he’s consistent in it, then we’ll go up. That’s the plan.”

Strasser-Shostak was pleased with Deluxe Tyme’s effort in his first freestyle competition. She recently took over the ride on him from her mother. “I’ve only ridden him for probably three and a half weeks, so it’s kind of a really big rush!” she said. “I want to continue getting him used to the ring. Two shows ago, he was just terrified of everything, so I’d say he came a long way already. I just want to get some mileage on him and then see how things go from there!”

Earlier in the weekend, Strasser-Shostak collected second-place finishes behind Ally Dunlop and Danero in the Young Rider Team and Individual Tests. Strasser and Rigaudon Tyme also achieved good results, earning fourth place in the Prix St. Georges and second place in the Intermediaire 1. Francis and the promising Danilo won both of those classes with scores in the 70s, suggesting they will be ones to watch going forward.
Although Sunday’s classes closed out a successful weekend of Champions Cup competition, highlighted by double wins by Lars Petersen and Mariett, the organizers of the event, International Horse Sport, have cancelled their next event, Dressage at Equestrian Estates CDI3* slated for March 28-31.


In their official statement, they said: Please be advised that the Dressage at Equestrian Estates CDI3* Loxahatchee, FL, USA, to be held at the IHS Champions Horse Park at Equestrian Estates March 28-31, 2013, has been canceled for this year’s 2013 date as this date coincides with the holiday week of Passover and Easter.


As always, we thank our competitors for all their support throughout the season at IHS Champions Park.

For show results, log onto ihspb.com/schedule.htm