PSdressage caught up with Grand Prix rider Mikala Munter Gundersen who hails from Denmark but makes her home in South Florida. At Dressage at Devon, she rode My Lady, a Danish Warmblood mare owned by Janne Rumbough, to a fifth place finish in the Grand Prix Freestyle and a fourth place in the Grand Prix. We asked the rider, who celebrated her birthday while in Devon, about her results there, her summer training in Europe and her plans going forward.
I was really, really happy with My Lady. We had very strong competition there and I’m really happy with how we placed. All the things we worked on over the summer and all the things we worked on in Europe - it was all proof of what she learned. I went to Devon with a horse that was super fit and very, very happy to be there.
Mikala Munter Gundersen and My Lady in the Grand Prix at Dressage at Devon
We were in Europe for two months and went to some big shows over there and it seems like she has matured tremendously from that trip in two ways. Training-wise, I was with my trainer, Ernst Hoyos, every day for over two months so the training was very focused and concentrated. And then, we went to all these big horse shows where there was a lot of atmosphere. This is a horse that’s very hot and alert and I will say that going from show to show over there just made her calmer. I think she got to all these big shows in Europe and she found out that, ‘OK. I guess this is my life. This is what we’re doing. I can do that.’ She was just overwhelmed in the beginning because she hadn’t done much before I got her.
When she first came to us, when we came to horse shows she would be running around her stall, screaming, kicking the walls all the time. And now she comes in here and she settles right down and she’s just like, ‘Oh, this is cool. Here is just another horse show. We can do this.’ It’s amazing how much she’s learned.
Mikala Munter Gundersen and My Lady schooling in Devon
Every show is a new show but I think she’s more with me now. She’s more focused on me now. I think the time we had the two of us together, we bonded and we just spent so much time together because we basically lived together. I didn’t bring a groom with me to Europe. I just enjoyed traveling with her and I really got to know her and she got to know me better. We just trusted each other and I feel I really have her now.
Devon is a big atmosphere. There’s a lot going on but if she’s going to go to a championship one day, she has to be able to go everywhere. I rode the Grand Prix a little conservatively there and I could have pushed a little bit more. I was so happy that she was paying attention, and focusing on me and really doing a good job.
Mikala Munter Gundersen and My Lady at the FEI Horse Inspection at Dressage at Devon
My Lady is back in Florida and we have three months now to get the fitness even better. She did really well in the freestyle at Devon but the judges didn’t like my music so well. This was the second time we rode it in a test and I will be honest and say I really didn’t love it either. I loved the way Lady went, but I wasn’t in love with the music. So the next three months we are going to spend a lot of time making a very special freestyle for her. We are working with a British composer and he’ll help us create something just for her. That’s really good because we can’t change the horse but we can change the music somewhere. I decided that now we are going to go all the way and try to create something very special because she is such a special horse and she deserves the best music.
I just want to say how grateful I am that Janne Rumbough has given me the opportunity to ride these horses. Without her, I couldn’t be doing all this. My Lady is every day a birthday present. It’s been a lot of hard work but now I can just really enjoy the ride. It’s wonderful!
When you have horses you can’t really make plans but I have goals, yes, and dreams. Lots of dreams.