Palm Beach Likely to Drop Another Dressage Show in 2009/2010 Winter
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WELLINGTON, Florida, USA, July 16–Palm Beach International Equestrian Center will likely hold only two dressage shows during the 2009/2010 winter circuit, down from four competitions only two years ago.
The shows that ESP Executive Vice President Michael Stone said “most likely” will not be held in winter 2009/2010 will be the competition around Thanksgiving that began as Dressage at the Nationals in 2002–in 2008 it was a CDI3*–and the mid-February national show during the Winter Equestrian Festival that was not held during WEF 2009.
Instead of dressage, the Thanksgiving show will feature the Palm Beach Steeplechase that was inaugurated last year at the former Palm Beach Polo Club. In 2008, a CDI3* dressage competition was held in conjunction with Holiday & Horses hunter/jumper show. The event was held one week after the inaugural steeplechase which siphoned off promotion and marketing efforts for both the hunter/jumper and dressage competitions.
Stone said that ESP is “planning to hold the Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI5* during the fourth week of WEF at the beginning of February in 2010 and we also hope to hold the CDI3* in mid-March.”
Stadium Jumping, Inc. that created and managed shows at the same show grounds until mid-December, 2007, had staged four dressage competitions.
With the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games scheduled for Kentucky in the fall of 2010, high performance competitions are critical to qualification and to the development of horses and riders at the highest levels of the Olympic discipline.
In its first year of operating PBIEC in 2008, ESP moved the WEF dressage competitions from the main North Grounds to what used to be Littlewood show grounds that was renamed the South Grounds.
The move was widely criticized by dressage competitors and horse owners because of what they reported as bad footing, sub-standard stabling and inadequate warm up areas.
Dressage at other venues in Palm Beach has grown substantially in recent years.
The long-established Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W and Dressage at Equestrian Estates are held in Loxahatchee, adjoining Wellington, as are a series of Welcome Back to White Fences competitions.
The biggest impact has been created by the Wellington Classic Dressage Series at the taxpayer-owned Jim Brandon Equestrian Center with permanent stabling and a large covered arena five miles (8km) from Wellington. The local non-profit dressage club, Gold Coast Dressage Association (GCDA), also hold its competitions at the Brandon center.
The Wellington Classic Series has instituted competitions year-round and will host the U.S. Dressage Federation Region 3 finals Oct. 22-25.
Wellington Classic Dressage, GCDA and the Palm Beach Derby each hold CDI-W World Cup qualifiers, while PBIEC is scheduled to host the Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI5* and a CDI3* in March.
CDIs are the only competitions that qualify horse/rider combinations for the USEF Grand Prix National Championships which will also be the final selection competition for the U.S. team for WEG 2010.