Steffen, Isabell, Anky Among 18 Combos Preparing for Exquis World Dressage Masters Palm Beach

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WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 1–Steffen Peters and Ravel, Anky van Grunsven and Salinero and Isabell Werth and Satchmo joined 15 other horse and rider combinations Monday to prepare for the Exquis World Dressage Masters Palm Beach this week that kicks off the 2010 lineup of the globe’s richest dressage competitions.

Anky van Grunsven watched her first ever polo game Sunday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, Isabell Werth worked Satchmo at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center while her sister, Claudia, wheeled the baby, Frederik, nearby and Steffen Peters visited the South Florida Fair after a day of teaching.

Despite steady rain Monday, riders from Europe, Canada and the north of the United States raved about the warm weather and show grounds that they described as “amazing” and “exciting.”

The top American, Dutch and German pairs that last competed against each other a year ago at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas with Steffen Peters and Ravel coming out on top are among 18 combinations to battle for total prize money of €100,000 (US$138,000) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. WDM is the featured event of the fourth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, the world’s largest and, at 12 weeks, the longest running horse show.

All combinations will start in the Grand Prix with its prize money of €10,000 (US$13,800) beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday with the Grand Prix Special and its €30,000 (US$41,400) in prize money scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Saturday and the €60,000 (US$82,800) Grand Prix Musical Freestyle under lights at 7 p.m. Saturday sponsored by Exquis and Moorlands Stables and Moorlands Investments.

The results from Palm Beach also count toward the Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe WDM Rider Ranking bonus of €25,000 (US$36,000) to be awarded after the WDM in Munich May 13-16. Hickstead, England is the other confirmed WDM. Each event has prize money of €100,000 (US$138,000).

A special gala night of equestrian entertainment is scheduled for Friday night, featuring a “ride off” between Steffen Peters and Isabell Werth and more than one hour of the training sessions for the musical freestyle competitors.

A giveaway to spectators of $10,000 (€7,160) of Back on Track products that was a hit in 2009 will returns for the Friday and Saturday night events.

Tickets and tables in the VIP lounge for the Friday and Saturday night competitions can be ordered through www.equestriansport.com. Admission for the Thursday Grand Prix and Saturday Grand Prix Special is free.

Entries for this week’s competition are:

Staffen Peters and Ravel, USA
Anky van Grunsven and Salinero, The Netherlands
Isabell Werth and Satchmo, Germany
Ashley Holzer and Pop Art, Canada
Leslie Morse and Tip Top, USA
Ulla Salzgeber and Wakana, Germany
Anja Plönzke and Le Mont d’Or, Germany
Lauren Sammis and Sagacious HF, USA
Tina Konyot and Calecto, USA
Michael Barisone and Olympus, USA
Elisabeth Austin and Olivier, USA
Pierre St. Jacques and Lucky Tiger, USA
Belinda Trussell and Anton, Canada
Diane Creech and Devon L, Canada
Victoria Winter and Proton, Canada
Mikala Munter Gundersen and Leonberg, Denmark
Aat van Essen and Premier, The Netherlands
Christa Laarakkers and Ovation, The Netherlands

Anky and Isabell have won a combined total of 11 World Cup titles and eight Olympic gold medals in the 15 years they have dominated global dressage. Anky won the inaugural Palm Beach Masters last January and at Cannes on the French Riviera last June, while Isabell captured the World Dressage Masters in Munich in May.

Steffen Peters beat both riders in the 2009 World Cup Final at Las Vegas then went on to make an historic sweep of all three team championship competitions–the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Kür–at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. Those successes led to Steffen being named U.S. Equestrian of the Year in 2009 for the second straight year and for Ravel being named Horse of the Year.

Anky lives in Erp, The Netherlands, and is married to the Dutch national coach, Sjef Janssen. They have two children.

She has won nine World Cups, five on Bonfire and four on Salinero, three Olympic individual gold medals and two individual World Championship gold medals.

Isabell Werth has won four Olympic team and one individual gold medals, three World Championship team and one individual gold medals and two World Cup titles.

She returned to competition the week after Christmas in 2009 after a six-month break during which she gave birth to a baby boy, Frederik.

NÜRNBERGER Versicherungsgruppe WDM Rider Rankings
(Through WDM, Hickstead 2009–second of four competition)

Rank  Rider  Nation  # Events  Points
1. Edward Gal  NED  1  1020
2. Marc Boblet  FRA  2  945
3. Adelinde Cornelissen  NED  1  870
4. Laura Bechtolsheimer  GBR  1  855
5. Catherine Haddad  USA  2  855
6. Daniel Pinto  POR  2  855
7. Imke Schellekens-Bartels  NED  1  780
8. Anky van Grunsven  NED  1  750
9. Ashley Holzer  CAN  1  750
10. Hans Peter Minderhoud  NED  1  615
11. Kyra Kyrklund  FIN  1  615
12. Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein  DEN  1  585
13. Leslie Morse  USA  1  585
14. Fiona Bigwood  GBR  1  570
15. Jordi Domingo  ESP  1  558
16. Jeroen Devroe  BEL  1  540
17. Anders Dahl  DEN  1  510
18. Maria Eilberg  GBR  1  495
19. Anja Plönzke  GER  1  495
20. Michal Rapcewicz  POL  1  470
21. Stefan van Ingelgem  BEL  1  450
22. Judy Harvey  GBR  1  435
23. Anne van Uytert  NED  1  420
24. Evi Strasser  CAN  1  405
25. Sarah Jane Elmslie  GBR  1  405
26. Jane Gregory  GBR  1  390
27. Constance Menard  ISR  1  375
28. Dane Rawlins  GBR  1  375
29. Marc Peter Spahn  BEL  1  360
30. Remy Issartel  FRA  1  360

Note: In the case of tied points, the best individual result in Grand Prix will be decisive

About WDM

The World Dressage Masters is a sports and marketing initiative of equestrian innovator Exquis, international sports marketing agency, SportBizz, and Equestrian Sport Productions of the USA. WDM utilizes marketing strategies and innovation to enhance the sport of dressage worldwide.

WDM is sponsored by Exquis, Moorland Stables and Moorland Investments, Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe and Jerich International.