Sneak Peek at Florida’s Winter Circuit With More Shows than Ever
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
A tiny prelude of the 2011 competition year was held in Palm Beach this weekend as horses and riders prepare for Florida’s intense winter circuit of a show virtually every weekend including at least five CDIs, three of them World Cup qualifiers.
The Gold Coast Dressage Association’s Fall Fling, a single arena national event with 100 entries, offered the different levels that will be central to North America’s focus for the next year–small tour for the Pan American Games to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, next October; Grand Prix to make a prospective U.S. squad to compete at top European shows in summer on the road to the London Olympics; for the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships in Kentucky at the end of July and young and developing horses for the national championships in Chicago a month later.
South Florida has become the center of top level dressage in North America despite a sharp reduction in competitions at the Winter Equestrian Festival show grounds which was the heart of high performance until three years ago.
For January through April, 20 sanctioned competitions are scheduled in three show grounds in Palm Beach, the Jim Brandon Center in West Palm Beach, White Fences and Equestrian Estates in Loxahatchee. If the €100,000 (US$136,000) Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI5* that has been the centerpiece of the Palm Beach winter circuit for the past two years is confirmed for a tentative date of the first week of February that will add the WEF facility to the list of show grounds.
With no qualifiers in either California or Canada for the 2011 World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany, the three CDI-Ws in Palm Beach are the last opportunities for U.S. and Canadian combinations to fill the two places reserved for North America. No North Americans were in the 2010 Final for the first time in the quarter century of the only individual world championship.
Confirmed CDIs are:
– Jan. 21-23 Gold Coast Dressage Opener CDI-W, Jim Brandon Center;
– Feb. 11-13 Wellington Classic DressageChallenge CDI-W, Jim Brandon;
– Mar. 4-6 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W, Loxahatchee;
– Mar. 11-13 Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge II, Jim Brandon;
– Mar. 24-27 International Horse Sport Champions Cup CDI3*, Loxahatchee.