Global Dressage Festival 1st National Competition Launches

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Lisa Hyslop and Rolling Stone at the Global Dressage Festival's first national competition. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 21–The first of four nationally recognized competitions on an unusual schedule of mid-week shows instead of weekends was launched Tuesday at the new Global Dressage Festival with fewer than 50 entries over three days but lots of enthusiasm from riders.

“This is great for young horses,” said Austria’s Gabriele Stumpf, an adul amateur who is spending her second winter in Florida and competed her Stereo Love in First Level Test 3. “It’s nice and quiet and the weather is beautiful.”

The first national competition, recognized by the U.S. Equestrian Federation for championship qualifications and year-end awards, came after the first two CDI World Cup events at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex that includes the newly built multimillion dollar dressage venue.

The mid-week competitions were designed to provide riders and horses with a less stressful environment than during the big money CDI events on weekends and allow trainers competing at the top level to devote time to students without conflicting starting times. Some trainers said it was an opportunity to show sale horses in a competition.

Lisa Hyslop of Loxahatchee, Florida, who spends many weekends seeking to raise her judge’s rating to “S” and rode Rolling Stone at Prix St. Georges, said, “It is a nice option . I’m always busy on weekends.

“This is a super venue for Adult Amateurs. It is peaceful and quiet during the national shows, but still presents itself with the international big show flair.”

Garra Walline of Nashville, Tennessee, who rode Bling in First Level Test 1, said, “This is really wonderful, especially at the lower levels. The footing us super, show management is great.”

Alix Szepesi of Newburyport, Massachussetts, showed the Canadian-owned Alloy at Third Level Test 1, and said she found the competition “a great experience for the horses.”