Dressage & Entertainment Extravaganza Center Stage at 10* Wellington Weekend

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Global Dressage Festival grounds. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 1–An entertainment extravaganza is being planned for the inaugural $120,000 Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle under lights on Friday, Mar. 30, the night before the Jumping CSI5* at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The event–the only CDI5* in North America in 2012–is open to 20 combinations in the Grand Prix on Thursday, the Olympic Grand Prix Special and the Freestyle on Friday. A U.S. national show is being held simultaneously with the 5*.

Invitations are being extended to Yvonne Loses de Muñiz and Liebling II of the Dominican Repubic and Luíza Tavares de Almeida and Samba of Brazil, organizers said, that would be a head-to-head competition between the two combinations that battled for the single individual place at the London Olympics.

The CDI5* presented by Diamante Farms of Wellington will be staged two weeks before the first non-championship Nations Cup in the Americas, a CDIO3* at Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire that is the first in a series over the next three years that is central to moving Pan American Games dressage to Grand Prix from small tour.

Details were released Thursday of the final two shows on the calendar of five events in the premiere year of the Global Dressage Festival with a total of $275,000 in prize money at the newly built multi-million dollar dressage complex at PBIEC’s Stadium grounds.

The CDI5* Freestyle will be held Friday night and the CSI5* for jumpers on Saturday night, the last of 12 weeks of the Winter Equestrian Festival at PBIEC.

In addition to the two South Americans, combinations expected to compete in the CDI5* are from the United States, Canada, Germany and Australia.

A Champagne night of freestyles with live music, lights and pyrotechnics in an entertainment spectacle that Equestrian Sport Productions that organizes the Global Dressge Festival is introducing this year in a drive to raise the profile of dressage both within horse sports and among non-equestrians.

Michael Stone, the ESP president, said that up to 20 combinations–including five from the United States can start in Thursday’s Grand Prix. It has a $12,000 purse–$3,360 for first place down to $240 for the eighth spot.

Riders will opt for either the Olympic Grand Prix Special or the Freestyle.

The Special has a purse of $24,000 with $6,000 allocated to the winner down to $840 for 12th place.

The Freestyle carries total prize money of $84,000–$25,200 to the winner down to $3,480 for eighth place.

The ground jury comprises Axel Steiner and Linda Zang of the United States, Jean-Michel Roudier of France, Ghislain Fouarge of The Netherlands and Leif Tornblad of Denmark, all 5* judges, the highest rated.

The CDIO3* April 11-15 and presented by Stillpoint Farm of Wellington received a waiver from the International Equestrian Federation to enable it to be held at small tour with as many as 10 teams of up to four riders each, with the scores from three combinations counting for the Nations Cup.

The plan as discussed by nations who competed at the 2011 Pan American Games is for small tour this year, mixed small tour and Grand Prix horses in 2013 and full Grand Prix in 2014.

The aim is to develop dressage in the Americas to Grand Prix ahead of the next Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015 when qualifying for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro the following year will be at the top level of the sport.

The $35,000 CDIO is open to all nations and in addition to the U.S., Canada and South America, combinations from countries as far away as Australia are expected to compete with U.S.-based horses and riders.

Michael Stone said that in addition to prize money, the top placed teams will be awarded medals.