Florida’s $275,000 Global Dressage Festival of 5 CDIs Starts Thursday

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Palm Beach International Equestrian Center's Global Dressage Festival grounds and grass derby field. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Global Dressage Festival organizes were joined Wednesday by sponsors and riders from the United States and Canada to launch the 2013 $275,000 circuit of five CDIs including a top-rated 5* and an innovative Nations Cup and pledged to fight as long as it takes to provide world class dressage despite political and legal opposition.

“There is a huge level of commitment from our partners and the world of equestrian sport,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners that owns the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and Equestrian Sport Productions that manages the events.

Even if opponents “think they can hire politicians,” he said, “we shall overcome these short term challenges.”

Opposition to GDF by a small but well-financed group, he said, “I’m sure has had an impact people who didn’t ome this year because of uncertainty.”

“There’s lot more politics than practicality and we don’t think that benefits the community.

“We have the opportunity to do something great. Despite the political challenges, we will not be deterred.”

More than $8 million has been spent building the Global Dressage Festival grounds that are part of the PBIEC and hosts the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival as well as GDF. The dressage grounds include six arenas with world class surfaces, three for competition and three for warmup, 200 permanent stables, a covered arena that can accommodate more than three full size size rings and a retail and spectator esplanade.

Adequan is the title sponsor of the 2013 circuit that starts Thursday under a three-year agreement that said the company had been offered the opportunity to walk away from the contract because of the disoute.

Allyn G. Mann, Senior Manager of the Animal Health Division at Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. that produces Adequan, said the company committed to GDF after seeing the development of the PBIEC jumper grounds and the benfits of its sponsorship there.

“Having seen what they’ve done across the streets,” he said, “I have no doubt this will be the place where the dressage world will be spending winters.”

The CDI schedule:
Jan. 31-Feb. 3–Wellington Dressage CDI-W
Feb. 14-17–Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W
Mar. 14-17–WEF Dressage Classic CDI3*
April 4-7–Wellington CDI5*
April 11-14–Wellington Dressage Nations Cup CDIO3*/CDI3*

Matt Varney of Wellington Realty, one of the founding partners, said he supported GDF in its first season in 2012 partly because of the show grounds’ central location in Wellington.

“Dressage in this country needs a world class facility and this is it,” he said.

Devon Kane of Diamante Farms in Wellington said the competitions at GDF attracted some of the best riders and that enabled younger riders to be a part of high performance sports and prepare for championships.

“The grounds are meticulous and well-situated,” she said. “The stalls are so comfortable my horses have actually slept and laid down, which they don’t normally do at shows. The thought that was put into every detail makes this facility the international level it is. We are so grateful that it is uniquely for dressage.”

She was, she said, “thankful for a real dressage facility that is amazing.”

David Marcus, who rode on the Canadian team at the 2012 summer Olympics, said that the quality of the GDF grounds “allowed me and my horses to achieve goals we otherwise would not have achieved.”