Palm Beach Derby in Wellington for 1st Time to Celebrate 31st Birthday

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Janne Rumbaugh with Howald Pferdekaemper who worked together to create the Palm Beach Dressage Derby 30 years ago. Photo: Courtesy Janne Rumbaugh Archives
Janne Rumbaugh with Howald Pferdekaemper who worked together to create the Palm Beach Dressage Derby 31 years ago. Photo: Courtesy Janne Rumbaugh Archives

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 26, 2014–The Palm Beach Dressage Derby makes an appearance in Wellington for the first time in the 31 years of its history and a foundation event for what has become the world’s largest dressage circuit.

After 30 years in the neighboring community of Loxahatchee the event that is a World Cup qualifier and in past years was an essential competition stop on the road of many horses and riders heading to the Olympics and championships.

This year’s derby is a highlight event in the calendar of seven international competitions at the Global Dressage Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Tribute will be paid to the founders, German migrants Howald and Gisela Pferdekaemper, and Janne Rumbough, a Danish migrant whose energy and enthusiasm was a driving force in creating what was the world’s richest dressage show at the time and is still an active competitor as well as owner. Maryanne and Walter McPhail, who took over the derby from its original home at the White Fences Equestran Center, and maintained it as the centerpiece show at their Equestrian Estates, will be honored with the creation of the McPhail Cup.

Maryanne McPhail (2nd from left) at the award of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby Perpetual Trophy for the winner of the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2013 SusanJStickle.com
Maryanne McPhail (2nd from left) at an award of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby Perpetual Trophy for the winner of the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2013 SusanJStickle.com

The derby was moved to the Palm Beach International Equestriuan Center in Wellington to keep its place as a premier event in Florida.

In another piece of history, the first dressage competition was held on the same location as the Global Dressage Festival grounds–the original Field 1 of the Palm Beach Polo Club that is no more though it saw the likes of Prince Charles playing on the manicured field watched by Princess Diana.

Dressage was held there only once–repeated riding patterns damaged the billiard table-like grass surface and the organizers were hit with a bill to fix the field.

Robert Dover before his six Olympic appearances with the late judges Edgar Hotz of the United States and Jaap Pot, four-time Olympic judge. Photo: Courtesy Janne Rumbaugh Archives
Robert Dover before his six Olympic appearances with the late judges Edgar Hotz of the United States and Jaap Pot, four-time Olympic judge, Axel Steiner of the U.S.  snd Howald Pferdekaemper. Photo: Courtesy Janne Rumbaugh Archives

This year’s Grand Prix will be held Friday and the Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night–a change from the Friday night schedule as the jumping Nations Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival is scheduled for Friday night.

Anne Gribbons at Palm Beach Dressage Derby. Photo Courtesy Janne Rumbaugh Archives
Anne Gribbons at Palm Beach Dressage Derby. Photo Courtesy Janne Rumbaugh Archives