US National Championships to Offer $155,000 in Prize Money
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
The United States national championships of pony classes through to Grand Prix will offer $155,000 in prize money when staged at Gladstone, New Jersey next month as a result of a unique fund raising effort by East Coast riders, owners and others.
The Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. June 11-15 will be used to select a squad of horses and riders to go to Europe to compete for four places plus a reserve on the American team at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France at the end of August.
The lion’s share, $130,000, of the purse goes to the Big Tour–$43,000 for both the Grand Prix and the Special and $44,000 for the Grand Prix Freestyle.
The two competitions for each of the national levels of Under-25 Brentina Cup, Young Riders, Juniors and Ponies will get $2,500 each for a total of $5,000 per division.
The Intermediate Division of three competitions also get a total of $5,000 with $2,000 allocated to Prix St. Georges, $2,000 to Intermediate 1 and $1,000 to the Intermediate Freestyle.
A complete breakdown of prize money for each of the six divisions can found by clicking 2014FoCPrizeMoney.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation said the prize money came about through the efforts of the “2014 Gladstone Dressage Initiative,” that it described as “a group of individuals passionate about the future of U.S. dressage.”
The inspiration came from Michael Davis, whose daughter has continued success at junior level that she experienced in ponies, and he and his wife own the Grand Prix horse, Van the Man.
Catherine Haddad-Staller, Grand Prix trainer and rider, described the idea as “brilliant” and said she talked it over with Michael at the 2013 Dressage at Devon World Cup show on Main Line Philadelphia to flesh out details.
Catherine, who is based in Califon, New Jersey not far from the Gladstone faciity, approached riders and owners to consider contributing a portion of the money they would spend to ship their horses and themselves across country if the championships were held in California. Other supporters, including stable owners around Gladstone as well as sponsors and owners elsewhere in the country, joined the effort.
“We thought it was important to introduce prize money to offset the crippling costs of showing in this country,” said Catherine who based herself in Germany for 20 years before returning home 18 months ago.
“There’s a whole new groundswell of support for dressage in the country. I don’t know whether it’s because of the Chinese Year of the Horse or our new chef d’equipe (Robert Dover) who has brought a lot of passion and inspiration to the sport.”