Global Dressage Festival Prize Money Over $650,000 in 2015 for World’s Richest Circuit

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Tina Konyot on Calecto V celebrating the Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Freestyle victory. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tina Konyot on Calecto V celebrating the Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Freestyle victory. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Nov. 11, 2014–A huge increase in prize money to well over $650,000 (€523,000) with a $200,000 CDI5* as a highlight of Florida’s Global Dressage Festival will make next winter’s circuit the richest in the world.

The $200,000 (€161,000) CDI5*, up a whopping $80,000 from 2013, and the CDI4* that is up $20,000 to $120,000 (€96,600 will be separated by just a week of a national competition, are scheduled for the first half of February.

The two-event total of $320,000 (€258,000) is expected to draw some of the United States’ top combinations from California to challenge horses and riders from the East Coast as well as Europe and Australia for a piece of the prize money.

The fourth year of the Global circuit of seven international events that includes the top rated CDI5* as well as the CDI4*, CDIO3* Nations Cup and four World Cup events to qualify for the Final in Las Vegas in mid-April runs from Jan. 7 to Mar. 29.

Adequan is returning  as the ttle sponsor of the Global festival that is a companion circuit and runs simultaneously to the 12 weeks of the Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters, both staged at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center by Equestrian Sport Productions.

The schedule for the 2015 Global Dressage Festival:

-Jan. 7-11–$50,000 CDI-W World Cup qualifier;
-Jan. 21-25-$50,000 CDI World Cup qualifier;
-Feb. 4-8-$200,000 CDI5*;
-Feb. 17-22-$120,000 CDI4*;
-Mar. 4-8-$50,000 Palm Beach Dressage Derby World Cup qualifier;
-Mar. 11-15-$50,000 World Cup qualifier, and
-Mar. 24-29-$35,000 CDIO3* Nations Cup.

The headline events for the seven international weeks total $555,000 in prize money, but purses for other classes held sinultaneously such as lower rated CDIs or junior and young rider classes will bring total prize money close to to $700,000. That is up from the 2013 total purse of $594,000.

The success of GDF is attracting a growing number of Europeans, among them Great Britain’s Olympic team gold medalist Laura Tomlinson, Christoph Koschel on Germany’s 2010 World Equestrian Games team as well as Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén who has competed in Wellington during winter for the past several years.

In addition to the quality of the facility and substantial prize money, GDF has staged the only non-championship Nations Cup in the Western Hemisphere with mixed Big Tour/Small Tour teams required for the first time at next year’s Pan American Games in Toronto as a qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Growth of the Global Dressage Festival has been explosive since its creation four years ago despite obstructions and lengthy delays by the local government in issuing approvals, and opposition by a single wealthy family to construction of the dressage facility that has cost more than $8 million.

The show grounds include a covered arena large enough for four full size dressage arenas, 200 permanent horse stalls and six arenas with Olympic quality footing. Plans to add at least another 200 permanent stalls, a permanent VIP founders’ club house and other improvements were blocked for so long by the government that construction has been put off for now.

The same key organizers have focused on development of a $100 milion equestrian resort in North Carolina that already has 500 permcnent stalls and five competirion arenas with a doubling in size in the works along with a resort hotel, golf course and other amenities.

Another lawsuit by the family that opposes the Wellington dressage facility and wants it torn down although members of the family compete there is scheduled for a hearing in Palm Beach County next month.

Lawyers fees and delays have cost the GDF organizing group and taxpayers in Wellington millions of dollars that the show management says could have been spent on venue improvements and more prize money.