Adequan Global Dressage Festival Launches Wednesday With World Firsts
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 5, 2015–The Adequan Global Dressage Festival launches its fourth year Wednesday with three times more horses and riders than 2014 in the opening event of the richest international dressage circuit in the world of more than $650,000 in prize money spread over seven shows.
Riders from five continents, including a bigger European contingent than ever that could field three Nations Cup teams to line up with at least another five countries from the Americas and Australia, are expected to drive entries in CDIs at the peak of the season to near the biggest international shows in Europe–350 to 400 entries for a week–except for pony classes which draw scant interest in North America.
Top 10 ranked Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén of Sweden will compete in 2015 for the fourth year to debut Benetton Dream at Grand Prix as she did with her Olympic and World Games mount Don Auriello and Divertimento; Great Britain’s Olympic team and gold medalist Laura Tomlinson will compete for the first time; German World Games and European Championship rider Christoph Koschel will compete and train other combinations.
The CDI5*, second richest individual dressage competition in the world with $200,000 in prize money in early February is a feature of the circuit that could see as many as 40 riders and horses (the maximum allowed in a single day’s judging) from around the world including California riders Steffen Peters and Kathleen Raine along with Florida-based Laura Graves and Verdades and the Olympic partnership of Adrienne Lyle and Wizard.
The newly created CDI Amateur division will be held at GDF for the first time in the world, with riders from Europe and South America as well as the United States.
The only non-championship Nations Cup in the Western Hemisphere that has produced the template for the Pan American Games to be staged in Toronto in July is likely to attract both teams from North and South America as well as several individuals, including Venezuelans looking to put together a “composite” team after disappointment at the Central American & Caribbean Games two months ago that were widely criticized for poor judging and lax procedures.
The Matute teenagers, brother, Juan, Jr. and sister, Paula, with enthusiastic support from Yeguada de Ymas and its breeding and competition centers in Spain and Florida, set new levels. Juan will compete in the opening CDI World Cup event in Junior, Young Rider, Small Tour and senior Grand Prix divisions, perhaps unprecedented in the world. He can’t do the Under-25 division because of time conflicts.
GDF began in 2012 as a companion to the Winter Equestrian Festival, the world’s largest and at 12 weeks the longest running jumper and hunter show at the Palm Beach Internationl Equestrian Center. Despite opposition by a small group with heavy funding from a single family that was also successful in backing candidates to take control of the local government to block development of the dressage complex, the first year saw a total of 302 international rides in five shows.
By 2014, GDF had grown to seven CDIs with a total of 931 entries from more than 20 countries, ground juries comprising numerous top judges that award scores the same as they would in Europe and highly professional show management.
The World Cup event starting Wednesday has 131 international entries compared with 46 in the same show a year ago and 35 in the first GDF event four years ago.
Alongside the warm up arena this year will be top trainers–in addition to Robert Dover and Debbie McDonald of the United States will be Germany’s father and son team of Jürgen and Christoph Koschel, Hubertus Schmidt, Christoph Niemann, former U.S. team coach Klaus Balkenhol and Johann Hinnemann.
Hubertus Schmidt, a longtime and popular trainer in the United States, coaches Devon Kane who rides Destiny at Grand Prix and whose family-owned Diamante Farms is the sponsor of the CDI5*.
The Nations Cup sponsored by Arlene Page’s Stillpoint Farm in Wellington will be the season finale the last week of March instead of being held midway through the season.
The Nations Cup has become so popular that Canada and the United States that in previous years could field two teams may be restricted to one team each, made up of mized Small Tour and Big Tour combinations as required by the new Pan Am Games format.
The event is preparation for the Pan Americans to qualify a single team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The United States ia strongly favored with two Grand Prix combinations, Steffen Peters on Legolas and Laura Graves on Verdades, with championship scores above the mid-70 per cent range and numerous Prix St. Georges pairs in the unique mixed Big Tour/Small Tour format.
Canada’s Pan Am prospects are less hopeful as the nation will be without Ashley Holzer, the country’s star performer, who will bypass the Games to develop the talented Tiva Nana for long term championship medal performances.
The Global CDI schedule:
-Jan. 8-11–$50,000 CDI-W World Cup qualifier;
-Jan. 22-25-$50,000 CDI World Cup qualifier;
-Feb. 5-8-$200,000 CDI5*;
-Feb. 19-22-$120,000 CDI4*;
-Mar. 5-8-$50,000 Palm Beach Dressage Derby World Cup qualifier;
-Mar. 12-15-$50,000 World Cup qualifier, and
-Mar. 26-28-$35,000 CDIO3* Nations Cup.