Global Dressage Festival CDI5*, World’s Richest Dressage Event, Gets Underway

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Laura Tomlinson, Olympic team gold and individual bronze medal rider for Great Britain, with Unique at the Global Dressage Festival veterinary inspection for the Prix St. Georges. © 2015 SusanJStickle.com
Laura Tomlinson, Olympic team gold and individual bronze medal rider for Great Britain, with Unique at the Global Dressage Festival veterinary inspection for the Prix St. Georges. © 2015 SusanJStickle.com

WELLINGTON, Florda, Feb. 3, 2015– The globe’s richest dressage competition gets underway Wednesday with a dozen combinations ranked in the top 100 competing for $200,000 (€174,000) and that next year could include Isabell Werth in the lineup.

The starting pairs in the CDI5* sponsored by Diamante Farm of Wellington at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival include more in the top 100 of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rankings than any previous non-championship event in the Western Hemisphere. The prize money is the largest for any non-championship dressage event.

The USA’s Steffen Peters of San Diego, California on his World Games partner Legolas, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén on Divertimento, Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen on My Lady and Canadian Belinda Trussell on Anton are among the 16 horses and riders in the Grand Prix.

The total number of rides, 224, in the premier CDI5*, a companion CDI3* and other internationally designated competitions is a record for the Americas.

The centerpiece event in the calendar of seven CDIs in the fourth year of the Global winter circuit has also attracted dozens of top trainers from Europe and North America, including Great Britain’s Carl Hester and Germany’s Johann Hinnemann, Jan Bemelmans, Hubertus Schmidt, Ton de Ridder, Christoph Koschel, Volker Moritz, Dieter Laugkes and Udo Lange.

“There is a lot of buzz in Europe about the event,” reported Ilse Schwarz, contributing editor of dressage-news.com who returned from a horse-hunting trip to Germany Tuesday night.

“Riders and trainers were arranging their schedules to fly to Wellington for the show… great competition and fantastic weather, leaving the snow behind.”

Isabell Werth, with four Olympic team and an individual gold and three silver medals, seven world championship golds, nine European Championship golds and two World Cup titles to her name, disclosed she is planning to compete at GDF in 2016. Isabell competed at the Winter Equestrian Festival, a companion event to Global, and last year’s inaugural Central Park Horse Show created by the same organizers.

“Friday Night Stars” CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle is the prime time feature of the week, preceded by a parade of about 25 Olympic dressage riders from at least eight nations.

The show begins with the Prix St. Georges of of 46 combinations from 10 countries on four continents spread over two days.

Correction: An earlier version did not specify that the CDI5* is the richest non-championship dressage event.