Global Dressage Festival to Stage 1st Under-25 Nations Cup Outside Europe
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Dec. 4, 2016–The first Under-25 Nations Cup outside Europe will be staged during the winter-long Adequan Global Dressage Festival, a new feature reflecting the growth of youth competitions at the world’s richest dressage circuit.
The event for teams of a maximum of three rider and horse combinations with two scores counting will be staged alongside the senior CDIO3* Nations Cup Mar. 21-26 that kicks off the second year of the trans-Atlantic series.
The Nations Cup for the rapidly growing Under-25 division that was developed as a bridge between Young Riders and seniors was proposed by George Williams, a long time competitor, the U.S. youth coach and named to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Committee this month.
“This reflects the growth of the Junior and Young Rider divisions in the Americas,” said Thomas Baur, sport director of the Global lineup of seven CDIs and several national shows from early January to late March.
“This is the right time to start the Under-25 Nations Cup to grow the youth divisions for the future of the sport.”
The first ever European Under-25 Championships were staged this summer, a reflection of the growing popularity of the division.
The Florida International Youth Championships were among several innovations introduced at the Global circuit launched in 2012 at the Stadium complex at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Others included the first non-championship Nations Cup in the Western Hemisphere and the first CDI Amateur competition in the lineup of four World Cup events, a CDI4* and CDI5* with total prize money of about $700,000.
Diana Porsche of Austria the world No. 1 Under-25 combination on Di Sandro is expected to return in 2017 for her second year at Global.
Anna Buffini of Escondido and Genay Vaughn of Elk Grove, both 22 years old, are moving from California to Florida for the Global circuit this year, both to train with Debbie McDonald who works with U.S. Olympic team riders Laura Graves and Kasey Perry-Glass.
Other top youth riders in Florida include American Barbara “Bebe” Davis and Juan Matute, Jr. of Spain, both based in Wellington and who will be 19 years old next year, as well as Canada’s Tanya Strasser-Shostak, 21.