Global Dressage Festival Kicks Off 2018 Launch Event With Record Entries

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Juan Matute, Jr. speaking at the Global Dressage and Winter Equestrian festivals news conference. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 9, 2018–The launch event of the Global Dressage Festival of 12 weeks beginning Wednesday may have a record number of international and national entries while Adequan announced a three-year renewal as the title sponsor.

“We are definitely committed for the long haul,” said Allyn Mann of Adequan announcing the renewal in this sixth year of the winter-long festival with seven CDIs. “I think AGDF really has changed the whole image of dressage in the U.S.”

Competition begins in earnest on both the U.S. East and West Coasts to go to the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in September, not just for the United States and Canada but competitors from around the world looking to participate at the world championships held once every four years.

Entries for the first event in this year’s Global lineup are 50 for CDI classes and up to 140 in national classes at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The dressage circuit has had such a major impact on this center of horse sports in winter that attendance at Friday night freestyles has been a factor impacting the jumping Nations Cup that has been a highlight of the Winter Equestrian Festival for decades. As a result, the Nations Cup is being moved to Saturday night from its traditional Friday night .

Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions that organizes both GDF and WEF has “done such a great job of promoting Friday night stars of dressage” as well as Saturday night lights of jumping that the jumping Nations Cup has become a “quiet” night.

“So we’re going to put the Nations Cup on Saturday night in the hope we can get back to the good old days of getting thousands of people coming to watch it.”

Juan Matute, Jr., the 20-year-old Florida-based rider for Spain and ranked No. 3 in the world at Under-25 who this week began his online college career, will be competing in his sixth consecutive season at AGDF.

He has four horses to compete at Grand Prix level but has not decided yet whether to seek to ride on Spain’s team at the WEG or continue to focus on the Under-25 following success in 2017. He swept the invitational Under-25 event at Gothenburg, Sweden and took individual bronze at the European Under-25 championships. The freestyle was botched by the organizers and was cancelled.

“You get to experience lots of mileage because of the constant competition we have week after week,” said the young rider who represents Spain. “It’s the perfect strategy. We get warmed up; we get ready. Then when we go to Europe, we’re in perfect shape. I really think it’s a privilege, and I’m fortunate to be able to be a part of AGDF year after year. Overall, I’ll continue learning and continue enjoying because we have the perfect structure here, the perfect competition, and it’s just lovely.”

Six of the seven CDIs have total prize money of $517,500, down 12.1 per cent from $590,200 for the same events in 2017.

Jan. 10-14–CDI-W, CDI3*, CDI1*, plus youth and amateur classes–$42,300 ($57,500 in 2017)
Jan. 24-28–CDI-W, CDI3*, CDI1*, plus youth and amateur classes–$42,300 ($57,500)
Feb. 7-11–CDI5*, CDI3*, CDI1*, plus youth and amateur classes–$215,900 ($232,200)
Feb. 21-27–CDI-W, CDI3*, CDI1*, plus youth and amateur classes–$44,400 ($57,500)
Feb. 28-Mar. 4–CDI-W, CDI3*, CDI1*, plus youth and amateur classes–$44,400 ($57,500)
Mar. 14-18–CDI4*, CDI3*, CDI1*, plus youth and amateur classes–$128,400 ($128,000)
Mar. 27-31–CDIO3*, CDI3*, plus youth and amateur classes–N.A. ($72,700)