Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival Developing Horse Programs Expanded in 2020

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Louise Nathorst and Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (right of picture) at Lövsta Future Challenge international competition (won by Spain’s Juan Matute Guimon) during the 2017 European Championships. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Oct. 23, 2019–Developing Grand Prix and Prix St. Georges programs have been dramatically expanded with significant prize money as featured events of the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival launching in January.

The $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge/Grand Prix series for horses aged eight to 10 years and the $10,000 Summit Farm Future Challenge/Prix St. Georges series for seven to nine year olds will stage qualifiers throughout the Global circuit from Jan. 8 to March 29 at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex.

Both national level series will comprise eight qualifiers with a final in Global’s centerpiece International arena the 12th and final week of the winter circuit. The expanded programs follows a test series at Prix St. Georges that was held during the 2019 Global circuit.

Both the Lövsta Future Challenge and Summit Farm series will hold qualifiers beginning with the first week of Global Jan. 9-13 followed by week 3 Jan. 23-27, week 5 Feb. 6-10, week 6 Feb. 15-16, week 7 Feb. 20-24, week 8 Feb. 27-Mar. 3, week 9 Mar. 7-10 and week 10 Mar. 13-17.

The $15,000 Lövsta Grand Prix and $10,000 Summit Farm Prix St. Georges finals will be Mar. 27-31, the last week of the Global circuit.

For Lövsta, the best horse/rider combination each qualifying week that will be at Intermediate II earn a start in the final, plus two wild cards that will be at Grand Prix. If a qualified combination wins more than once, the next placed horse/rider pair that week qualifies.

The Summit Farm Future Challenge will use Prix St. Georges to qualify the two best combinations each week, plus two wild cards . The same qualifying applies for combinations winning more than one qualifier. In the final, however, Prix St. Georges will be used in both a warm-up class and the final.

The Lövsta Future Challenge Grand Prix series in Sweden was organized with help of seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén, who is the professional rider and trainer for Antonia Ax:son Johnson’s Lövsta Stuteri, and coach Louise Nathorst. The Swedish program is focused on developing talent in both dressage and show jumping for young grand prix horses and Under 25 riders, providing arenas and conditions to advance toward top sport.

“We not only promote the horses and riders but also the teams behind them, including grooms, trainers, breeders, horse owners, and sponsors,” said Tinne. “All are incredibly important for developing talent. Lövsta Future Challenge also strives to create forums where riders and equestrian professionals can exchange knowledge and work together toward a sport where the environment and horsemanship are central themes.”

Tinne has competed Lövsta horses in Florida since 2011 when she showed her championship mount Favourit and began the Big Tour career of Don Auriello that she rode at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and is retiring later this year.

“We want to give them a platform to develop and with this series help them take the step toward the highest grand prix level,” Tinne said of the Wellington competitions. “We hope that the interest for educating and producing young grand prix horses will grow. Our goal is that this series will be successful so we can take it to an international level in the future.

“The series will give them the routine and hopefully the confidence to take the last step toward the highest grand prix level.

“We at Lövsta also believe a series like this with a goal of becoming an overall winner will boost both riders and horses and the teams behind them. We believe that one of the most important parts to reach success and growth is to set up goals.”

Gerry Ibanez, owner of Summit Farm, with Sarah Lockman on First Apple; Carolyn Koolman, former owner; Scott Hassler, coach and Octovio Rocha, groom

Scott Hassler, speaking for Gerry Ibanez’s Summit Farm that owns the 2019 Pan American Games individual gold and team silver medal horse First Apple ridden by Sarah Lockman, said of the Future Challenge: “A series like this is important because it’s one of the most exciting group of horses. Germany’s Nürnberger Burg-Pokal Prix St. Georges has shown us what a championship at this level can do. This is the most critical stage in making a grand prix horse–getting them in good hands, competing, and training well to make a grand prix horse.”

The United States has developed Prix St. Georges as a national program in recent years, said Scott who was involved in creating the program and coaches Sarah and First Apple as well as his daughter, Sara, who swept the three CDI3* Small Tour competitions at Dressage at Devon last month. “Now it’s one of our most competitive championships. For AGDF to have a prize like this and have a series with a final be available is so exciting and awesome.”