Up to 10 Teams in Wellington Nations Cup Decided by Freestyle

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Ilse Schwarz and Sauvignon. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 9–As many as 10 teams will compete in the inaugural Global Dressage Festival Nations Cup next month,  the first non-championship CDIO in the Western Hemisphere with the added twist of teams required to perform two classes over two days with the winner decided by the Intermediaire Freestyle to be held under lights.

Australia became the first nation to confirm it will field a team in the $35,000 event at the new multimillion dollar dressage complex at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center April 12-15. The team will consist of Florida-based Australians Ilse Schwarz, Kelly Layne and Nicholas Fyffe.

The CDIO3* presented by Stillpoint Farm of Wellington will be at small tour.

The format of two Nations Cup classes was first staged at Falsterbo, Sweden, in 2009 with the Grand Prix deciding the staring order of teams in the Grand Prix Freestyle.

The Wellington Nations Cup will kick off with the $5,000 Prix St. Georges on Friday, April 13 to decide the order of the teams for the Intermediaire Freestyle from which the winner and placings will be declared.

As many as 10 teams of a minimum of three combinations and as many as four, or a total of about 40 entries that could include individuals, can start in the St. Georges.

Nations that cannot field a team of a minimum of three combinations and as many as four from a single country can put together a mixed team.

The ground jury will include three five-star judges, the highest ranked, made up of Isobel Wessls of Great Britain, Wim Ernes of The Netherlands, Elizabeth McMullen of Canada, Gabriel Armando of Argentina and Janet Foy of the United States.

The top five teams in the Prix St. Georges will move on to the Intermediaire Freestyle to be held under lights Saturday night, April 14 to decide the Nations Cup champion. The team results will be based on the top three scores of each team.

Prizemoney for the freestyle totals $25,000, with $7,500 for the first placed team, $6,000 for second, $4,500 for third, $3,750 for fourth and $3,250 for fifth.

The teams that do not qualify for the freestyle will compete in the Intemediaire I earlier on Saturday night $5,000 in total prize money.

The event is the first in a four-year program of developing Nations Cups in the Americas and of providing a format to help elevate dressage team competitions to Grand Prix level ahead of the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015 which is planned to be an Olympic qualifier at Big Tour level. Until now, the Pan Ams have been at small tour.