North America’s Only CDI5* for 2012 Starts Thursday at Global Dressage Festival
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 28–A light show spectacular will open the inaugural $120,000 Global Dressage Festival musical freestyle Friday night in the only CDI5* in North America in 2012.
Most of the top United States and Canadian horses and rider as well as Anja Plönzke of Germany and Le Mont d’Or and the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz and Liebling II will start in the Grand Prix Thursday seeking to be in the top eight and move on to the freestyle.
The CDI5* is the first part of a twin bill of 5* competitions at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with a $500,000 CSI5* jumping event scheduled for Saturday night as the finale of 12 weeks of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.
Twenty combinations will start Thursday in the Grand Prix with $12,000 (€9,000) in prize money in the centerpiece International Arena at the multimillion dollar GDF show grounds hosting their first season of dressage shows.
The top eight will move on to Friday night’s freestyle which starts with an openng ceremony featuring a deejay, laser show with sparklers and “silk dancers” starting at 7:30 p.m. A Jumbotron will display the rides for spectators and each combination will be interviewed “live” as they leave the arena after their ride.
The freestyle alone offers $84,000 (€63,000) in prize money, with $25,200 (€18,900) going to the winner.
The Grand Prix Special earlier Friday offers a total of $24,000 (€18,000) in prize money for 12 combinations.
U.S. combinations include Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, Idaho, and Wizard, Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida, Todd Flettrich and Otto, Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Nartan, Heather Blitz and Paragon and Arlene Page and Wild One, all of Wellington.
Olympians Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn, Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro and Evi Strasser and Action Tyme are among the Canadian competitors.
Admission and stadium seating is free for the entire competition, as is general parking while tables for six in the Global Pavilion are $1,500 including meals, as well as dinner and an open bar Friday night.
Startlist for the Grand Prix Thursday: