World Dressage Masters Announces Mechelen, Belgium as Addition to Series

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Anthony M. Kies of the World Dressage Masters.

The World Dressage Masters announced Friday it has added Mechelen, Belgium, to its circuit of CDI5* events, each with prize money of €100,000 (US$120,000).

The announcement of WDM for Mechelen between Christmas and New Year could put the organizers at loggerheads with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) that has previously stated its opposition to events in conflict with the World Cup indoor circuit. The FEI previously rejected adding Frankfurt to the WDM calendar that in turn led to cancelation of the Young Rider World Cup that had been sponsored since its inception by Ann-Kathrin Linenhoff whose family organizes the Frankfurt show traditionally held in mid-December.

Leo Lambreghts, chairman of Jumping Mechelen, and Anthony Kies, the WDM Chief Executive Officer announced the signing of a three year agreement.

Mechelen will be the first Belgium show to host a WDM event, which is scheduled for Dec. 27-28. The event had been a World Cup qualifier up until this year when it was dropped as part of a program to limit to eight qualifiers in the World Cup Western European League.

WDM announced that several top riders, including Adelinde Cornelissen, Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands, Germany’s Nadine Capellmann, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel, Morgan Barbançon of Spain and Jessica Michel of France have already sent in nominating entries.

Anthony Kies, Dutch by birth but a Belgium resident, said: “Mechelen for me is a top show with a super professional organization that really matches the profile we are looking for. Here they know how to stage top sport and embed it in a warm Flemish ambiance. I am thrilled that Jumping Mechelen has joined the WDM Family and I am convinced that this partnership will be very successful.”

WDM competitions are scheduled for West Palm Beach at the end of January but no European riders not based in Florida for the winter have yet been announced though tickets for the event are on sale; Munich, Germany in May, and Falsterbo, Sweden in July. Hickstead, England, had been a WDM venue but canceled this year because of a conflict with the Olympics in London and is in doubt for 2013.