Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival Nations Cup Upgraded to World Series for 2014

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United States I team gold medal winner at Wellington Nations Cup. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
United States I Nations Cup gold medal team of (l to r) Kimberly Herslow, Heather Blitz, Caroline Roffman and Shelly Francis at Wellington, Florida. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Oct. 7–The Nations Cup launched at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida as a pioneering effort to create a new format for the 2015 Pan American Games has been upgraded to join five European countries in the world series for 2014.

The Wellington event, first held two years ago as the first non-championship Nations Cup outside Europe, will be a CDIO3* of teams of mixed big tour and small tour combinations Feb. 18 to 23.

Teams will earn the same points as CDIO3* competitions of all Grand Prix combinations elsewhere in the world.

The FEI Dressage Committee voted to elevate the Wellington Nations Cup to the world series that lists Vidauban, France; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Kristiansand, Norway; Aachen, Germany and Hickstead, England so far for 2014.

Dressage at Devon, Pennsylvania is also listed on the FEI calendar for a Nations Cup but organizers have not yet determined the format and whether it is feasible at its show time of late September. The timing is within a few weeks of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

“I am very excited to have the Global Dressage Festival CDIO upgraded to becoming a member of the FEI’s international Nations Cup series,” said Robert Dover, the United States Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe. “Wellington is quickly evolving into the Mecca of the dressage world and elevating our competitions along with our great Florida weather and lifestyle are the perfect recipe for success.”

The Wellington Nations Cup has grown significantly from the first competition in 2012 and a growing number of countries have launched campaigns to develop full national squads.

In 2014, the dressage Nations Cup will be in the heart of the Global Dressage Festival and one week before the Winter Equestrian Festival’s jumping Nations Cup, both staged at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. In the two previous years, the dressage event was held in mid-April when many equestrians had left Wellington.

The Global Dressage Festival includes three World Cup events, a CDI4* and a CDI5* in addition to the Nations Cup from Jan. 22 to Mar. 30 with total prize money of more than $450,000.

Nations Cup teams made up completely of national riders were from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Spain and the United States in addition to squads made up riders from multiple countries in 2013.

The number of complete national teams could grow by at least another three countries to a total of eight if plans work out for some Latin American and European riders to compete in Florida this coming winter.

The Wellington event in 2013 included teams of up to two Grand Prix combinations competing in the Grand Prix and the Special and two at small tour for Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I.

That format will remain the same for 2014 as a template for the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015, a step in raising the level from small tour of previous Pan Ams that have been an Olympic qualifying event.

As a CDIO3*, Wellington will be worth 10 points to the winning team, eight for 2nd place, seven for 3rd, six for 4th, five for fifth, four for 6th, three for 7th and two for eighth.

The United States was the only country that competed in Wellington and entered teams at European shows in the series this year–placing third at Aachen and second at Hickstead.