Global Dressage Festival Opens to More Horses, More Spectators, More Buzz

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Ann Romney talking with Robert Dover (in blue shirt) and Jan Ebeling and Beth Meyer at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ann Romney talking with Robert Dover (in blue shirt) and Jan Ebeling and Beth Meyer at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 13, 2016–Ann Romney on her first trip with horses found the Adequan Global Dressage Festival an “exciting environment that will help inspire” improvement, Harmony Sporthorse trainers from Great Britain and Germany were excited to compete in the first of seven weeks of international events while the Ellesse Tzinberg of the Philippines was hoping her inaugural Florida show could springboard her to the Olympics.

More horses and riders from around the world than ever before were already in Wellington for the start of the fifth year of the winter circuit offering almost $700,000 in total prize money–at least 30 nations represented from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and North and South America.

Four World Cup qualifiers and the only CDI5*, CDI4* and Nations Cup in the Western Hemisphere are on the calendar for the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex that has become the face of dressage in the Americas and a vital focus of top sport in the world.

Accompanying the record CDI entries has been huge growth in spectators including to the VIP pavilion that has been expanded with a new wing to meet demand.

“This is my first trip to Florida with horses and have been so impressed with the facilities and the number of people that are here from all over the country and the world,” said Ann Romney who is in Wellington with her trainer Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California as well as Beth Meyer and and Amy Ebeling who were under the microscope as the owners of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team horse Rafalca in the overheated presidential campaign in which her husband was the Republican candidate.

“It is an exciting environment that will help inspire us all to keep improving with sich great competition. Happy to be here with two of my horses and to also have Rassolini here competing on the big stage.”

Suzan Pape of Great Britain and Michael Klimke of Germany, both leading trainers who are in Florida thanks to John and Leslie Malone’s Harmony Sporthorses of Kiowa, Colorado.

Christoph Koschel, German team rider, working with Portugal's Ricardo Wallenstein on Bem Me Quer. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Christoph Koschel, German team rider, working with Portugal’s Ricardo Wallenstein on Bem Me Quer. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“It’s my first time here but I’m excited to be competing,” said Suzan, well known as a championship young horse trainer and competitor and who is riding Harmony’s Fiorano in the Grand Prix Thursday. “It’s great to be able to train and compete in the great weather and this wonderful facility. I’m looking forward to the season.”

Michael Klimke in Wellington for his second winter season said he liked being back in the atmosphere of the Global Festival.

“I really enjoyed my first year here,” said Michael who is scheduled to ride Don William II in the Grand Prix. “I’m excited for my second year, to compete here and return to Europe fully prepared for the outdoor circuit.”

Ellesse Tzinberg of the Philippines on Pavarotti is one of dozens of combinations seeking to earn qualification for their nations or to be selected for their country’s team or to fill individual places. Or newcomers such as Austria’s Diana Porsche, who at 19 years of age had a spectacularly successful 2015 at Young Rider, Under-25 and Big Tour.

Ellesse Tzinberg of the Philippines and Pavarotti. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ellesse Tzinberg of the Philippines and Pavarotti. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén jogging Don Auriello at the Grand Prix veterinary check. Tinne is preparing the horse for her seventh Olympic Games for Sweden. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén jogging Don Auriello at the Grand Prix veterinary check. Tinne is preparing the horse for her seventh Olympic Games for Sweden. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Royal Gem being led by Missy Fladland, a jogging billboard for the 2017 World Cup Final in Omaha, Nebraska. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Royal Gem being led by Missy Fladland, a jogging billboard for the 2017 World Cup Final in Omaha, Nebraska. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com