Challenge of the Americas to be Staged at Wellington’s Global Show Grounds Friday Night–Photo Essay by Carmen Franco

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The Winged Foot team in the final practice in a classic Florida sunset 24 hours before the Challenge of the Americas performance. © 2019 Carmen Franco

Mar. 7, 2019

Challenge of the Americas is a spectacular display of Grand Prix musical quadrilles to be staged at the Global Dressage Festival showgrounds in Wellington, Florida Friday night as the climax of weeks of preparations, rehearsals and fine-tuning by equestrians dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.

CotA, as it’s become known, was launched 18 years ago by Mary Ross as a tribute to her mother who died from breast cancer, as a one-of-a-kind showcase of the the Olympic sport of dressage with all money raised going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Top equestrian competitors from around the world make up the riders and horses on five teams–four “live” in the centerpiece international arena and the fifth streamed from the Netherlands and displayed on jumbotrons set up at each end of the arena. A jumping team also joins the performances under the lights.

An amazing dinner at the home of long time supporters Cathie and Theo Terantino–Theo displayed his cooking skills, legendary on the U.S. East Coast–helped cement camaraderie and team spirit.

Blackhorse One, the software company that has helped introduce high tech innovations in dressage, will provide graphics and instant scoring, with marks from individual judges displayed on the screens and can be accessed at https://results.equestrian-hub.com/187/1516.

The event will be live streamed on https://gdf.coth.com/.

Spectator judging will also be set up for the event so viewers around the world can vote their choices.

Judges are Janet Foy of the United States, Cesar Torrente of Colombia and Lee Tubman of Canada.

The five teams are:

Hyolift — Meagan Davis-USA/Damocles HLF; Heidi Degele-USA/Lakota HD; Nicholas Hansen-USA/Jewels Amethyst; Melissa MacLaran Velix-USA/Enrique; Molly Paris-USA/Countess; Calen Scroggins-USA/Bilodeau de I’Etincelle Z.

Purina — Pamela Goodrich-USA/Donnizetti; Bent Jensen-USA/Syrtaki; Olivia LaGoy-Weltz-USA/Moesgaards Azia; George Williams-USA/Sir Velo; Betsy Steiner-USA/Fabrice S; Kasey Perry-Glass-USA/Caminas MacCoy.

Gardner Bloemers, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management –Jim Koford-USA/Adiah HP; Allison Kavey-USA/Cacharel; Noel Williams-USA/Caprice; Betsy Van Dyke-USA/Cantana; Lauren Chumley-USA/Avatar’s Jazzman; Becky Cowden-CAN/Aziete Do Vouga.

MatchNRide — Renee Zomers-NED/Concerto; Miranda Hoezen-van der Pas-NED/Cha Cha Cha; Diane Heijmans-NED/Bailando; Sylvia van den Broek-NED/Selevia’s Champion; Otte Arts-NED/Tromph; Michelle Westerdijk-NED/Approval T.

Winged Foot — Yvonne Losos de Muñiz-Dominican Republic/Aquamarijn; Shannon Dueck-CAN/Cantaris; Bridget Hay-USA/Faolan; Ilse Schwarz-AUS/Don Joseph; Marco Bernal-COL/Guru; Raul Corchuelo-COL/Senorita.

Carmen Franco, both rider and photographer, followed the Winged Foot Enterprises team.

Bags of sponsor-donated goodies donated to the riders of Winged Foot. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Australian Ilse Schwarz showing off gifts from sponsors to riders. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Kristina Lane helping Ruth Hogan-Poulsen, Winged Foot coach and choreographer. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Marco Bernal about to get on Guru. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Takes a village to get letter pinned to the back of Bridget Hay on Faolan. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Winged Foot team practicing dance moves. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Team practicing in the rain. © 2019 Carmen Franco
It’s dressage, so what is the team practicing? Circles. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Early days yet, and the final salutes weren’t coordinated. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Horses had the dance moves down pat, though. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Art of dance. © 2019 Carmen Franco
Last minute video review of the team’s final practice. © 2019 Carmen Franco

Editor’s Note: To provide full disclosure, Ilse Schwarz of Winged Foot is married to Kenneth Braddick, editor and owner of dressage-news.com.