Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival Planning for Full 2021 Seven-CDI Winter Circuit

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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Aug. 10, 2020–The Adequan Global Dressage Festival is planning a complete 2021 winter circuit of seven international events over three months with two new CDIs in the fall at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex.

Plans for the 2021 circuit from Jan. 6 to Mar. 28 were confirmed Monday by Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP), as Florida like many parts of the United States continues to battle the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

ESP organizes the Global circuit alongside the Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters and also operates International Polo Club in Wellington that hosts a series of tournaments over four months in winter and early spring.

The 2021 circuit will mark 10 years since Global was first staged to become the the top center for dressage competitions in the Americas and one of the top in the world, hosting at a single show grounds multiple World Cup events, top rated CDI5* and CDI4* competitions and the only Nations Cup outside western Europe.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the 2020 circuit to be cut short by two weeks in mid-March. Among cancellation were finals of the 2020 Lövsta Future Challenge for developing Grand Prix horses and Summit Farm Future Challenge for Small Tour. They were moved to the start of the 2021 season.

Three World Cup events, Jan. 7-10, Feb. 4-7 and Feb. 25-28, are already on the International Equestrian Federation 2021 calendar awaiting confirmation for Global.

The end of the 2020 Global Dressage Festival, virtually no spectators to watch Steffen Peters on Suppenkasper at Friday Night Under the Lights” Freestyle. 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The entire range of international competitions from children and ponies up to Grand Prix plus national events are included throughout the 12 weeks of Global.

Leading up to Global for the first time are CDI3* competitions in Wellington, Nov. 12-15 and Dec. 10-13. A month earlier, the Tryon international event, also organized by ESP, has been upgraded to a World Cup qualifier.

The impact on the large number of international competitors based outside the U.S.–primarily from Europe and Latin America–is not known.

Tim Dutta of The Dutta Corp., Global’s official transportation partner, reported there are no restrictions on horse travel.

“We anticipate and hope the USA will be open for our foreign friends,” he said of restrictions that have been imposed on much trans-Atlantic human travel.

Canadians, that make up a significant segment of Florida’s winter circuit, currently face hurdles traveling to and from the U.S.

Automatic temperature check at the competitor entrance to the Global Dressage Festival show grounds. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

With almost five months to go before the start of Global, issues under review include the presence of spectators, stabling and the large VIP tents with typically day-long food service and working with state and local health officials.

Several hunter/jumper shows have been held at the Global facility since mid-May, without spectators but face masks and social distancing required as well as automatic temperature checks .

The possibility by year’s end of low cost tests with on-the-spot results has been reported but not yet approved.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation has not yet announced the selection criteria for the team for the Tokyo Olympics delayed for a year to next summer.

However, if procedures are similar to the 2019/20 format, the Tryon event could be the first qualifier in the country. CDIs in Florida and California already on the calendar are expected to count.

Uncertain is the makeup of a European schedule in 2021. The premier World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany in early June was the key for final selection this year. But a change of dates to the usual time frame in July in 2021 makes it too close to the Olympics that open July 23 with dressage among the first events.