Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival Preparing to Celebrate 10th Anniversary as a Premier Equestrian Destination

9 months ago StraightArrow Comments Off on Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival Preparing to Celebrate 10th Anniversary as a Premier Equestrian Destination
The Adequan Global Dressage Festival show grounds in Wellington, Florida which hosts seven CDIs, the most of any venue in the world, and a typical “Friday Night Lights” atmosphere-laden Grand Prix Freestyle that will be missing in 2021 as a result of coronavirus restrictions. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Instead, spectator stands will be more like this, the last show in the world in 2020 before coronavirus lockdowns in which Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and All In posted a personal best score in the Global Dressage Festival Nations Cup Grand Prix Freestyle from which spectators were excluded. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 7, 2020

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup will be the first international event of 2021 and mark the 10th anniversary of the Wellington, Florida shows that have grown to become one of the world’s premier circuits.

Friday Night Lights Grand Prix Freestyles with spectators packed into open air stands and the VIP pavilion that has been a hallmark of Florida’s typically warm winter-long circuit will be missing this year as a result of measures to counter coronavirus.

But there are early indications the circuit of seven CDIs–three World Cup qualifiers, two CDI4*s, a CDI5* and still the only dressage Nations Cup outside Europe–is drawing large numbers of riders. The circuit is an essential qualifier for some nation’s teams for the Olympics in Tokyo delayed a year to mid-summer and the World Cup Final scheduled for Gothenburg, Sweden in April.

As with much of the economy ravaged by Covid-19, competitors and their sponsors and horse owners are anxious to return to the show rings for the sake of their businesses that a large army of staff and support enterprises depend upon for their livelihoods.

Strict enforcement of requirements for face masks, social distancing, virtually no spectators are tougher than required by Florida regulations but have kept at least 25 hunter/jumper and dressage competitions at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center over the second half of 2020 almost completely free of incidents.

A look back of some of the highlights of the past decade of the Global Dressage Festival, launched with the promise of a show grounds equal to any in the world and a schedule of competitions over three months with high prize money. The memories are those of the photographer who was there before the beginning and has not missed a competition in the international arena since the first event.

Olympic and world championship riders Robert Dover, Lisa Wilcox and Michelle Gibson of the USA and Oded Shimoni of Israel with Mark Bellissimo, chief executive of Wellington Equestrian Partners, at Global’s ground-breaking in 2011. Wellington Partners own the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center that includes the Global Dressage and Winter Equestrian Festivals. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The first combination to go down the centerline at Global’s first competition, a national class, on Feb. 2, 2012 was Laurie Moore on Rolero. Laurie had moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Wellington to be a part of the new circuit. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Austria’s Katharina Stumpf, an amateur rider, preparing For My Love in the first big tour class at the Global Dressage Festival grounds in 2012. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
A couple of weeks later, Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén, who at that time had competed in five Olympics for Sweden, rode Don Auriello to their debut–and victory–at Global. The pair went on to the Olympics at London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016 to make it a total of seven so far for Tinne. Their performance put a European stamp of approval on Global and later led to Lövsta Stuteri, the Swedish stud owned by Antonia Ax:son Johnson that Tinne rides for, to become a Global sponsor, including of the developing Grand Prix series. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades were a center stage attraction for much of the past decade at Global. The pair started 44 times, beginning with Small Tour in 2012, Global’s inaugural year, followed by a Grand Prix career that prepared the pair for Olympics, world championships, and Pan American Games medal-winning performances as well as World Cup Finals. Laura and Verdades set Global’s high score of 84.975% in the Grand Prix Freestyle at Friday Night Lights on Feb. 2, 2018. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Californian Kasey Perry-Glass moved to Wellington to pursue a career at top sport on Dublet. The pair began with Small Tour at Global in 2014 and 2015 then moved up to Grand Prix with Wellington’s three months as her base began living her dream. In 2016, the pair made the American team that earned bronze at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. They next went to the World Cup Final in Omaha, then the silver medal team at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018. Along with her team mate and friend, Laura Graves on Verdades made the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden the swan song for the duo. Perhaps one of the most memorable performances was winning the Friday Night Lights Grand Prix Freestyle at Global in March, 2017. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adrienne Lyle on Salvino being congratulated by Debbie McDonald, her long-time mentor and coach, after the 10-year-old stallion’s first CDI Grand Prix in 2017. Adrienne and the Hanoverian stallion were on the 2018 World Equestrian Games silver medal team at Tryon and are the top rated American combination ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. The horse, owned by Betsy Juliano, began his life in America in Wellington. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The wonderful enthusiasm of the Nations Cup. Juan Matute Guimon cheering home his father, Juan Matute Azpitarte, who came out of retirement in 2013 to join his son and daughter Paula in making up the Spanish team in the Nations Cup at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida in 2013. Global was the only senior team competition outside Western European in the official series. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Global was the scene of some memorable farewells.

Mariett, a Danish Warmblood mare whose competition career was thought to be over when he tore off his hoof in his stall, returned to the arena with Danish Olympian Lars Petersen as the rider to become one of the most successful and popular combinations at Global. Marriett, owned by American Marcia Pepper, won two CDI5*s and topped the prize money earnings in addition to competing for Denmark at the 2014 Normandy World Equestrian Games and the 2015 World Cup Final in 2015. Marriett was retired at Global in 2017 and is seen here being led by Lars, who then opted to ride under the Stars and Stripes. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Grandioso, owned by Kimberly van Kampen who also funded construction of Global’s giant Van Kampen covered arena, was ridden for Spain by Jose Daniel Martin Dockx at the Olympics in London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2015 European Championships, was retired in Wellington in 2017. Kerrigan Gluch is holding the horse. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro competed in the first Global competition in February 2012 and every year until their final appearance in 2018, building a huge fan base with her emotional freestyles that included Disturbed’s “Sound of Silence” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The duo rode for Canada at the Olympics in London in 2012 and World Cup Final in 2013 near the gray gelding’s birthplace in Sweden. The standing ovation for “Goose’s” final Global appearance said it all. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Janne Rumbough, an amateur competing on horses she bred and developed to Grand Prix and has competed well into her 70s. She’s seen here with My Lady and Mikala Münter. Janne owned My Lady that Mikala was successful at Global and rode for Denmark at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, the 2015 European Championships and two World Cup Finals before retiring. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The best in the world came with their training tools for master classes.

Carl Hester providing help to Jan Ebeling on the 10-year-old Danish Warmblood mare Indeed V. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth coaching Benjamin Albright on Falstaff in 2019. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

As a wrap to 2020 at the Global Dressage Festival

An unprecedented experience at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Friday Night Lights Freestyle–virtually no spectators as Steffen Peters rode Suppenkasper in a season of 11 undefeated starts as the rider campaigned for a place on America’s team at the Tokyo Games that were put off for a year. If he succeeds, it will be Steffen’s fifth Olympics. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com