Global Dressage Festival in Wellington Gets Underway as 2021 First International Dressage Event

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U.S. Olympic team prospects Olivia LaGoy-Weltz of Haymarket, Virgina and Lonoir at the Global Dressage Festival veterinary inspection, where the temperature was a balmy 75F/24C. © 2021 Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 13, 2021–The 10th annual Global Dressage Festival began Wednesday as the first international dressage competition in the world in 2021 with almost 50 combinations from 10 nations participating.

Another 18 rider and horse combinations will compete in two Future Challenge finals of developing Big and Small tour horses postponed from last year as a result of coronavirus, and 112 more in national competitions at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex.

The kickoff of the Global circuit of seven CDIs over 12 weeks of winter initially will be without general admission spectators, but the VIP pavilion will be open with requirements for face masks and social distancing as is enforced throughout the show grounds which also include the Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters.

California’s Anna Buffini and FRH Davinia la Douce and coach Günter Seidel, a three-time Olympian for the U.S. who is also competing at Global on Equirelle W. © 2021 Ken Braddick/

The schedule of competitions the first week as with most of the Global shows include two Grand Prix and most international divisions.

The World Cup, one of three qualifiers at Global this season, will see 13 pairs line up, the most of the four staged so far leading to the Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April and the first with enough for the full application of points.

North America is allocated two places at the Final but was seeking a third spot as it received at Gothenburg two years ago,. But the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) appears to have taken away that possibility as well as a start for a non-league combination by awarding the places to Western Europe.

In the outstanding jogging outfit of the day, Shelley Van Den Neste of Newberry, Florida, leading Firefly at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2021 Ken Braddick/