Dressage World Cup Riders in Wellington Disappointed at Cancellation of Final, But Support Protection of Horses from Equine Herpes Virus

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Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu on All In competing in a Global Dressage Festival World Cup. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 12, 2021–Dressage riders invited to the World Cup Final Friday expressed disappointment the event was canceled but strongly supported measures to protect horses from the equine herpes virus outbreak that led to the Gothenburg, Sweden championship being called off. Six riders representing four nations and competing in Wellington were preparing to head to the World Cup, three for the first time.

“It was an honor to be invited to my first World Cup Final,” said Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu who was scheduled to take All In on whom she is the Canadian highest ranked on the world standings. “I am disappointed but I respect the FEI decision for making the right choice.”

Sahar Daniel Hirosh of Israel who earned his invitation in the Western European League but is based in the Unjited States said though he was devastated to miss competing Whitman at his first Final but “it is the right thing for the horses.”

Sahar launched a successful Go Fund Me campaign that raised more than $12,000 from donations from around the world. Canada’s David Marcus who is based in Wellington and coaches Sahar offered to fly to Sweden at no cost to help during the Final. Well known dressage equestrian clothing designer Charles Ancona of New York offered Sahar a customized tail coat.

Shelly Francis who was to go to her second Final with Danilo–the World Cup in Paris in 2018 was the first for the pair–said she was not surprised as a result of news reports of European countries having concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and more outbreaks of equine herpes virus.

“So for me it was a few days of excitement, which is always fun,” she said. “I just hope and pray that our world can get back to some form of normalcy! My philosophy is to continue and persevere as much as we all can. Life can be short and we need to enjoy as much as we can.”

Yvonne Losos de Muñiz of the Dominican Republic who was preparing for what would have been her third final and the second with Aquamarijn–the first at Gothenburg two years ago–said: “It is very sad but also I only want the best for the horses and the integrity of the sport.”