Debut CDI at Newly Opened World Equestrian Center Starts, 28 in 3* Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
OCALA, Florida, April 15, 2021–The first international dressage competition began at the spectacular World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida with 28 horses passing the veterinary inspection Thursday for the CDI3* Grand Prix that includes the combinations leading the standings for a place on Canada’s team for the Olympics.
Many of the riders admitted they were amazed at what some described as the jaw-dropping facility, personally built at a cost of many hundreds of millions of dollars and owned by the Roberts family that made its fortune in the trucking business. The show grounds have 2,200 permanent horse stalls with more being added to bring it to 3,000, its own luxury hotel with possibly two more to come, more than a dozen competition and warmup outdoor rings, several giant indoor arenas, a stone chapel, several permanent restaurants and retail stores and much more.
This competition drew many riders who spent the winter competing at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, four hours south of here, including a big Canadian contingent. Ashley Holzer, a Canadian Olympian who now rides for the United States and is the personal coach of all four, is also competing here.
The four leading combinations vying for a place on Canada’s team of three combinations plus a reserve are Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and All In, Chris von Martels and Eclips, Naïma Moreira Laliberté and Statesman and Lindsay Kellock and Sebastien.
The four plus Jill Irving and Diane Creech spent the winter in Wellington, accumulating scores in the Grand Prix and the Special to count toward selection for the Games. This show is the first opportunity to earn a score required since then, to be followed next week at Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina and two competitions scheduled for Canada. Tina Irwin on Fancy That are scheduled to compete in Tryon, their first competition this year.