2011 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Set to Begin at Jim Brandon Center
In just two days, The World Dressage Masters 2011 season will get under way with the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5* presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach. The richest dressage competition ever to have taken place in North America, and the only five star FEI dressage competition to take place on this continent, the WDM Palm Beach will see 17 of the world's most successful dressage riders and their horses compete for 100,000 Euros in prize money.
Five European horses arrived in West Palm Beach on the weekend, following a transatlantic flight and brief quarantine. Also arriving by air to Miami late last week was Olympic and World Equestrian Games medalist Steffen Peters' mount, Ravel. Owned by Akiko Yamazaki, the 13 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding is the most successful dressage horse in American history, having won the 2009 World Cup Final and two individual bronze medals at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
Joining the list of American, Canadian and European entries is North America's other top pair: Canada's Ashley Holzer and Pop Art, who are already in Florida for the winter show season. This will be both Holzer's and Peters' third appearance at the WDM Palm Beach, which will be produced concurrently by Wellington Classic Dressage with the Wellington Dressage Classic Challenge II CDI3*.
"Now that the horses have safely arrived at the Jim Brandon Center and are becoming accustomed to their surroundings, we are getting very excited to see the World Dressage Masters get started," says Wellington Classic Dressage's Noreen O'Sullivan. "It is both a thrill and an honor to host the WDM Palm Beach, and to have the opportunity to invite international competitors of this caliber to South Florida."
The WDM Palm Beach will officially begin on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 9th when the horses are presented to the FEI ground jury for the mandatory horse inspection at12:30 pm. The ground jury is itself a star studded group of Olympic and World Equestrian Games judges and includes the following names:
Jayne Ayres (I) USA
Stephen Clarke (O) GBR
Wim Ernes (O) NED
Lorraine MacDonald (I) CAN
Hans Christian Matthiesen (I) DEN
Gary Rockwell (O) USA
Cara Whitham (O) CAN
Lois Yukins (I) USA
Immediately following the horse inspection, the draw for order of go for Thursday's Grand Prix competition will take place, followed later in the afternoon by a reception and presentation to which all WDM Palm Beach ticket holders will be invited. The results of the Grand Prix will determine the start list for the Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle. The top eight placed pairs from the Grand Prix will proceed to the Freestyle on Friday evening, while the rest of the field will compete on Friday afternoon in the Grand Prix Special. A competitors' party at the Mallet Grill at IPC, to which ticket holders are also invited, will wrap up events on Thursday evening.
The main spectator draw at the WDM Palm Beach will be Friday evening's Grand Prix Freestyle, where horses will perform six minute choreographed programs featuring the highest movements of dressage. What makes the freestyle such an outstanding experience for the audience is the customized music featured in each performance. The musical genres used in dressage freestyles vary from rock-and-roll to movie scores, and each freestyle is created to enhance the impression of maximum expression and power in each horse's performance. While the audience feasts their eyes and ears on the beauty of the most artistic form of Olympic equestrian sport, they will also be feasting in a more literal sense. A five course Southern France-inspired dinner from International Polo Club Catering, accompanied by wine pairings from the most renowned wine regions of France, will be served at ringside tables. The Jim Brandon Center, elaborately decorated, will transport participants and spectators to the elegance of Provence.
Friday evening's entertainment will begin with a Master Class presentation by Dutch Olympic silver medalist and 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games gold medal team member Hans Peter Minderhoud, who will demonstrate his expertise in training horses at the Grand Prix level. Following the competition and awards presentation, an after-party will be the final celebration of this week of world class international dressage.
The following rider/horse combinations will compete at the 2011 WDM Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach:
Steffen Peters (USA) - Ravel
Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven (SWE) - Favourit
Ashley Holzer (CAN) - Pop Art
Tina Konyot (USA) - Calecto V
Michal Rapcewicz (POL) - Randon
Valentina Truppa (ITA) - Chablis
Anja Plonzke (GER) - Le Mont d'Or
Christa Laarakkers (NED) - Ovation
Anne Van Olst (DEN) - Clearwater
Todd Fletrich (USA) - Otto
Pierre St Jacques (USA) - Lucky Tiger
Evi Strasser (CAN) - Quantum Tyme
Shannon Dueck (CAN) - Ayscha
Shawna Harding (USA) - Come On III
Elisabeth Austin (USA) - Olivier
The first and second placed combinations from the CDI3* Grand Prix test at the Wellington Classic Challenge II
World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Fast Facts:
What: North America's only CDI5*, and part of the richest dressage series in the world. Up to twenty of the world's top dressage stars will compete for 100,000 Euros in prize money at the WDM Palm Beach.
Wednesday March 9th, 12:30 pm: CDI5* horse inspection
Thursday March 10th, 1:00 pm: CDI5* Grand Prix
Friday, March 11th, 1:00 pm: CDI5*Grand Prix Special
Friday, March 11th, 6:00 pm: CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle