Week five of the 2024 Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, began today 7 February 2024 with a windy horse inspection. The Florida circuit is almost half way but the audience is still waiting for the big, American names to crawl out of the wood works.
The horse inspection for the 2024 CDI-W Wellington ran smoothly, but the atmosphere was a bit chilly, and not just because of a firm breeze.
Doom and Gloom
The trot up is the routine start of a CDI and most horses were on good behaviour, except one that jumped the plastic fence and took a hike across the stable area. The atmosphere at the show today felt slightly grim. The big horse abuse scandal concerning local Olympian Cesar Parra has a firm grip on everyone's mind and rings through all conversation.
More doom and gloom is in store tonight as the Wellington Village Council will vote on the rezoning of Equestrian Village, the land on which the Global Dressage Festival is held. If they vote yes, it mean the end of GDF as it is, in its current location of 12 years. Money generating homes instead of horses will be the future of that green oasis of horse sport. A last-minute effort of a group of passionate dressage lovers, who pooled together no less than 25 million dollars to secure the equestrian future of Equestrian Village might be too little, too late.
February in Florida
I have been coming to Florida since 1999 to cover CDI shows in this paradisal town. This year I decided to stay a whole month and cover three CDI's in a row: this week's World Cup qualifier, as well as the CDIO Nations Cup, followed by my favourite show, the Palm Beach Derby.
The last time I photographed was the European Championships in Riesenbeck and for some reason I felt a bit rusty today, shooting in fairly difficult conditions with hard sunlight. While the sun gave a summery feel on your skin, the windy cooled everything down.
I hung around the horse inspection, listened to the conversations, and shot a few training photos, that I share here in the photo gallery. Tomorrow the CDI-W Wellington starts with the Under 25 Intermediaire II. I'll report for duty at 8 AM.
-- Text and Photos © Astrid Appels - NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED / NO SCREEN SHOTS