Wellington Classic Dressage, Palm Beach Dressage Derby, GCDA and IHS Palm Beach Affirm Commitment to Keep Dressage at Jim Brandon and Equestrian Estates
Wellington Classic Dressage (WCD), Gold Coast Dressage, Palm Beach Dressage Derby and International Horse Sport Palm Beach (IHSPB) have announced that their 2012 USEF-Licensed Dressage Shows are set to remain at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center and Equestrian Estates Horse Park, home of the prestigious Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W.
Equestrian Sports Productions (ESP), which manages the Winter Equestrian Festival hunter/jumper series and Wellington Equestrian Partners recently announced plans for construction of a new dressage venue at the former Palm Beach Polo Stadium in Wellington, a project that WCD and IHS Palm Beach managers say may take years to complete and that may conflict with current zoning and development restrictions. Current plans call for the addition of a winter dressage series. ESP has hosted dressage shows in the past, but they have not been as successful as ESP’s hunter/jumper shows causing several planned dressage shows to be cancelled, including this past year’s World Dressage Masters competition, which was then hosted by WCD. The current campaign to add the dressage series and raise sponsorship funds is being led by Robert Dover, which is apparently resulting in confusion as several of the show dates proposed for the new series are already established CDI and USEF-licensed competitions set for WCD, GCDA and IHS for their 2012 winter season. WCD, GCD and HIS officials say they want to end the confusion by making clear their intention to continue running their shows.
“There has been a rumor that we are working with ESP to bring our well-established USEF Licensed Shows, and CDIs to a proposed new venue but that’s simply NOT true,” said Noreen O’Sullivan, president of Gold Coast Dressage Association and managing partner for WCD and IHS Palm Beach. “We are absolutely committed to support both the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center and Equestrian Estates by maintaining our World-Class CDIs, as well as our national, USEF-licensed competitions at these two venues.” Mary Anne McPhail, president of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, echoed O’Sullivan’s statement, “We absolutely are hosting the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W and the Equestrian Estates shows here at the Equestrian Estates Horse Park.” The Palm Beach Dressage Derby is one of Florida’s most prestigious and longest-running CDI competitions.
The Wellington Classic Dressage series, which this past year included the World Dressage Masters CDI5*, which WCD officials note was originally cancelled by ESP citing financial concerns, has played a leading role in developing Florida’s successful winter dressage circuit. Wellington Classic and Gold Coast call the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center’s 111-acre park home for over 16 weeks of dressage Competitions throughout the year. O’Sullivan notes that IHS Palm Beach is continuing the legacy of the Derby and Dressage at the Equestrian Estates shows with their six-week series of USEF-licensed shows and CDIs. This season kicked off major expansion plans and improvements to the 50-acre venue, which has nine all-weather riding rings. Combined WCD, GCDA and IHSPB hosted six CDI competitions during the 2011 winter season and O’Sullivan said they have every intention of continuing to host and manage these same CDI competitions and nationally-rated shows in their dressage series.
“Those involved with WCD, GCDA and The Derby have worked extremely hard over many years to make Florida the center of dressage in the winter season by providing back-to-back international-caliber competitions. We are proud of the fact that we have built such a strong foundation for World-Class dressage competition in the Palm Beach region that others now want part of the action. It is our intention to continue to do what we’ve been doing for years – provide quality dressage competitions that cater to the needs of both amateur as well as professional Riders,” O’Sullivan said. “We are grateful to the riders and sponsors who have provided us with such strong support over the years. With their continued support, we expect that our shows will only get better each year regardless of what other show competitions might emerge. We view the riders as our partners and will continue to do our best to provide them with dressage competitions that not only of the highest quality but that also are responsive to their needs and desires.”
For more information on the Gold Coast Dressage Association visit www.gcdafl.org. For more information on the Wellington Classic Dressage Series visit www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com. For more information on the International Horse Sport Palm Beach show series visit www.ihspb.com.