The 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) will host three exciting dressage events at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL. The competitions, including qualifiers for the selection trials to determine the U.S. Dressage Team for the Pan-American Games to be held in the summer of 2003 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, will begin January 30. The dressage events at the 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival attract world champion and Olympic veteran riders such as Wellington resident Sue Blinks and include: · Wellington Dressage, January 30 – February 2 · Florida Dressage Classic, February 13-16 · Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic, March 13-16
Throughout the three weeks of competition, elite competitors will be vying for championship titles. In addition to the Pan-American Games Selection Trials qualifiers, WEF will also serve as a qualifier for the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Grand Prix Dressage Championship and the USET Intermediaire I Championship, and as the official Region 3 United States Dressage Federation (USDF) qualifying competition for the 2003 North American Young Riders’ Championships.
In dressage events, horse and rider combinations execute tests within the confines of a rectangular arena. Horses perform the required gaits and movements naturally in the herd, but in dressage, the movements are harnessed and summoned at the rider’s will. Dressage, which means simply “training” in French, forms the basis for training horses in most disciplines, such as hunters and jumpers, but only very talented horses and riders can reach the upper levels of dressage demonstrated during WEF competition.
During the 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival’s 11-week run, in which it hosts top-level hunter and jumper competition in addition to excellent dressage action, it “moves” to several Florida venues: The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington and the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The WEF begins January 22 and includes the following Wellington events:
- Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic, January 22-27
- Bayer Gold Coast Jumper Classic, January 29 – February 2
- Kilkenny/ICH Internationale, February 5-9
- Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular, February 12-16
- Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters, February 19-23
- Tommy Bahama Palm Beach Open, February 26 – March 2
- Cosequin Wellington Finale, March 5-9
Beginning March 12, WEF action moves to the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa for three major events:
- Suncoast Internationale, March 12-16
- Tampa Bay Classic, March 19-23
- Tournament of Champions, March 26-30
The Winter Equestrian Festival’s three weeks of competition in Tampa culminates with the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational in Raymond James Stadium on Saturday evening, March 29. The Winter Equestrian Festival then returns to Wellington for the $200,000 American Grandprix Association (AGA) National Championship, presented by Budweiser, April 2-6.
Admission to the Winter Equestrian Festival at Wellington is free every Wednesday, and children under 12 are always admitted free. Adult admission is $5.00 on Thursdays and Fridays, $10.00 on Saturdays, and $15.00 on Sundays. Senior citizens are $5.00 every Thursday through Sunday. All adults who attend the Festival any Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday will receive a coupon entitling them to a two-for-one admission on that weekend.
For more information on the Winter Equestrian Festival and all its exciting events and activities, please call Stadium Jumping, Inc. in Wellington at (561) 793-JUMP or visit www.stadiumjumping.com.