2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival to Host Artisan Farms Young Rider Series


Wellington, FL - The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the Artisan Farms Young Rider Series during the upcoming circuit. The Artisan Farms Young Rider Series will consist of the three $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix classes and the Artisan Farms $20,000 Young Rider Team competition, which will be qualifiers for the EY Cup in Leipzig, Germany.

The 2011 FTI WEF will run from January 12 to April 3, 2011, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with 12 weeks of hunter/jumper competition.

The Artisan Farms Young Rider Series is open to riders who have not reached their 25th birthday by December 31, 2011, and who have not competed on a Nations Cup team at a CSIO 3* or higher, in a Grand Prix at CSI 5*, or in a Grand Prix at CSI-W 4* or higher. A maximum of two horses per rider is allowed in the qualifiers.

This series offers a new division for riders who are aiming for the international level and will help those in the transition from the junior ranks as well. It is open to riders from all countries, and it promises to be an exciting series for young riders from around the globe.

Michael Stone, President of Equestrian Sport Productions, said, "We are pleased to be involved with the EY Cup organization that was started in Europe to develop this age group of riders and is now one of the most important competitions in the world. It gives riders the tremendous opportunity to compete during the World Cup Finals in Leipzig."

A qualifying system for the Artisan Farms Young Rider Series has been developed by Equestrian Sport Productions and will be awarded by Artisan Farms. The young riders competing in the Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix and Team Competition will be ranked by clear rounds, which will encourage better riding and reward consistency. The three highest scoring riders in the Series will earn the opportunity to participate in the EY Cup Finals in Leipzig, Germany during the World Cup Finals in April 2011, representing their respective country.

Through the sponsorship, the travel expenses to the EY Cup Finals will be paid for the highest scoring rider of the Artisan Farms Young Rider Series.

Carlene Ziegler, who owns Artisan Farms with her husband Andrew, is proud to support this exciting new series. "We wanted to support the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival and sponsor a meaningful class. It's an opportunity for young riders to learn and grow. We need to support these riders financially too, for them to be able to go to the types of competitions like the EY Cup," Ziegler stated. " I'm looking forward to seeing our junior and young riders competing at a really high level."

The Zieglers' daughter Caitlin is a top junior jumper rider who competes at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. "We chose to have Wellington as our winter base of operations, and we think it's the best training ground for her that we can have," Ziegler said. "We love watching her compete on a team, and this year in the Artisan Farms Young Rider Series will be another great experience."

The first $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix will take place in the International Arena on Sunday, February 13, 2011, while the second $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix will run under the lights in the International Arena on Thursday, February 24. The final $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix will be held on the grass derby field at The Stadium on Sunday, March 20, 2011.

The $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Team Event will be held in the International Arena on Thursday evening, March 10.

Artisan Farms will be the presenting sponsor of the George Morris Excellence in Equitation class on Friday, March 18. There will also be an Artisan Farms Young Rider Clinic Series throughout the FTI WEF, with details to follow soon. Stone noted, "Our Artisan Farms Young Rider Clinic Series will show various aspects of top level competition for the young riders. This is just another part of our commitment to developing the sport."

George H. Morris, the U.S. Show Jumping Chef d'Equipe, stated, "These classes are great for our young show jumpers in America. The opportunity to qualify and attend the EY Cup in Leipzig during the World Cup Final in 2011 is wonderful and one that our up-and-coming show jumpers should strive toward."

Michelle Grubb, the Chef d'Equipe for previous United States Developing Riders tours in Europe, believes that the Artisan Farms Young Rider Series will be a great benefit to young riders in the United States.

"It means a great deal for young riders," she acknowledged. "The North American Junior Young Rider Championship is a really important event for our country. When riders age out of junior classes to amateurs or professional classes, there is such a gap when competing nationally and internationally. This is a great stepping stone for our young riders. This gives them a venue to compete on an equal level with riders at their age and experience level."

"For the future, the series is important because the fact is that young riders in the United States only have one or two chances per year to compete on a team," she explained. "That is an experience that every rider needs. If they can start early and learn what it's like to compete on a team level, we'll get a bigger pool of top experienced riders to choose from. That's very important for our nation and our sport."

Grubb added, ""We owe great thanks to Artisan Farms for their vision in supporting this endeavor, and we really appreciate their support."

The 2011 FTI WEF promises to be more exciting than ever with opportunities for every level of rider. More on the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, including sponsor information, prize list announcements, and other exciting news will be announced throughout the fall leading up to the start of the winter circuit.

The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 12 through April 3. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.

WEF is proud to be supported by their title sponsor, FTI Consulting, Inc. FTI Consulting, Inc. exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex economic, legal and regulatory environment. FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history. For more information, please visit www.fticonsulting.com.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Photo Credit: Jessica Springsteen and Iscariote won the second $25,000 G&C Farm Young Rider Grand Prix at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., www.mustphoto.com.




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