2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival to Host College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show

Wellington, FL - The inaugural College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show (CPI) will be held January 14-15, 2011, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) located in Wellington, FL. The PBIEC is home to the prestigious FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), which runs from January 12 through April 3, 2011.

This year, the management company of the FTI WEF, Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP), joined forces with the CPI to host the unique event, aimed at both young college-bound equestrians and their families.

Katherine Bellissimo, one of the founding partners of Wellington Equestrian Partners, explains that events such as the CPI offer a definite path to college for young equestrians. "The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival is proud to host the inaugural College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show to encourage the connection of young equestrians to their bright, horse-filled futures in higher education," Bellissimo said.

She added, "We want to help the families that make so many sacrifices for their kids to ride at any level to know that there is a path to college and opportunities to connect with these colleges."

Jeanne Rouca-Conesa, Co-Founder and Partner of the CPI, stated, "I cannot tell you how proud we are to have partnered with the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival as the venue for our inaugural College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show. Together we will expose many of the riders who compete at the WEF, and their families, to collegiate riding and the colleges and universities that have equestrian programs."

"In addition, we will be able to provide a unique opportunity for riders who may not have the means to compete at WEF, by allowing them to compete and learn at the epicenter of winter equestrian competition and one of the nation's top facilities," Rouca-Conesa went on to say. "The CPI will provide junior riders with resources, including scholarships and seminars, to help them create their future collegiate equestrian experience."

The CPI's mission is to prepare and educate student-riders about the format of college equestrian competition, to encourage academic horsemanship, and to provide the riders with the resources to create their desired future equestrian experience. The invitational is intended to introduce young equestrians from grades 6-12 to the college-format competition as well as highlight participating colleges and universities. Last year there was $40 million available for equestrian scholarships, so the CPI would like to let students know that the opportunity for education with equestrian sport is available.

With competition based on the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) classifications, the invitational will also include seminars and Q&A sessions for riders and families alike. One of the main goals of the CPI is to foster relationships between young riders, their families, and collegiate coaches and recruiters.

On Saturday, January 15, the competitors are expected to come dressed in their show clothes with their helmet, crop, and spurs in-hand. The riders will select their horses during a "live draw" at 8:15 a.m. and the show will begin promptly at 9:30. The CPI is intended to showcase riders of all levels because the IHSA and NCAA collegiate teams need riders to compete in divisions from walk-trot to the 3'6" open level. Run as a formal invitational, the CPI is accepting only 100 entries on a first-come, first-serve basis. The application deadline is December 3, 2010.

In total, there will be four scholarships awarded to eligible CPI participants: CPI Horsemanship Test Award, CPI Highest Point Rider, CPI Essay Contest, and CPI Champion of Service Award. There is an entry deadline of December 3, 2010, for the Horsemanship Test Award as well as the essay contest. The Champion of Service Award's entry deadline is December 17, 2010.

"The CPI is supporting the idea of the complete horseman by offering scholarships for the high scorers on the horsemanship test, the essay, and the riding portions of the event," says Shelby French, director of riding at Sweet Briar College.

French explained that because of the support of ESP, the FTI WEF, and other sponsors, the CPI is able to provide an opportunity for riders who may not have the means to compete at the prestigious FTI WEF winter circuit and to experience showing at a top facility.

"The CPI will also expose many of the riders who regularly compete at WEF and their families to collegiate riding and the colleges and universities that have collegiate riding programs," she said.

You can visit the CPI horse show's website at www.collegeprepinvitational.com for more information about the event, venue, scholarships and much more.

More on the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, including sponsor information, prize list announcements, and other exciting news will be announced throughout the fall.