Wellington, FL - National and International riders are gearing up for top-notch competition at the upcoming world-renowned $20,000 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDIW, which takes place March 1-4, 2012. Riders from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Canada, Columbia, Spain, Mexico, Argentina will join competitors from Hollywood, California to New Hope, Pennsylvania to Gate Mills, Ohio to Corpus Christy, Texas at the International Horse Sport (IHS) Palm Beach Champions Park in the Equestrian Estates in West Palm Beach to compete at “the Derby”, a USEF High Performance Qualifying Competition for this year’s 2012 World Cup and 2012 Olympic Games in London. “We have a record year for riders competing in the Grand Prix, and a wait-list as well,” stated Noreen O’Sullivan, Show Manager. Spectators can expect to see top competitors all weekend, including Sunday’s crowd-pleasing Musical Freestyles. “I have had competitors tell me that the Derby is their top show for the season.”
The Derby promises not only to be a season highlight with top competition, but also an unparalleled week of great shopping and special events, including a “London Calling” Competitors’ Party organized by Melissa Taylor of Legacy Farm and sponsored by the Ladies of Legacy Farm. Janne and Stanley Rumbough will host the Officials Party at the Everglades Club in downtown Palm Beach. On Saturday the annual Derby Leadline Class sponsored by Mary Phelps will take place at noon just after the awards ceremony. Sunday will be a favorite for spectators with a full lineup of Musical Freestyle competitions and special award presentations. And in keeping with tradition, spectators will have an amazing array of dressage shopping on vendor row, including tack, jewelry, apparel and more. The show will also feature the EAF/Palm Beach Dressage Derby “Inspection Reception” auction; bidders will vie for much sought after items such as a breeding to Totilas, musical and sports memorabilia, tickets to Cavalia Miami, and an African safari, among other donations. Proceeds will benefit the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF), which assists equestrians in their time of need.
The IHS Champions Park consists of 10 rings suitable for national and international competition on 50 acres, including 15 acres of parking, 150 horse stalls for international horses and 200 temporary stalls for the national shows and a new western events arena. “The IHS Champions Park offers a wonderfully unique country atmosphere in Florida, an atmosphere that horses really like,” says Managing Partner, Lars Petersen. “It’s a laid back and very natural. Horses like to work here in a natural setting, away from the hustle and bustle.” The arena layout and footing in the main competition rings and warm-ups have been upgraded to include one of the premiere arena footings available in the world, GGT Footing. "This footing is used all over Europe at many top competitions," Petersen said.
First held in 1983 at the Hanover Horse Farm in Loxahatchee, the Palm Beach Dressage Derby was one of the first competitions to offer top prize money and bring top European judges to the United States. The original grounds were small, with only two arenas for international use, but the Derby and its rich history has been an anchor for International Dressage in Palm Beach County. Many top riders and trainers can trace their roots to the Palm Beach Dressage Derby. “I am looking forward to another year of excellent competition at The Palm Beach Dressage Derby with all of the improvements that have been added to the showgrounds, including the new footing in the competition and warm up areas,” said Mary Anne McPhail, one of the hosts of the Derby. “I am sure all of the competitors will appreciate the new additions.”
In 1999, the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, Inc was reorganized as a 501(c)(3) and moved to its new home at the IHS Horse Park to offer world class international competition plus a full national level competition. In 2000, the Horse Park hosted the United States Equestrian Team Selection Trials. In 2010, the International Horse Sport Palm Beach partnership took over the reins of the Derby Series and management of the Horse Park, expanding the series to 5 shows, including the $15,000 IHS Champions Cup CDI3* and adding the IHS Blue Hors Invitational, where riders across the levels compete for over $15,000 cash and prizes.
The IHS management group consists of Lars Petersen, Danish FEI Olympic rider, trainer and 5-time Danish National Champion; Ed Borreson, FEI rider and trainer who has earned his U.S. Dressage Federation Gold, Silver and Bronze medals; Noreen O’Sullivan, Managing Partner and Show Manager, who brings more than 15 years of show management experience together with John Flanagan, Managing Partner and Sponsorship Coordinator for the Wellington Classic Dressage and the Gold Coast Dressage Association.
“We are very excited to present the 29th Annual Palm Beach Dressage Derby,” stated Managing Partner Ed Borresen. “It is an honor for IHS to host this show with Mary Anne McPhail, who has been such an amazing benefactor to our sport and community.”