The site where in 1985 Princess Diana accompanied her then husband Prince Charles onto the picturesque polo field in Wellington, Florida was where in many ways it all began for the surging equestrian community and Winter Equestrian Festival. The growth of the sport of Dressage has earned the status of an effort so strong and committed by the WEF Partners, that in its inaugural year the field of memories is about to become a field of dreams, introducing one of the richest Dressage series in the world, with over $250,000 in prize money to be distributed throughout the five CDI shows scheduled for the winter of 2012. Bringing back the magic on this field, the Global Dressage Festival 2012 is underway, with not only confirmed prize money and sponsor support but with 10 weeks of show dates, and facility perks already in place. See the list of shows and prize money being offered.
History was made with showjumping talent when the smooth grassy polo fields were transformed into a picturesque Grand Prix course hosting Olympic greats Rodney Jenkins, Joe Fargis, Anne Kursinski and other emerging equestrian superstars. When the infrastructure moved across the street, the newer and massive show grounds became the center for the Winter Equestrian Festival and the field of memories lost its luster. Palm Beach Polo had moved its location a few miles away, and the abandoned stadium was beaten down by hurricanes and neglect. The site of where so many magical moments occurred became a faded memory, until now. With construction underway the seasoned Equestrian Sport Productions team, which created so much excitement and atmosphere across the street at the Showjumping venue, is on target and focused on building what is sure to become the world's winter home for Dressage!
With multiple CDI’s being offered during the Florida season it has been rumored that the series is attracting European Olympians such as Dressage superstars Anky Van Grunsven with Spanish U25 (under 25 Grand Prix division) rider Morgan Barbancon and Anky’s former mount Painted Black. Californian Jan Ebeling’s name has been mentioned as well as the possible return of Swedish rider Tina Tinne Wilhemson who had such a successful Florida season in 2011. There has been talk of Brit Carl Hester and German Anje Plonske considering a balmy winter as a good way to prepare for the 2012 Olympic trials. One fact is known for sure: for the Olympic level sport of Dressage , there will be no other opportunity like this anywhere else in the world.
Some highlights already in place include
- Nighttime Freestyle classes on either Fridays or Sundays to make Saturday night Jumping and Sunday afternoon Polo available to everyone.
- Five mid-week National shows
- Prix Caprilli Pony Series, Para Equestrian Classes and U25 Classes
Show Dates for the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington Florida
- Jan. 24-25 – Global Dressage Festival Opener
- Feb. 2-5 – $50,000 Global Dressage Festival Wellington Dressage CDI
CDI-W, CDI3*, CDIJ, CDIU25, CDIY, USEF/USDF
- Feb. 16-19 – $50,000 Global Dressage Festival Florida Dressage Classic CDI
CDI-W, CDI3*, CDIJ, CDIU25, CDIY, USEF/USDF
- Feb. 21-22 – Global Dressage Festival National I
- Mar. 6-7 –Global Dressage Festival National Challenge
- Mar. 15-18 – $15,000 Global Dressage Festival WEF Dressage Classic CDI
CDI3*, CDIJ, CDIU25, CDIY, USEF/USDF
- Mar. 21-22 – Global Dressage Festival National Classic
- Mar. 29-Apr. 1 – $125,000 Global Dressage Festival 5*
- Apr. 3-5 – Global Dressage Festival National II
- Apr. 11-15 – $35,000 Global Dressage Festival Wellington Dressage Nations Cup CDIO3*
CDIJ, [CDIO3*], CDIU25, CDIY, USEF/USDF
Facility plans for 2012 include:
- VIP Pavilion with full Hospitality services-- similar to the International Club at the Jumper showgrounds for which ESP is famous
- A covered arena large enough for three regulation Dressage arenas
- Main outdoor arena and warm up, plus three additional outdoor arenas, all with world-class footing provided by Bart Poels Equestrian Services
- two permanent barns
- elevated vendor area
- all amenities of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center are available by short golf cart ride--an array of restaurants, shopping for the equestrian lifestyle, night clubs and art galleries.
Infomation, Prize Lists areposted at www.globaldressagefestival.com.