Tampa, FL—December 29, 2001—Thirty years after its founding, the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival (CWEF) has grown to become the premier equestrian competition in the country, attracting champion horses and riders and offering $2.5 million in prize money. Recognizing the CWEF’s position as a world-class competition, the Fédération Equestre International (FEI) this year has chosen the Festival as the site of the United States’ first-ever outdoor Nations’ Cup, a prestigious international team show jumping competition.
The Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival, held from January 23 through April 7, is 10 weeks of non-stop competition for hunter- jumper and dressage riders at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington and at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.
Spectators will see the top riders in the world, including Olympic veterans Margie Goldstein-Engle, Laura Kraut, Lauren Hough, Nona Garson, Leslie Howard, Peter Leone, Anne Kursinski, Norman Dello Joio and Joe Fargis. But the Festival is also a showcase for young riders who are beginning their show ring careers, each with dreams of Olympic competition ahead. The Festival is an opportunity for them to test their skills and that of their horses against much more experienced riders.
The Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival is presented by the nation’s premier producer of hunter, jumper and dressage shows, Stadium Jumping, Inc. President Eugene R. Mische is known for his innovative, professional approach to horse show management, bringing the finest equestrian facilities, judges, and support staff for an unforgettable series of shows that delight spectators across the country.
Mische, a horseman who owns Imperial Farms in Palmetto, FL, was inspired to begin the Festival when he attended a show jumping competition, the American Gold Cup, in Cleveland, Ohio, more than 30 years ago. Mische saw opportunities to put some sizzle into show jumping and he moved the event to sunny Florida, attracting television coverage, and generating large money prizes.
Today, the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival attracts more than 4,000 horses while giving the Florida economy a boost by generating well over $21 million each year.
During the 10-week Festival, competition takes place from Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8:00 a.m. daily. But savvy spectators know that the festival offers more than action in the arena. Dozens of boutiques offer unique gifts and clothing for horse lovers, and riders can find the latest trends in training and grooming equipment as well.
The Festival is unique in that it “moves” to several Florida venues: The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa and the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
This year, the CWEF kicks off with the Nutrena Wellington Classic, January 23-27, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. The Classic is part of the Festival’s $1 million Grand Prix series, which will attract the top horses and riders who have qualified to compete:
Nutrena Wellington Classic, January 23-27
Bayer Gold Coast Classic on January 30 – February 3
Kilkenny Internationale on February 6 - 10
Florida Classic & WCHRA Spectacular on February 13 - 17
Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters on February 20 - 24
Tommy Bahama Palm Beach Open on February 27 - March 3
Cosequin Wellington Finale on March 6 – 10
The Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters, Tommy Bahama Palm Beach Open and the
Cosequin Wellington Finale also host events on the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series.
The Nations’ Cup will put a high-flying polish on the Cosequin Wellington Finale, March 6 – 10, during the CWEF’s last week at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. Wellington is only the fifth location in the United States to be selected for a Nations’ Cup since the first Nations’ Cup was held in London in 1909. In a Nations’ Cup competition, participants – usually of Olympic caliber – are chosen to ride for their country’s team. The event is expected to attract teams from the United States, Canada, Germany, Colombia, Brazil, Holland and other nations.
After the Nations’ Cup, action moves to the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa for three major events:
•Suncoast Internationale on March 13 – 17
•Tampa Bay Classic on March 20 - 24
•Tournament of Champions on March 27 – 31
The Suncoast Internationale and the Tampa Bay Classic also host events on the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series.
Only the best of the top competitors during the CWEF are invited to take part in the 30th annual $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational on Saturday evening, March 30 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Thirty competitors are invited, with each rider competing with only one horse. Invitations are issued to the 2001 Budweiser American Invitational winner, the top four riders of the 2001/2002 AGA Rider of the Year Standings and the 25 top money earners of the WEF Challenge Cup Series.
The final show of the 2002 Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival, the $200,000 AGA Championship Presented By Budweiser, will be held April 3-7 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL.
Dressage competition begins with Wellington Dressage, January 31 - February 3, followed by the Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic on February 14 – 17 and then finishes with the WEF Dressage Classic on March 14 - 17. The three dressage championships will be held at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. The second two shows feature qualifiers for the World Equestrian Games selection trials and USET Intermediaire I Championships which will be held at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, June 19 – 23 in Gladstone, NJ. In addition, they are also USDF Region 3 qualifying competitions for the North American Young Riders’ Championships, August 6 – 11 in Wadsworth, IL.
“These three world-class dressage shows feature the brightest stars in North America. Everyone looks forward to showing here!” exclaimed Robert Dover, three-time USET Olympic team Bronze Medalist.
For More Information
For more information on the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival and all the exciting events and activities, please call Stadium Jumping, Inc. at (813) 253-2782 or in Wellington at (561) 793-JUMP or visit www.stadiumjumping.com.