Tampa, FL— The Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival (CWEF) is renowned for its high-flying jumpers that clear colorful obstacles, but the CWEF is also home to another beautiful style of riding, that found in the Olympic equestrian discipline of dressage. Horses and riders performing dressage at the levels executed at CWEF at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club demonstrate the beauty and poise reminiscent of Olympic figure skating or gymnastics.
“Dressage is a beautiful sport with roots that go back hundreds of years,” said Gene Mische, President of Stadium Jumping, Inc., which produces the CWEF. “To see these huge, magnificent creatures performing these very precise movements without obvious prompting from their riders is truly remarkable. You wonder, how did they do that?”
Dressage competitions at CWEF attract Olympic-caliber riders. For example, Sydney Olympic team Bronze Medalist Sue Blinks of Wellington, FL is expected to be among the elite competitors vying for the championship titles during:
- Wellington Dressage on January 31-February 3
- Zada Enterprises Florida Dressage Classic on February 14-17
- WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y on March 14-17
This three dressage championships take place on the beautiful grounds of the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington. Dressage classes at CWEF serve as qualifiers for United States Equestrian Team (USET) Grand Prix Dressage Championship/World Equestrian Games Selection Trials, USET Intermediaire I Championship, and the official Region 3 USDF Qualifying Competition for the 2002 North American Young Riders’ Championships.
In dressage competition, horse and rider teams perform tests within the confines of a rectangular arena. Horses perform these gaits and movements naturally in the herd, but in dressage, the movements are harnessed and summoned at the rider’s will. Dressage, which means simply “training” in French, forms the basis for training for most riding horses such as hunters and jumpers, but only very talented horses can reach the upper levels of dressage demonstrated during CWEF competition.
“For dressage enthusiasts, this sport is much more than a drill of training exercises,” Mische added. “Dressage is an art with the three elements of a perfect composition: unity, harmony and synthesis. It has been compared to the ‘singing of angels’.”
The Cosequin Winter Equestrian 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.
The CWEF schedule includes:
- 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 all host events on the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series.
After its stay in Wellington, 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.
For ticket information, please contact Stadium Jumping Inc. in Wellington at (561) 793-JUMP or visit www.stadiumjumping.com.