Dressage competition resumes at the 31st annual Winter Equestrian Festival with the Florida Dressage Classic, February 13-16, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian show grounds in Wellington, Florida. Classes will be contested from Training Level through Grand Prix. Riders will compete in both Open and ABIC-USDF Qualifiers for the Regional Championships at all levels. The judging panel includes two ‘I’ judges — Liselotte Fore and Anne Gribbons, ‘C’ judge Maryal Barnett; ‘S’ judges Fran Dearing and Joan Humphrey; and ‘R’ judges Cindy Sydnor and Susanne Handler.
Highlighting the four-day competition are the musical freestyles on Sunday, February 16. Scheduled to ride are Jans Brons aboard Josien — winners of two Pan Am Games qualifiers at the Wellington Dressage show (January 30-February 2). The pair will debut their Intermediaire Freestyle, the third element of the three-prong qualifying classes for the Pan Am Games. The Pan Am Games are contested at the I-I level in three classes – Prix St, Georges (which determines the team medal), Intermediaire I and Intermediaire Freestyle (the combined results determine individual medals). Brons will ride his freestyle for the first time in competition, a preview before the next Pan Am Games qualifier, The Palm Beach Dressage Derby (February 28-March 2).
Also scheduled to ride in the freestyles on Sunday are George Williams and Rocher, winners of two USET Grand Prix classes at the Wellington Dressage competition — qualifiers for the Festival of Champions at Gladstone, NJ. Williams’ popular freestyle to Madonna and ‘N Sync music won a standing ovation at Devon 2002 and marked the highest score ever awarded to a freestyle at Devon — 75.375%. Williams will be competing in the 2003 US Freestyle Dressage Championships and the US League Finals at Miami's Tropical Park, February 21-23 where two riders will be selected to represent the US at the Dressage World Cup in Goteborg, Sweden, March 27-30.
Capping the show will be the awards presentations in the afternoon following the freestyles. The High Score Awards will be presented to riders at First, Second, Third and Fourth Levels, and presentations will also be made for the FEI Freestyles. Highlighting the awards presentations on Sunday, February 16 (corrected date) is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society "Equestrian of the Year" celebration hosted by Event Chairwoman Mary Ann Grant and honorary Chairman, Mayor Tom Wenham. Equestrians from polo, jumping, and dressage have registered to raise money for the society and the one who raised the most will be presented with Equestrian of the Year award.