Euro Update: Exquis World Dressage Masters Kicks Off in Cannes

A bold new four-nation, three-year transatlantic dressage series, the Exquis World Dressage Masters, to be launched in 2009 with total prize money of at least $460,000 a year was announced Friday at Cannes, a French Riviera resort.

Photo (c) Thierry Billet - courtesy

Wellington, Florida, will be the first city to host the 2009 series with prize money of at least $115,000 during the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center from Jan. 7 through Mar. 29, 2009. ESP is working with the U.S. Equestrian Federation and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to determine the specific format and dates.

The schedule for the three years of WDM is Wellington during WEF, Munich, Germany in May, Cannes in June and Arezzo, Italy in September. The initiative for the series came from equestrian sponsor Exquis, international sports marketing agency SportBizz of The Netherlands and Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) of Wellington.

"Our vision in creating one of the world's finest facilities for horse shows was to be a stage for premier international events," ESP Chief Executive Officer Mark Bellissimo said in a statement released at a news conference.


The World Dressage Masters event is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the highest quality dressage to stimulate the popularity of this Olympic sport in the USA and around the world. We welcome the World Dressage Masters event and are happy to make it the success it deserves."

The concept for WDM was developed jointly with the FEI and is being tested at the $154,000 CDI 5* in Cannes this week. Among the competitors committed to the series is the world's top dressage rider, Anky van Grunsven of The Netherlands who rode Painted Black to victory in the Grand Prix Thursday and will compete in the Musical Freestyle under lights on the Cannes waterfront Saturday night.

"The WDM concept tries to be an answer to the problems dressage is faced with nowadays," the organizers said in a statement. "Key issues are sport, media and marketing. Initiator Anthony M. Kies strongly believes that for the future success of dressage it is imperative that one should focus on innovation and cooperation."

Kies, CEO of WDM, Michael Stone, ESP Executive Vice President, Dr. Erich Herrgen, president of Pferd International, François Bourey, president of SEPA and Ita Marzotto, president of Jump Italia, signed a cooperation agreement Friday June 13, 2008.

Details of the series are still being worked on, Stone said, but the aim is to invite the top 10 dressage riders in the world as well as a number of other riders to make up a Grand Prix field of 16 to 18 riders. Half the number will advance to the Grand Prix Special and the other half to the Musical Freestyle.

Anky van Grunsven Wins 2008 CDI Cannes

One of Holland's most earning sport athletes on the Dutch rich list, Anky van Grunsven, went for the money at CDI Cannes as she won the Grand Prix and Kur to Music with Painted Black and received over 22,000 euro purse money. Anky Van Grunsven's trip to the Cote d'Azur was one of great competitive and financial success. Second placed Silvia Ikle cashed in 16,900 euro. The Cannes Dressage Invitational CDI was a test run for the Exquis World Dressage series to start next year. Certain riders (probably the already most successful ones in the world) will get invited to compete all over the world in classes for which the purse is promised to be huge. (View Scores - View Cannes Photo Report)

Hanoverian Licensed stallion Samarant Sold to Denmark

Paul Schockemohle has sold his Hanoverian licensed stallion Samarant to the Dane Brian F. Christensen of BFC Horses. The Sandro Hit x Brentano II offspring is a popular breeding stallion world wide, but is one of the many Sandro Hit sons Schockemohle has at his own breeding station. Sabine Petersen and Martin Hussmann of Stald Hussmann in Børkop, Denmark, are delighted with the investment of BFC Horses. Saramarant will arrive on August 1, 2008, and be stationed at their riding center. Sabine will take care of the further training of the seven year old dressage stallion.

Under Schockemohle's stable rider Anja Engelbart, Samarant competed at the 2005 Bundeschampionate. In 2007 he produced 20% of the foals that qualified for the German Foal Championship Finals. Two out ten foals in the Finals were by Samarant. (Read More...)

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