Wellington, FL - The World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5* presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach is now just five days away. The American edition of the world's premier dressage series will begin on March 9th with the FEI Horse Inspection, followed by two days of world class competition. Five top European dressage horses arrived in Miami from Amsterdam on March 3rd. They are expected to move from quarantine to the competition venue, the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, on Saturday. The WDM Palm Beach is the richest dressage competition in North America, with 100,000 Euros in prize money. It will take place in combination with the Wellington Classic Dressage Classic II CDI3*. Both competitions are produced by Wellington Classic Dressage.
Steffen Peters will compete with Ravel
Also now in South Florida, having arrived by air from California, is the most successful dressage horse in US history, Akiko Yamazaki's Ravel. With his rider, Olympic medalist Steffen Peters, Ravel won the 2009 World Cup Dressage Final and two individual bronze medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
All six horses flew to Miami with The Dutta Corporation International Horse Sport. Tim Dutta says that this is the third year his company has been responsible for shipping horses to the World Dressage Masters. "It's a pleasure to be of assistance to bring these world class equine athletes to the only five star dressage event in North America," he says. "We are delighted to have the continued support of the WDM management in flying these international dressage horses around the world." The European horses will already return to Amsterdam from Miami on Sunday, March 13th. "It's a short trip but this kind of travel is normal for competition horses of this caliber," says Dutta. "Today the sport is global, and for a horse to fly for 10 or 11 hours is uneventful."
Having finished third and second in the WDM Palm Beach Dressage Freestyle in 2009 and 2010, Steffen Peters makes the trip from California with one goal in mind: to improve his result yet one more place. "I am really looking forward to the World Dressage Masters," he says. "I have ridden Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special tests with Ravel that I feel are the best we could have done, but I haven't yet done a freestyle where I could say 'this is as good as it gets'. I still feel like I haven't quite conquered it yet."
As Peters attempts to perform the perfect freestyle with Ravel, he will face stiff competition from several Olympians, including Canada's most successful dressage rider, Ashley Holzer. With Rusty Holzer's and Moreen Nicoll's 14 year old Dutch gelding Pop Art, Holzer became the highest placed Canadian ever in a World Equestrian Games dressage freestyle, when she finished in eighth place in 2010. Holzer and Pop Art finished fourth at the WDM Palm Beach in 2009, and then again in 2010.
"I am thrilled to be taking part in the Masters," says Holzer. "Having the best in the world come to Wellington for the Masters is not only fabulous for international dressage competitors, but also for the appreciative South Florida horse community who enjoy incredible world class dressage."
Anja Ploenzke on Le Mont d'Or
The European contingent at the WDM Palm Beach includes the leader of the 2010 Nürnberger WDM Rider Ranking, Germany's Anja Ploenzke on Le Mont d'Or. This is Ploenzke's second time competing at the WDM Palm Beach.
The highlight of the WDM Palm Beach will be the Grand Prix Freestyle to music on the evening of Friday, March 11th, where International Polo Club Catering will present a spectacular Southern France Experience. Spectators will enjoy a five course, French-inspired dinner accompanied by wine pairings from the most renowned wine regions of France. Just a few yards away from the tables, 18 of the world's top dressage horses will perform breathtaking programs set to music. The Dressage Freestyle, which is often compared to figure skating in the way it combines athletic and artistic elements, has transformed dressage into one of the most popular spectator horse sports in history. The elegance of Southern France, combined with the beauty and power of the world's most highly trained horses, is sure to leave a lasting impression. Limited seating for this unique event is still available by going to www.internationalpoloclub.com.
The following rider/horse combinations will compete at the 2011 WDM Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach:
• Steffen Peters (USA) - Ravel
• Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven (SWE) - Favourit
• Ashley Holzer (CAN) - Pop Art
• Tina Konyot (USA) - Calecto V
• Michal Rapcewicz (POL) - Randon
• Valentina Truppa (ITA) - Chablis
• Anja Ploenzke (GER) - Le Mont d'Or
• Christa Laarakkers (NED) - Ovation
• Anne Van Olst (DEN) - Exquis Clearwater
• Todd Fletrich (USA) - Otto
• Pierre St Jacques (USA) - Lucky Tiger
• Evi Strasser (CAN) - Quantum Tyme
• Shannon Dueck (CAN) - Ayscha
• Shawna Harding (USA) - Come On III
• Elisabeth Austin (USA) - Olivier
• One wild card invitation - name TBA
• The first and second placed combinations from the CDI3* Grand Prix test at the Wellington Classic Challenge II
World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Fast Facts:
What: North America's only CDI5*, and part of the richest dressage series in the world. Up to twenty of the world's top dressage stars will compete for 100,000 Euros in prize money at the WDM Palm Beach.
Wednesday March 9th, 1:00 pm: CDI5* horse inspection
Thursday March 10th, 1:00 pm: CDI5* Grand Prix
Friday March 11th, 1:00 pm: CDI5*Grand Prix Special
Friday March 11th, 6:00 pm: CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle
Where: Jim Brandon Equestrian Center - Okeeheelee Park South, 7500 Forest Hill Blvd,
West Palm Beach, FL 33413
Producer: Wellington Classic Dressage - www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com - Noreen O'Sullivan 561-227-1570 or John Flanagan 561-714-9058.