WELLINGTON, Florida, Steffen Peters and Ravel, Anky van Grunsven and Salinero and Isabell Werth and Satchmo joined 15 other horse and rider combinations Monday to prepare for the Exquis World Dressage Masters Palm Beach this week that kicks off the 2010 lineup of the globe's richest dressage competitions. Anky van Grunsven watched her first ever polo game Sunday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, Isabell Werth worked Satchmo at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center while her sister, Claudia, wheeled the baby, Frederik, nearby and Steffen Peters visited the South Florida Fair after a day of teaching. Tickets and tables in the VIP lounge for the Friday and Saturday night competitions can be ordered through http://www.equestriansport.com. Admission for the Thursday Grand Prix and Saturday Grand Prix Special is free.
Despite steady rain Monday, riders from Europe, Canada and the north of the United States raved about the warm weather and show grounds they described as "amazing" and "exciting." The top American, Dutch and German pairs that last competed against each other a year ago at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas with Steffen Peters and Ravel coming out on top are among 18 combinations to battle for total prize money of €100,000 (US$138,000) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. WDM is the featured event of the fourth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, the world's largest and, at 12 weeks, the longest running horse show.
All combinations will start in the Grand Prix with its prize money of €10,000 (US$13,800) beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday with the Grand Prix Special and its €30,000 (US$41,400) in prize money scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Saturday and the €60,000 (US$82,800) Grand Prix Musical Freestyle under lights at 7 p.m. Saturday sponsored by Exquis and Moorlands Stables and Moorlands Investments.
The results from Palm Beach also count toward the Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe WDM Rider Ranking bonus of €25,000 (US$36,000) to be awarded after the WDM in Munich May 13-16. Hickstead, England is the other confirmed WDM. Each event has prize money of €100,000 (US$138,000).
A special gala night of equestrian entertainment is scheduled for Friday night, featuring a "ride off" between Steffen Peters and Isabell Werth and more than one hour of the training sessions for the musical freestyle competitors. A giveaway to spectators of $10,000 (€7,160) of Back on Track products that was a hit in 2009 returns for the Friday and Saturday night events.
Anky and Isabell have won a combined total of 11 World Cup titles and eight Olympic gold medals in the 15 years they have dominated global dressage. Anky won the inaugural Palm Beach Masters last January and at Cannes on the French Riviera last June, while Isabell captured the World Dressage Masters in Munich in May.Anky lives in Erp, The Netherlands, and is married to the Dutch national coach, Sjef Janssen. They have two children. She has won nine World Cups, five on Bonfire and four on Salinero, three Olympic individual gold medals and two individual World Championship gold medals.
Steffen Peters beat both riders in the 2009 World Cup Final at Las Vegas then went on to make an historic sweep of all three team championship competitions--the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Kür--at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. Those successes led to Steffen being named U.S. Equestrian of the Year in 2009 for the second straight year and for Ravel being named Horse of the Year.
Isabell Werth has won four Olympic team and one individual gold medals, three World Championship team and one individual gold medals and two World Cup titles. She returned to competition the week after Christmas in 2009 after a six-month break during which she gave birth to a baby boy, Frederik.
NÜRNBERGER Versicherungsgruppe WDM Rider Rankings
(Through WDM, Hickstead 2009--second of four competition)
1. Edward Gal/ NED/1/1020
2. Marc Boblet/FRA/2/945
3. Adelinde Cornelissen/NED/1/870
4. Laura Bechtolsheimer/GBR/1/855
5. Catherine Haddad/USA/ 2/ 855
6. Daniel Pinto/POR/2/855
7. Imke Schellekens-Bartels/NED/1/780
8. Anky van Grunsven/NED/1/750
9. Ashley Holzer/CAN/1/750
10. Hans Peter Minderhoud/ NED/1/615
11. Kyra Kyrklund/FIN/1/615
12. Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein/DEN/1/585
13. Leslie Morse/USA/1585
14. Fiona Bigwood/GBR/1/570
15. Jordi Domingo/ESP/1/558
16. Jeroen Devroe/BEL/1/540
17. Anders Dahl/DEN/1/510
18. Maria Eilberg/GBR/1/495
19. Anja Plönzke/GER/1/495
20. Michal Rapcewicz/POL/1/470
21. Stefan van Ingelgem/BEL/1/450
22. Judy Harvey/GBR/1/435
23. Anne van Uytert/NED/1/420
24. Evi Strasser/CAN/1/405
25. Sarah Jane Elmslie/GBR/1/405
26. Jane Gregory/GBR/1/390
27. Constance Menard/ISR/1/375
28. Dane Rawlins/GBR/1/375
29. Marc Peter Spahn/BEL/1/360
30. Remy Issartel/FRA/1/360
Note: In the case of tied points, the best individual result in Grand Prix will be decisive