FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival Announces Major Money for International Jumper Classes

Wellington, FL - The 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) will be held on January 11 to April 1, and it will welcome some of the best riders in the world to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) to chase the highest number of FEI ROLEX Ranking points ever offered in the United States. FTI Consulting and Equestrian Sport Productions LLC welcome you to compete in our "International Tour." Riders can earn great prize money, earn FEI ROLEX ranking points, find an incredible horse sales market, train for the Olympics and enjoy their time in beautiful, sunny Florida. 

The FTI WEF offers more than $6 million in total prize money. More than $2.7 million will be awarded in the FEI classes over the 12 week circuit. The "International Tour" at the FTI WEF is focused on weeks 7-12, where $1.9 million is given in the FEI classes, and which culminates with the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix, CSI 5*. 

There are 5 FEI ROLEX ranking classes each week (except week 11) of the "International Tour." Nine FEI ROLEX ranking classes were added this year, and the FTI WEF now offers 34 ranking classes. These new FEI classes are made possible by the great support of G and C Farm, Copernicus Stables, Suncast Corporation and Sleepy P Ranch. For riders to start their year off strongly and ascend the world rankings, the only place to gain this amount of points in one place in the world is at the FTI WEF. 

The customer market at the FTI WEF offers an unparalleled opportunity to buy and sell horses. With thousands of equestrians in one place for weeks, many people find their new horse in the most active and vibrant horse sales market in the world. The FTI WEF is also the perfect place for young riders and horses to learn and practice. With 10 open jumper divisions from training jumpers to Young Jumpers to 1.45m, riders can place themselves in any number of appropriate classes each week. For those with students, there is a full schedule of classes for pony, children's, adult, junior, and amateur jumpers. 

The popular show jumping website, www.worldofShowJumping.com, recently quoted Great Britain's Ben Maher on why competing at the FTI WEF is beneficial. Maher was on the bronze-medal winning team at this summer's European Championships.  "The horses get their education quicker than they otherwise would when they compete in Florida," Maher said. "What would take six months at home, takes two and a half in Florida. It's amazing there; like Disney Land for horses! I don't think Triple X would have made it to the Europeans if it wasn't for his stay in Florida this winter."

Along with FTI WEF regulars Nick Skelton, Rodrigo Pessoa, Scott Brash, Ben Maher, and World Number One Eric Lamaze, other international riders may be making the trip to Wellington this winter, including three-time World Cup champion Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Irish Olympians Cian O'Connor and Denis Lynch, and more. 

International riders are not the only ones who benefit from the competition at the FTI WEF. North American riders prepare to represent their country every winter. This year, the FTI WEF will host the U.S. Show Jumping Olympic Trials, where the long list for this summer's team will be determined. The FTI WEF has produced the gold medal team along with individual medalists at the last two Olympic Games, as well as numerous other medalists over the years, thanks in part to their early preparation in Wellington.

One of the best parts about showing in Florida is the regular warm, sunny weather with limited rainfall. Horses and riders alike can enjoy more time outside and the FTI WEF boasts the best weather of any winter circuit in the world. Riders can also enjoy more time with their families by staying at one show facility for an extended period of time. Many riders and owners have second homes in Wellington and make it their winter equestrian destination.

As the FTI WEF grows, the local residents become more aware of the event and the sport, with local support increasing every year. In 2011, attendance numbers were at an all-time high, which has given the major events a fun, electric atmosphere. 

Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut, who won three grand prix events at the FTI WEF last year, stated, "The crowd was amazing, (and) the atmosphere was great. I think now the public around the Palm Beach area is starting to know horses and riders and they're getting to know the sport. It's like going to Spruce Meadows now; you are getting people who are cheering for you who don't really know you, and that has never happened here before. When the place goes crazy like it did, that doesn't happen very often in our sport. The management here has done a lot over the past years to get it to this point with the good lighting, good footing, beautiful jumps, and great course building. They have made this the best winter circuit in the world and we are very lucky."    

To make your plans to show at the best winter circuit in the world, please contact Equestrian Sport Productions at info@equestriansport.com or call 001-561-793-5867.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 11 through April 1. The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $6 million in prize money will be awarded.

Photos:  Ben Maher and Oscar in their awards presentation at last year's FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival; Laura Kraut and Cedric winning at last year's circuit.