Las Vegas Heats Up for FEI World Cup Dressage Finals

Organizers of the 2005 version of the FEI World Cup threw open the doors to the world. Although no competition was scheduled for Wednesday, both show jumping and dressage riders had scheduled schooling sessions in the Thomas & Mack Arena.

Many spectators came out to get a preview of the horses and riders that will compete throughout the rest of the week. In addition to watching the horses and riders, spectators could wander through the expansive trade show.

Every dressage rider was given 15 minutes time for a quick schooling session in the main arena. They went in in groups of three and the seats were at least half filled with cheering fans. Robert Dover rode in the second last group with Elena Sidnevan from Russia and another non-US rider. The last group were Leslie Morse, Debbie McDonald and Guenther Seidel for whom the crowd cheered when they entered and left the arena.

The crowds were hardly able to curb their enthusiasm and also cheered when when the horses and riders performed the movements from Grand Prix. "They cheered especially loud each time Leslie Morse got all 15 of her one-tempis. It was so exciting to have such an electric atmosphere for dressage in our control with the whole world here," Laura Petroff told Dressagedaily.

The local Las Vegas Pony Club even enjoyed a behind the scenes tour and got to spend a few minutes with dressage rider Debbie McDonald, who took time to graciously sign autographs and answer questions.

Although German dressage rider Isabel Werth had to withdraw her horse Anthony FRH, her spot was filled by Canadian rider Evy Strassner. Eighteen dressage riders will compete for the 2005 FEI World Cup title.

Competition for both dressage and show jumping gets underway on Thursday, and continues through the weekend.

The World Cup Finals feature five action-packed days of electrifying equestrian competition. The schedule for the Jumping Final includes a heart-stopping speed class on Thursday evening, a nail-biting jump-off class on Friday evening, the Grand Prix of Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon, and of course, the illustrious World Cup Final on Sunday afternoon.

The Dressage Final features the world’s best dressage riders locked in a four-day battle to determine who will be crowned this year’s FEI World Cup Dressage Champion. The schedule includes the impressive Grand Prix on Thursday afternoon, an exciting Grand Prix on Friday afternoon for horses not entered in the Final, and the crowd-pleasing Musical Freestyle on Saturday evening.

Tune into Dressagedaily/Horsesdaily's extensive "On the Scene" coverage of the 2005 World Cup Finals with daily articles, scores and photos.