Amateur dressage riders comprise a large portion of the entries in Florida’s winter dressage shows, and now they have a chance for their moment in the spotlight. At the Derby Kickoff, January 17-18, an awards ceremony will honor the 2003 winners who are in town.
Last year, Shirley Johnson, a local merchant that caters to the Wellington dressage crowd, came up with the idea to host the Amateur Winter Dressage Championship series, providing amateur riders who compete in the winter dressage shows in Florida an opportunity to vie for championship trophies and prizes valued at over $5000. Johnson put her money where her idea was. Her own store, A’Dashi, a European fashion boutique was the initial sponsor for the 2003 Championship series.
This year Markel Insurance has rallied to support dressage riders by becoming the title sponsor for the amateur championships series, now called the Markel Amateur Winter Dressage Championships, in recognition of Markel’s support.
Markel has been providing horse owners comprehensive insurance for over 40 years. “Markel is one the industry’s most trusted names and we are pleased to have them as our title sponsors for the amateur championships”, said Shirley Johnson. “Thanks to Markel and our other fine sponsors we be able to offer even more exciting awards and a few surprises this season,” Johnson, added.
Markel representative, Mary Phelps, was very pleased about the sponsorship. “At Markel, we are committed to the amateur riders and their trainers that make our Florida shows so exciting. We applaud Shirley Johnson for developing this series and feel honored to join A’Dashi and the other great sponsors in supporting the dressage community, said Phelps. “The bottom line is we (Markel) really love dressage”, Phelps gushed.
Markel’s enthusiasm for the amateur championships is shared by a number of other area merchants. Johnson gathered sponsorship support from several fine sponsors including A’Dashi, Beyond the Barn, EuroAmerican Saddlery, Sho Clothes, The Tackeria, The Horse of Course, The Paddock Saddlery, DressageDaily.com, Caracol Unique Sterling Silver, DressageTestTutors.com, Weiss Family Chiropractic Centers, Mobil Horse Supply, Kada Properties, LLC, Diane Sasscer and Harmony in Motion. “It so rewarding to see the horse community pull together and support our amateur riders”, exclaimed Johnson.
Amateur riders wishing to compete in the Markel Amateur Winter Dressage Championship series can get complete details on qualifying for the awards at A’Dashi, located in the Courtyard Shops in Wellington. Information is also available online at www. DressageDaily.com and at the show secretary’s offices at the winter dressage shows listed in the Dressage in Florida Omnibus Prize List.