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The World Equestrian Games is the top news story of the week, but not the only story and not the only dressage action taking place this weekend. California, Texas and North Caroline play host to dressage competition this weekend. Both U.S. and foreign media are already busy covering the WEG. Top U.S. dressage rider Jan Ebeling makes the hometown press. India’s best show jumping and dressage riders and horses are gathering in Bangalore for equestrian competition this weekend. And, the name “Sagacious,” familiar to American dressage fans as a top Grand Prix horse, won a Canadian woman an all-expense paid trip to Spruce Meadows.
Yes, the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games begins this weekend. After years of waiting for America to play host, the time is finally here. But, there will be dressage life outside of Kentucky this weekend. In Southern California, the SB-CDS Fall Dressage and Central Regional Adult Amateur competition will take place in Santa Barbara (www.santabarbaracds.org). And Texas will play host to two dressage shows this weekend. The Texas Dressage Fall Classic will be held in Tyler, Texas (www.showsecretary.com) and the WKF Fall Dressage will be held in Magnolia (www.windyknolldressage.com). And one other show daring to go head-to-head with the WEG this weekend is the Pinehurst Fall Dressage in Pinehurst, North Carolina (www.sportingservices.net).
Well, no surprise here, but the WEG is the top news story in the media this week, not only in equestrian media but the mainstream press as well. U.S. WEG competitors McLain Ward and Georgina Bloomberg were featured on NBC’s Today Show. NBC will be broadcasting the Games. Other mainstream American media getting in on the coverage act includes everything in and around the state of Kentucky, but also the New York Times and the Washington Post.
International press is also already feeding stories from the WEG to readers back home. The Irish Times provided readers with a first report overview of the WEG and its importance for Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics that will be held in London. The Irish Times called the movement of horses to Kentucky from abroad as the “largest ever commercial airlift of horses” with over 500 being brought into the WEG. The chef of all the Irish squads, which includes one Irish dressage pair, is former Irish Olympic rider Col. Ned Campion. He’s rather familiar with Kentucky as his son lives in the state and works in the racing industry. The lead sponsor of the WEG, Alltech, also has a development and manufacturing facility in Ireland. You can read more about the Irish team members at http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2010/0923/1224279506107.html.
Top West Coast dressage rider Jan Ebeling made news back home this week when the Ventura County Star published a feature article on him. The 52-year-old native of Germany was short-listed for this year’s WEG Dressage Team. He and his wife, Amy, operate their training facility in Southern California. In the article, Jan is quoted as saying that “if you’re a German boy, you either play soccer or ride or both. I played a lot of soccer, but I enjoyed riding. I guess my parents at some point decided I should try it out. It just stuck with me.” Jan moved to the U.S. in 1984 and eventually gained U.S. citizenship and has represented the U.S. in international competition. You can read more about Jan at http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/sep/21/moorpark-rider-may-compete-at-world-event/?partner=yahoo_feeds.
The eyes of the world will be on the WEG, but not all the world’s eyes. Equestrian fans in India will be gathering this weekend in Bangalore for the 2010 South India Equestrian Championships, hosted by the South India Equestrian Association (SIEA). The Championships is one of the biggest equestrian competitions in that Asian nation and draws the country’s best horses and riders in dressage, show jumping and in racing. Competition involves not just professionals but also young riders and adult amateurs.
When American dressage fans hear the name “Sagacious” they think of the top dressage horse ridden by Lauren Sammis and owned by Al Guden. But now the name also belongs to a future show jumper. The Simco Reformer reported this week that Canadian Dianne Lesage sent that name in to a horse-naming contest and won an all-expense paid trip to top show jumping competition Spruce Meadows, held this month in Canada. Three foals were being named and the only rule was that the name had to begin with the first letter of the sire’s name. Tens of thousands of entries were received. Lesage said she was treated like royalty once she arrived at Spruce Meadows. Her husband, Gil, said one meal they ate had to have cost around $1,000. Hmm, seems like Sagacious, the dressage horse, should have gotten something from this deal. You can read the whole story at http://simcoereformer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2767924.