Loxahatchee, FL – The Palm Beach Dressage Derby was recognized this weekend by the USET Foundation. The show received the Gold Medal Club Anniversary Award and was recognized for its contributions and support of the USET for the last 10 years. Each year the Derby raises money for the USET, through VIP seating, special events or other festive fundraisers. “We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Mary Anne McPhail, Executive Director of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby. “Our goal each year is to make the Derby a special show and part of this is supporting the USET.”
As part of the 2009 edition’s special activities, the show will honor the winner of the first Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize on March 1, 2009. Presented by The Dressage Foundation, the $25,000 prize provides financial assistance for the coaching and training of one winner chosen for his or her talent and commitment to reach the elite, international standards of high performance dressage. With its long commitment to extraordinary international dressage, the Palm Beach Dressage Derby will be the ideal setting for the announcement of this prestigious award. Fourteen applicants vied for the inaugural prize. “The applicants were remarkable,” said John Boomer, the former President of The Dressage Foundation.
For Olympic medalist Lavell and founder of the award, it was important to help others realize their dreams. “I wanted to find the person who has the horse with the potential to really shine on the larger stage… but just needs that little extra push to help him or her achieve,” she said. Funds have been raised to award the $25,000 prize for at least the next decade.
“We are so honored to be able to recognize the recipient of this important award during the Palm Beach Dressage Derby,” explained show manager Evelyn O’ Sullivan. The Palm Beach Dressage Derby has a rich tradition of recognizing and rewarding extraordinary achievement. Now in its 26th year and hailed as one of the best CDIs in the country, the Derby’s programs have included the Challenge Series Awards, the Derby Art Show and Reception, the Taste of the Derby, and an Olympic Tribute that last year acknowledged 16 Olympic riders, perhaps the largest gathering of Olympic equestrians in North America. With more than $20,000 in purses and awards, and an atmosphere like no other, the Palm Beach Dressage Derby has drawn the best international competitors for 25 years.
New for 2009 will be the National Series Awards for riders competing in the Open Show at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, CDI-W/Y and Dressage at Equestrian Estates. Riders must enter both shows to qualify. The crown jewel of the series will be the Adult Amateur Grand Prix High Score award, awarded to the adult amateur Grand Prix rider who receives the highest average score in the national Grand Prix classes. Among the prizes: $500, championship ribbon and the rider’s name added to the new perpetual trophy. Additionally, there will be Challenge Series awards at each level for riders participating at both shows from Training Level through Grand Prix. High scoring riders from Training Level through Fourth Levels will receive $100; Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire I will receive $250; and riders with the high score at Grand Prix, will receive $300. All high score winners will also receive a trophy, high point ribbon and a championship sash. Visit www.pbderby.com for complete details.