Wellington, FL- At the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, FL, dressage is poised to take center stage this January. Among the many high-level competitions that will occur at the venue this winter will be a Para-Equestrian CPEDI3* qualifier for the 2012 Paralympics. This exciting three-test qualifying competition will serve as an inspiring opener for both the Gold Coast Dressage CDIW and the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3*, both of which now offer the chance to see talented para-equestrians compete alongside their peers. "People forget that this is an Olympic qualifying year for para-equestrians as well," said Noreen O'Sullivan, owner of Wellington Classic Dressage in Wellington, FL. "It's just as important for them as it is for the traditional dressage riders."
The first para-equestrian dressage qualifier is going to be hosted at the Gold Coast Dressage Association CDIW, January 19 - 22, 2012. The second qualifier will be the following weekend, which is at the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge, CDI3*, January 26 - 29, 2012. The second event will run concurrent with the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5*, the only North American leg of the prestigious World Dressage Masters circuit.
O'Sullivan added, "we wanted to be able to help the para-equestrians this year as well. We have held classes and have had the para-equestrians competing at shows in the past, but we've never hosted a qualifier before, so we're excited to bring such an inclusive event to our shows this January. It's very inspiring, something we can all appreciate."
A CPEDI3* competition is the highest and most demanding level of FEI para-equestrian dressage. Three challenging tests compose a competition that spans several days, with riders completing an individual test, a team test, and a freestyle during the event. Some of the participating riders in January's qualifiers will be working towards their FEI certificate of capability, an important qualifying document for the Paralympics. Other para-equestrians at these events will have already obtained their certificate.
Approximately seven to eight countries will be represented at these para-equestrian qualifiers, without about 50 total rides taking place. Participating nations will be attempting to move up the international ranking lists to secure spots at the Paralympics, which will take place next summer in London. According to Pam Lane, Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting for USEF, "we'll have a lot of riders trying to get their FEI certificate of capability, or they'll be trying to move up the individual ranking lists. Of the U.S. riders there, four will be chosen to ride on the team plus move up the ranking lists. It will be a very popular competition, because the final qualifying period ends January 31st."
"We called and asked if they would help us," Lane remarked of Wellington Classic Dressage. "They were very generous. It will be a lot more work for them. They really came through for the para-equestrians, though. The USEF would really like to thank Noreen (O'Sullivan) and the rest of the management team at Wellington Classic Dressage for including us so graciously at the last minute."
Gold Coast Dressage Association is the local GMO (group member organization) of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF). This active group includes about 250 local members, and functions similarly to a local 501(C)(3) organization. For more information on Gold Coast Dressage Association, please visit http://www.gcdafl.org/.
For more information on Wellington Classic Dressage or World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5*, please visit www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com.
WELLINGTON CLASSIC DRESSAGE FAST FACTS:
Wellington Classic Dressage hosts a variety of dressage events throughout the year in the Wellington, FL area. From the Fall and Spring Challenges to the prestigious World Dressage Masters CDI5*, the dressage shows and competitions presented by Wellington Classic Dressage are must-see displays of this challenging sport. The World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach, one of the richest international dressage shows, is presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Wellington Classic Dressage presents events throughout the year, with over 17 weeks of competition in Palm Beach. Highlight events for 2011-2012 include:
October 23, 2011: Wellington Classic Autumn Challenge
December 10-11, 2011: Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge
January 6-8, 2012: Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge I
January 26-29, 2012: Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3*
January 26-29, 2012: World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach
February 9-12, 2012: Wellington Classic Spring Challenge CDI3*
March 8-11, 2012: Wellington Classic Challenge II CDIW
April 21-22, 2012: Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III
July 21-22, 2012: Wellington Classic Dressage in Tropics I & II
September 15-16, 2012: Wellington Classic Fall Challenge I & II
For a full calendar, please visit www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com.
These events take place at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, FL, just minutes from the heart of horse country in Wellington. The address is 7500 Forest Hill Boulevard (Okeeheelee Park South), West Palm Beach, FL 33414.