Wellington, FL - Following Ashley Holzer's winning ride with Pop Art in the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3*, a qualifier for the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach, competition organizer Wellington Classic Dressage and the WDM management found themselves faced with a sports issue that has necessitated a decision to amend the schedule of the show. American Heather Blitz on Paragon, second in the CDI3* Grand Prix behind Holzer and Pop Art, is one of the two riders who would have been eligible to be invited for the 5* WDM Palm Beach. Holzer, and third placed Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven of Sweden on Divertimento, are already competing in the WDM Palm Beach on other horses and are not permitted to enter with a second horse. Invitations were therefore extended to Blitz, who placed second in the CDI3*, and James Koford of the US, who finished fourth on Pharaoh.
Blitz, who won team gold and individual silver with Paragon at the 2011 Pan Am Games, does not have the prerequisite two scores of 64% in a Grand Prix CDI to compete in the WDM 5* competition. Additionally, WDM Palm Beach entries Carl Hester (GBR) with Wie Atlantico and Yvonne Losos de Muñiz (DOM) with Liebling II, while nominated by their federations, are brand new combinations that also don't meet the five star qualification requirements.
After extensive discussion among the organizers, riders, ground jury and representatives of the FEI, it was decided that in the interest of the sport the only equitable solution would be to amend the schedule to reflect a four star FEI designation, while keeping the five star conditions intact. This solution was the most effective way to avoid a change in the line-up of the WDM Palm Beach, which has become a highlight on the calendar that the US dressage community looks forward to as the not-to-be-missed event of the season.
Blitz and Koford will compete in tomorrow's WDM Palm Beach Grand Prix, as will Hester and Losos de Muñiz, along with the remaining field of international riders that was previously announced.
Wellington Classic Dressage and the WDM Management would like to thank the FEI, the ground jury and the WDM Palm Beach riders for their positive approach in solving the situation at hand within the strict competition rules that apply to an international competition of this caliber.
World Dressage Masters Palm Beach
What: North America's only CDI5*, and part of the richest dressage series in the world. Up to twenty of the world's top dressage stars will compete for 100,000 Euros in prize money at the WDM Palm Beach.
When: January 26 - 28, 2012
Gates open at 11:00 am each day for WDM Palm Beach ticket holders only. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the gate. Ticket holders are encouraged to arrive for Saturday evening's Grand Prix Freestyle at 5:30 pm.
Friday January 27:
2 pm to 5 - CDI5* Grand Prix
Saturday January 28:
2 pm to 4:30 - CDI5* Grand Prix Special
7:30 pm to 10:30 - CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle
Confirmed entries for WDM Palm Beach presented by IPC Palm Beach:
Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) - Gran Gesto
Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) - Valegro
Todd Flettrich (USA) - Otto
Carl Hester (GBR) - Wie Atlantico
Adrienne Lyle (USA) - Wizard
Ashley Holzer (CAN) - Pop Art
Tina Konyot (USA) - Calecto V
Yvonne Losos de Muñiz (DOM) - Dondolo Las Marismas
Steffen Peters (USA) - Ravel
Anja Plönzke (GER) - Le Mont d'Or
Pierre St. Jacques (USA) - Lucky Tiger
Per Sandgaard (SWE) - Lomumba Havdal
Minna Telde (SWE) - Deinhardt
Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfven (SWE) - Favourit
Victoria Winter (CAN) - Proton
In addition, the two top placed horses from Thursday's CDI3* Grand Prix will be invited to compete in the WDM Palm Beach CDI5*
Where: Jim Brandon Equestrian Center - Okeeheelee Park South, 7500 Forest Hill Blvd,
West Palm Beach, FL 33413
Official Show Producer: Wellington Classic Dressage - www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com - Noreen O'Sullivan 561-227-1570 or John Flanagan 561-714-9058
WDM Palm Beach Presenting Sponsor: International Polo Club Palm Beach
Additional WDM Palm Beach Sponsors: 2kGrey and Akiko Yamazaki
WDM Presenting Partner: Axel Johnson Group
WDM Official partners: team EXQUIS, Moorland Investments and Moorland Stables, Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe
WDM Official supplier: Jerich International
WDM Global Media Partner: Eurosport
Media Contacts: Mason Phelps 561-371-0118 or Karen Robinson 604-318-3121