Succeed has joined the growing list of sponsors of the Wellington Classic Dressage series. And Sandra Edgar, regional marketing director in Florida for the company, said it's because Wellington Classic Dressage is clearly becoming one of the leading dressage series on the Florida winter circuit.
"There are many high-profile riders in Florida who compete in the series and this is a perfect opportunity to stay in contact with them throughout the winter," said Edgar, who is herself a dressage rider. "Since I ride, I'm a dressage fan and I managed to convince the company that this is a good way to follow our clients who are riders and to be available to help them and answer questions. It takes a couple of months to see results with our products, so it's best when you can stay in contact with riders when they are first trying them out." Succeed is a supplement aimed at improving digestive health in horses and it's produced by Freedom Health, LLC.
For a dressage series that has only been around a few short years, Wellington Classic Dressage has experienced tremendous growth. Each year it adds more shows, more show days and more events, such as the past weekend's Professional Riders' Clinic and Symposium, co-sponsored with DressageClinic.com. Recession has apparently not stopped that growth.
"Our shows are full and we're turning people away," said Noreen O'Sullivan, managing partner of Wellington Classic Dressage. But she doesn't give the organization all the credit for the growth of its series. "Our entry numbers are, to me, a powerful statement on the growth of the sport. The series probably wouldn't have worked 10 years ago. But the sport has really grown and the dressage community has really supported us."
That support includes a long list of sponsors in addition to Succeed who sponsor everything from classes to parties to winning gifts. "We have many very good sponsors who are supportive in many different ways and we thank them all. And, we're happy to have Succeed as part of that group," O'Sullivan said. She also credits a fabulous staff at Wellington Classic Dressage that includes her co-managing partner and husband, John Flanagan, and show secretaries Monica Fitzgerald and Ann Hart.
Edgar said one thing that really drew Succeed to join the sponsor list was the ease of working with Wellington Classic Dressage. "They could not be more wonderful to work with. It's been a great experience. These are people who really believe in building personal relationships with sponsors," she said.
O'Sullivan, who is also president of the Gold Coast Dressage Association and helps manage that organization's shows, including this weekend's Gold Coast Dressage Opener Festival CDI, said the Wellington Classic Dressage shows draw from 250-350 entries. This weekend's GCDA Opener has more than 300 entries and four rings will be running. The strength in entries for the shows sponsored by both organizations, despite the recession, shows just how strong the sport has become, O'Sullivan said. "We've been pleasantly surprised at the entries despite the economy. To me, the growth in our show series is an affirmation that there really was a need for this type of show series."
One thing new this year at both the Gold Coast Opener CDI and for the Wellington Classic Dressage CDI in February is that the Grand Prix Freestyle competitions will be held Saturday evening under lights. "People have always said how beautiful it is at night so we thought we'd try doing the freestyle at night," O'Sullivan said.
What does the future hold for Wellington Classic Dressage? O'Sullivan said there are limits to growth because the show venue – the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center – can only accommodate so many rings and there are only so many show dates available. Besides, she said the organization doesn't want to confuse bigger with better. "We could expand the number of days of shows to three. I think four is a bit much for the horses because then they're away from home for five days if they have to trailer in. And, if dates are available, we could add some extra shows or clinics. But, we don't want to get bigger and bigger and lose the quality. Most important is that we want to host quality shows."