Wellington, FL - Four National and European Champion youth riders from Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands will be making the journey across the Atlantic to compete at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival's Week 9 Palm Beach Dressage Derby and the Week 10 Florida International Dressage Youth Championships. All four riders, traveling with Jochen Arl, are set to compete in Wellington for the championships, increasing international presence in the Young Rider and Junior divisions. The Florida International Dressage Youth Championships, a highlight each year at the AGDF circuit, will be presented by Pana Cavallo, Diamante Farms, Hampton Green Farms, and Dressage for Kids. Arl, a familiar face at the winter dressage circuit in Wellington, approached Mark Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and Thomas Baur, AGDF Sport Director, with the idea to bring talented young equestrians from Europe to AGDF for championships. "We talked to Mark and Thomas and they really helped us find a way to make this happen. It is a great experience, and it is very exciting for these young riders to have the opportunity to come to the United States and compete," said Arl.
"We are excited to continue giving equestrian athletes from around the world the opportunity to come to Wellington to compete," said Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions. "As AGDF continues to grow, it is important that riders of all ages are given the chance to compete here at Global. This is where the elite riders are competing, and young riders deserve a chance to experience that too."
Each of the four riders applied to compete at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby and Florida International Dressage Youth Championships. Their applications were then reviewed and selected based on previous scores and rankings within the Junior and Young Rider levels. This is the first time international youth riders of such notoriety will travel to AGDF to compete in championship classes.
Antonia Arl, Jochen's daughter, will be competing in the Junior level classes aboard Equestricons Ziggy. The reigning Pony Champion of Belgium, Antonia Arl has been winning international classes in Europe since moving from the Pony level to the Juniors this past season. She recently started riding Equestricons Ziggy, who was a gold medalist at the 2012 European Junior Rider Championships with Antoinette te Riele.
Rosalie Bos will also be traveling with the Arls, bringing over Equestricons Bonita to compete in the Young Rider level classes as well. Bos, a European Junior Team Champion, earned silver and bronze medals, finishing fourth individually in the 2014 Junior Championships last season. She is also the reigning Junior Champion in Holland. She currently rides for Holland's A-Team Young Rider squad.
Dana van Lierop and Equestricons Walküre have been partnered for three months and currently ride for Holland's Young Riders A-Team. Van Lierop is a two-time European champion in the Pony divisions, winning once aboard Arl's own Equestricons Lord Champion and once again aboard her own horse Equestricons Day of Diva. She was an individual and team champion in the Junior level competitions in Europe.
Vivian Niemann, a European junior gold medalist and current Young Rider from Germany, will also join the group competing at AGDF this season. Niemann, a very successful Young Rider, will look to continue her European success here in the States during her time on the AGDF circuit.
Baur, an integral part in the planning process, is excited to bring more international competition to the Young Rider and Junior divisions at AGDF. "We have seen so much growth at the show this year, and this is another step in the right direction," said Baur. "Creating an environment that attracts international competitors of any age and level is the goal of this circuit and we will continue to ensure that is possible."
"We want to promote the fact that it is a viable option for European Juniors and Young Riders to come west and compete here," commented Arl. "I've been coming to Wellington for so long now and this show has built up incredibly. Four years ago the circuit was nothing like it is now, and it is important for European riders and their parents to know that it is a real possibility to come here and compete internationally."
AGDF Week 10 CDI-W 3*/1* competition will host the 2015 Florida International Dressage Youth Championships where riders from across the country and around the world will compete at the AGDF venue. All riders must be under the age of 25 and four separate FEI divisions will be offered: a Pony Division, a Junior Division, a Young Rider Division, and the Under 25 Grand Prix. This is the third year the Florida International Dressage Youth Championships will be hosted by AGDF, and the competition is organized by Equestrian Sport Productions. For more information on the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival and the 2015 Florida International Dressage Youth Championships, please visit http://www.globaldressagefestival.net
About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:
The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world's largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations' Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.