Wellington, FL - The excitement is building for dressage fans and aficionados worldwide as the countdown begins for the must-see event in 2013 - the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach. The internationally acclaimed World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach will return to the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center January 23-27, 2013 during the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3*. World Dressage Masters (WDM), presented by Axel Johnson Group, is an elite competition series at the highest international level, featuring the world's leading dressage shows and riders, and offering an unprecedented €425,000 in prize money (over $550,000 US).
The WDM Palm Beach, produced by Wellington Classic Dressage, is one of only four 5-Star shows held worldwide and the only one to be held on U.S. soil. The World Dressage Masters Palm Beach drew nearly 10,000 spectators and competitors throughout the four-day show in 2012 and set records for attendance in North American dressage.
The 2012 event featured the only appearance in North America for two of Great Britain's Olympic Gold Medal Team Members: Charlotte Dujardin, and her coach and fellow teammate, Carl Hester. It also showcased to the North American audience the world's soon-to-be crowned Individual Olympic Gold Medal Grand Prix Freestyle pair of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.
Since the event's organization was taken over by Wellington Classic Dressage two years ago, it has garnered a unique reputation for fabulous food and entertainment, and of course, top-notch competition from the leading international dressage riders. The event brought world-class equestrians to the area including Olympians Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester, Steffen Peters, Adrienne Lyle, Tina Konyot, Minne Tilde, Ashley Holzer, Jacqueline Brooks, Per Sandgaard and Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven along with superstar dressage riders Todd Flettrich, Heather Blitz, James Kofford, Pierre St. Jacques and Anja Plönzke.
The grand finale of the 2012 WDM Palm Beach was the Grand Prix Freestyle presented by the Axel Johnson Group, where the final eight of the world's top- ranked horses and riders competed. U.S. Olympic team member Steffen Peters aboard Ravel, owned by Akiko Yamazaki, performed a breath-taking freestyle and narrowly beat the stunning combination of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro to win the freestyle for their share of the €70,000 ($92,000) in prize money for that class. A total of €100,000 ($130,000) at each WDM competition makes the WDM presented by Axel Johnson Group the richest dressage series in the world.
"The World Dressage Masters has been the crown jewel of the Wellington Classic Dressage circuit," said U.S. Olympic Dressage Team Technical Advisor Anne Gribbons. "It brings enough riders from Europe to make it a very exciting competition. It's been very well run for the past two years. They take the facility at the Jim Brandon Center and make it intimate−cozy and exciting at the same time. The place was packed the past two years, which gives it a really good atmosphere. It prepares horses for indoor shows like they have in Europe."
Noreen O'Sullivan, show manager and managing partner for Wellington Classic Dressage, is thrilled to be hosting the event once again. "We are looking forward to welcoming top riders, both from North America and abroad, to the 2013 World Dressage Masters CDI5*," she said. "It will be the premiere dressage event of the season in Palm Beach County and it's certainly a coup that we can again host such a prestigious event and showcase Wellington and Palm Beach to the world."
Phelps Media Group will release information about ticket sales soon and news will be posted on the Wellington Classic Dressage website as well as the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Facebook page and on Twitter.
For more information about Wellington Classic Dressage, log onto www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com or check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Wellington-Classic-Dressage.