Saturday, January 10, 2009

Equine Motorcoach at Wellington

Six US Dressage Riders take World to Task at Inaugural Exquis World Dressage Masters in Wellington, FL
Release: January 09 2009
By Joanie Morris

Lexington, KY – Six of the most promising US dressage riders will take on some of the world’s best when the Exquis World Dressage Masters heads to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Club January 28-31. This brand new series will travel from Wellington, FL to Salzburg, Austria and Munchen, Germany in May, then to Hickstead, UK in June. The series of competitions is bringing riders from across the globe together for a brand new initiative. Twenty starters will compete in the first Grand Prix and then twelve of those horses will go on to compete in the Grand Prix Special. The remaining eight horses will move on to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle under lights on Saturday evening in the newly renovated International Arena.

Led by Steffen Peters, who with Aikiko Yamazaki’s Ravel was undefeated in the 2008 build up to the Olympic Games (where they were fourth individually), the US squad is a mixture of seasoned veterans and rising stars. Peters and Ravel will travel from San Diego, CA to take on some of the world’s best again. They swept the USEF Selection Trials for Dressage in June.

One of the three riders who finished ahead of Peters in Hong Kong, has become a dressage legend. Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven, who won her third Individual Gold at the 2008 Olympic Games, will be performing for the dressage fans on US soil for the first time since the 2007 World Cup Final in Las Vegas. She will ride Painted Black in Wellington.

Another US Olympian will be having a crack at a share of more than $144,000 in total prize money. Michael Barisone (from Califon, NJ), who was an essential part of the US Olympic squad as the travelling reserve with Jane Suwalsky’s Neruda, will get his time in the ring in Florida.

Jan Ebeling and Rafalca are also making the cross country trek to Florida from their Moorpark, CA base. Ebeling, another veteran rider, was most recently third at the Del Mar CDI-W in November with the 12-year-old mare owned by his wife Amy and Anne Romney.

Jane Hannigan last represented the US at the World Cup Final last year in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands with her own Maksymillian. Hannigan, from Harvard, MA, and ‘Maks’ were then fourth in the Freestyle at Dressage at Devon in September.

The final two US riders are both representing the US for the very first time at the Grand Prix level. Joe Sandven (on Rachmaninoff) and Tara Stegen (with New Tango) are both rising stars in the US dressage program. Sandven and Rachmaninoff had their most recent success at the MSEDA Dressage at the Kentucky Horse Park where they won two Grand Prix events. Stegen and New tango are based in Wellington, FL year round and have had consistent success in the Sunshine State.

Tickets are still available for this battle of the nations, don’t miss a chance to see some of the world’s best go head-to-head. For tickets and more information please see: