By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
A 2014 schedule of six CDis–including a Nations Cup, three World Cup events and a big money finale–and six national competitions has been approved for the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida to coincide with the 12 weeks of the world famous Winter Equstrian Festival.
The new schedule also insures the three-decade-old Palm Beach Dressage Derby will be staged at the heart of the lineup as an international event.
The schedule was confirmed after approval from U.S. Equestrian Federation committees and following the decision of Wellington Classic Dressage and the Gold Coast Dressage Association to not host CDIs and other shows during the winter circuit, the largest in the world of jumpers, dressage, hunters and eventing that is being added in 2014.
The impact of approval of the 2014 schedule means that dressage in Florida in winter will be under the control of Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP).
However, ESP that organizes both the dressage and jumping events has spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center including adding Global Dressage Festival to place it as among the top horse show facilities in the world.
The new schedule ends two years of a winter calendar that included as many as 12 CDIs since the launch of the Global Dressage Festival, the other venues being the Brandon Center in West Palm Beach and the Palm Beach Dressge Derby and other events at Equstrian Estates in Loxahatchee, all within about 30 minutes of each other.
The newly approved schedule appears to leave up in the air the future of the World Dressage Masters, a CDI5* that was lauched five years ago by ESP. But after two years of hosting the event at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center a falling out with the European organizers of WDM led to it being switched to Wellington Classic Dressage at the Brandon Center.
At the same time, ESP has applied to the Village of Wellington that governs the community where the Palm Beach Center is located for a special use permit that will allow horse shows to be held at the GDF grounds.
The village council has been hostile to GDF going so far as to not allow shows at the facility in summer although it has a covered arena regarded as vital in hot and humid South Florida May through October.
However, the six CDIs and six national shows at the Global Dressage Festival that is an integral part of WEF as well as the Palm Beach Dressage Derby at Equestrian Estates in neighboring Loxahatchee
The tentative schedule for 2014 that matches WEF dates:
–Jan. 9-12 – CDI-W (World Cup) – GDF, Wellington
–Jan. 16-19 — National show- GDF
–Jan. 23-26 – CDI-W – GDF
–Jan. 30-Feb. 2 — National show – GDF
–Feb. 6-9 – CDI-W – GDF
–Feb. 13-16 — National show – GDF
–Feb. 20-23 — CDIO3* Nations Cup – GDF
–Feb. 27-Mar. 2 — Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W – Equestrian Estates, Loxahatchee
–Mar. 6-9 — National show – GDF
–Mar. 13-16 — CDI 3* – GDF
–Mar. 21-23 — National show – GDF
–Mar. 28-30 — CDI5* or CDI4* – GDF