Wellington, FL – Four European horses arrived at the venue for the 2012 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach on Sunday afternoon, following their release from quarantine in Miami. Charlotte Dujardin’s Valegro (GBR), Carl Hester’s Wie Atlantico (GBR), Anja Plönzke’s Le Mont D’Or (GER) and Minna Telde’s Deinhardt (SWE) all came off the transport truck looking eager and well rested. Transport of the WDM horses from Europe and California was provided by The Dutta Corp. International Horse Transport. For Valegro, the flight to Miami was his first time on an airplane.
“He travelled very, very well,” said Dujardin, who arrived in Florida on Saturday evening. “I think he’s glad to be in a bit of sunshine.” Dujardin rode Valegro for the first time at the Jim Brandon Center the morning after his arrival. “He has arrived fresh and in great shape. He was very jolly when I rode him this morning,” she said.
Valegro, one of the world’s newest international dressage stars, is expected to be Steffen Peters’ number one rival as Peters seeks to defend his 2011 WDM Palm Beach title. Peters’ horse Ravel arrived in Florida by air from California on Thursday, and will move to the Jim Brandon Center from his Florida home at Carol Cohen’s Two Swans Farm on Thursday, January 26th for the FEI horse inspection. Most of the remaining horses competing in the WDM Palm Beach are already in South Florida; many of their riders are based in the area each winter to take advantage of the climate and high concentration of FEI competitions.
“I love it here! It’s absolutely amazing,” said Dujardin, who is visiting Wellington and the area for the first time. “I will definitely come back next year.” Carl Hester has recommended that he and Dujardin, who trains with and works for Hester, bring their horses to Wellington for the 2013 winter season.
Dujardin and Hester were the strongest members of the gold medalist British Team at the 2011 European Dressage Championships. Hester, riding the stallion Uthopia, won the Grand Prix test, beating Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands and Jerich Parzival, the current number one ranked pair in the world, as well as the legendary stallion Totilas with his current rider, Germany’s Matthias Rath. Hester went on to win the individual silver medal. He will compete at the WDM Palm Beach on Wie Atlantico, the horse Fiona Bigwood rode on the silver medalist British Team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
A total of 15 horses and riders from six countries have accepted invitations to participate in the WDM Palm Beac, where they will compete for €100,000 ($130,000) at the only WDM event to take place outside of Europe. The entry list will swell to 17 following the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3* Grand Prix on Thursday, January 26th, when the top two horse and rider combinations from that class will be invited to compete in the WDM CDI5* Grand Prix on Friday. Wellington Classic Dressage is the organizer of both competitions.
The World Dressage Masters presented by Axel Johnson Group is the world’s richest and most prestigious dressage series. The WDM Palm Beach, whose presenting sponsor IPC Palm Beach stepped in at the eleventh hour to rescue the event after its former sponsor suddenly pulled out, is the only CDI5* to take place annually in North America. A stunning success with only a few weeks of preparation in 2011, the 2012 WDM Palm Beach is certain to exceed last year’s event, both for calibre of top international dressage competition and for unsurpassed catering and decoration provided by the renowned IPC Catering.
Confirmed entries for WDM Palm Beach presented by IPC Palm Beach
Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) – Gran Gesto
Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) – Valegro
Todd Flettrich (USA) – Otto
Carl Hester (GBR) – Wie Atlantico
Adrienne Lyle (USA) – Wizard
Ashley Holzer (CAN) – Pop Art
Tina Konyot (USA) – Calecto V
Yvonne Losos de Muñiz (DOM) – Dondolo Las Marismas
Steffen Peters (USA) – Ravel
Anja Plönzke (GER) – Le Mont d’Or
Pierre St. Jacques (USA) – Lucky Tiger
Per Sandgaard (SWE) – Lomumba Havdal
Minna Telde (SWE) – Deinhardt
Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfven (SWE) – Favourit
Victoria Winter (CAN) – Proton
In addition, the two top placed horses from Thursday’s CDI3* Grand Prix will be invited to compete in the WDM Palm Beach CDI5*.
Competition schedule January 26 – 28, 2012
*Gates open at 11:00 am each day for WDM Palm Beach ticket holders only. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the gate. Ticket holders are encouraged to arrive for Saturday evening’s Grand Prix Freestyle at 5:30 pm.
Thursday January 26:
11:30 am – CDI 3* Horse Inspection
12:30 pm – CDI 5* (WDM) Horse Inspection
2 pm to 5 – CDI 3* Grand Prix (top two horses to receive invitations to CDI5*)
Friday January 27:
2 pm to 5 – CDI5* Grand Prix
Saturday January 28:
2 pm to 4:30 – CDI5* Grand Prix Special
7:30 pm to 10:30 – CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle
General admission for the WDM Palm Beach is sold out. For information on any remaining VIP tables go to http://www.internationalpoloclub.com, or contact Maria Feola at 561-282-5334, 561-282-5301 or email@example.com
Courtesy of Karen Robinson for Phelps Media Group