Article by Karen Robinson
Wellington, FL (February 25, 2011) – With less than two weeks until the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach gets under way on March 9-11 2011, a number of the world’s top riders and their horses are preparing to travel to South Florida. The World Dressage Masters presented by Axel Johnson Group will award more than 400,000 Euros over four competitions in 2011, making it the world’s richest dressage series. The first of those competitions is the WDM Palm Beach, where 18 competitors, including several Olympic and World Championship medalists, will vie for 100,000 Euros in prize money.
The WDM Palm Beach, which will be held at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, is produced by Wellington Classic Dressage. Noreen O’Sullivan, a Managing Partner with Wellington Classic Dressage, is excited to welcome such an impressive international line up to South Florida. “We’re thrilled to host this competition and to have riders and horses of this caliber coming to the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach. We want people to feel treated to a truly international experience.”
On February 21st, Canadian Dressage Team Technical Advisor Robert Dover named Shannon Dueck of Loxahatchee, FL as the Canadian Wild Card recipient for the WDM Palm Beach. Originally from British Columbia, Dueck made South Florida her permanent home in 2003. “I love being able to ride all year round without having to relocate my entire barn in the winter months,” she says. “The weather here in the winter is second to none, and I have the opportunity to compete with the best from all over North America.”
This will be Dueck’s debut at the World Dressage Masters with her 10 year old Oldenburg mare, Ayscha. The pair competed with the Canadian team in Europe in 2010. “It’s very exciting for me to take part in a competition of this magnitude over here in North America, and to welcome some of the top Europeans to our home town.”
Following the initial invitations of 14 European, American and Canadian riders to the WDM Palm Beach, the following rider/horse combinations have confirmed their intention to attend the WDM Palm Beach:
Steffen Peters (USA) – Ravel
Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven (SWE) – Favourit
Ashley Holzer (CAN) – Pop Art
Tina Konyot (USA) – Calecto V
Michal Rapcewicz (POL) – Randon
Valentina Truppa (ITA) – Chablis or Eremo del Castegno
Anja Ploenzke (GER) – Le Mont d’Or
Christa Laarakkers (NED) – Ovation
Anne Van Olst (DEN) – Exquis Clearwater
Todd Fletrich (USA) – Otto
Pierre St Jacques (USA) – Lucky Tiger
Evi Strasser (CAN) – Quantum Tyme
In addition to the 12 combinations that have accepted their invitations, three new names have been added to the entry list:
Shannon Dueck (USA) – Dueck is a veteran of the Canadian Dressage Team whose career highlights include the individual silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games and the highest Canadian individual placing at the 2002 World Equestrian Games. She will compete at the WDM Palm Beach on Ayscha, a horse with which she has already enjoyed considerable success at Florida CDIs in 2011.
Shawna Harding (USA) – With her WDM Palm Beach partner Come On III, Harding had a highly successful career at the Intermediaire I level before moving up to Grand Prix level. She is currently one of the top ranked dressage riders in the US.
Elizabeth Austin (USA) – The individual silver medalist at the 2004 North American Young Riders Championships, Austin made the successful transition to Grand Prix with her KWPN stallion Olivier. The pair has previous Masters experience, having competed at the WDM Palm Beach in 2010.
Still to be announced for the WDM Palm Beach is one US Wild Card entry. Additionally, the top two placed pairs in the Grand Prix test at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge II CDI3*, which is taking place concurrently with the WDM Palm Beach, will be invited to compete in the WDM Palm Beach.
For information about tables and tickets at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.
World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Fast Facts:
What: North America’s only CDI5*, and part of the richest dressage series in the world. Up to twenty of the world’s top dressage stars will compete for 100,000 Euros in prize money at the WDM Palm Beach.
Wednesday March 9th, 1:00 pm: CDI5* horse inspection
Thursday March 10th, 1:00 pm: CDI5* Grand Prix
Friday, March 11th, 1:00 pm: CDI5*Grand Prix Special
Friday, March 11th, 6:00 pm: CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle
Where: Jim Brandon Equestrian Center – Okeeheelee Park South, 7500 Forest Hill Blvd,
West Palm Beach, FL 33413
Producer: Wellington Classic Dressage – www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com – Noreen O’Sullivan 561-227-1570 or John Flanagan 561-714-9058.
WDM Palm Beach Presenting Sponsor: International Polo Club Palm Beach
Additional WDM Palm Beach Sponsor: Akiko Yamazaki
WDM Presenting Partner: Axel Johnson Group
WDM Official partners: team EXQUIS, Moorland Investments and Moorland Stables, Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe
WDM Official supplier: Jerich International
WDM series 2011: 425,000 Euros in prize money awarded at four individual events: Palm Beach (USA), Munich (Germany), Falsterbo (Sweden) and Hickstead (England).
Ticket pricing and information: www.internationalpoloclub.com Maria Feola at 561-282-5334 – firstname.lastname@example.org – or Julie Pickens at 561-282-5343. Ticket prices begin at $150, including a five course gourmet French meal catered by International Polo Club Catering.
Parking: Valet if desired.
Media Contacts: Mason Phelps 561-371-0118 or Karen Robinson 561-383-1425
Photos: Shannon Dueck on Ayscha; Shawna Harding on Come On III.
Photo Credit: Susan J. Stickle, Phelps Media Group. These photos may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.