Today was the opening press conference for the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
WHO WAS THERE?
- Alex Granato. member of the Pan Am Games US show jumping team. Bronze medalist.
- Chris Payne Top hunter rider and trainer
- Sarah Lockman Individual gold medalist 2019 Pan Am Games and team silver medalist.
- Beezie Madden. Two time Olympic gold medalist for the USA. 2019 Pan Am Games individual and team bronze medals.
- Michael Stone. President of Equestrian Sport Productions.
The first to speak was Michael Stone. He said that a huge investment had been made in new footing for WEF. “It’s the best in the world,” he said. “It will be a game changer for the sport.” He also told us how much prize money is now up for the winning at WEF. How much is it? 13 Million dollars. Yes THIRTEEN MILLION. He said that this huge amount is due to the generosity of the sponsors at WEF.
Alex Granato said that WEF is a “key part of my year.” He said his horses can get a lot of experience in a short time at WEF. He is looking forward to a “safe and successful season “.
Sarah Lockman is going to make her Grand Prix dressage debut with her horse First Apple. She is from California and told us that the dressage shows at The AGDF offer so many options with multiple CDIs and national shows. She also appreciates the wide range of top judges and the opportunity to perform in front of large crowds of people. She said there are not many of those opportunities in California. And besides that “I can go into Starbucks or the grocery store in breeches and boots and not be the only person wearing them!” Sarah plans to take part in the selection trials for Tokyo 2020.
Beezie Madden is already on the jumping “short list”. She will be competing at WEF with a string of Grand Prix jumpers and also a good ‘ speed horse’. “WEF has a great atmosphere. We can get out the horses and young riders and they can experience that.”
Chris Payne likes the opportunity to ride on the grass in the Hunter Derby and told us there are not a lot of places you can do that. He also finds plenty of opportunity for his students at WEF. “There is lots of competition for the kids and junior riders and that helps them to relax.”
WEF is the longest running show in the world with 12 weeks of competition. Horse and riders are already there practicing in the Grand hunter ring.
Others are just introducing their horses to some of the unique jumps.
In the International ring jumps are being set up.
This year the WEF banner is a very interesting one. Can you see the horse’s nose?
So there you have it. WEF has 12 weeks of hunter and jumper competition and the AGDF has multiple dressage CDIs 3*,and 5*and World Cup qualifiers as well as national level competitions.
Dressage is my discipline and I will be interviewing some of the riders who are aiming for a Ticket to Tokyo Olympics. Does the AGDF competition matter in that quest? Well…..the Tokyo Olympic dressage team is at the AGDF to compete. This is clearly the place to be.