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31st Winter Equestrian Festival Opens 2003 Season with Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic

Wellington, FL-- January 27, 2003—The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) opened its 31st season with the Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic, January 22- 26, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. The week kicked off an 11-week equestrian festival featuring top hunter, jumper, as well as dressage competition. Thousands of horses and riders from all over the nation and at least 13 countries have come together to compete for over three million dollars in prize money.

Olympian Lauren Hough of Wellington, FL, captured the week’s feature event, the $35,000 Farr Legacy/ Western Hay Grand Prix of Palm Beach, aboard Windy City. Under the sunny Florida sky, Hough was one of only three riders out of a starting field of 32 to qualify for the jump-off by riding clear over Conrad Homfeld’s competitive first round course.

Hough turned in a fault-free jump-off ride in a time of 37.84 seconds to earn the win. Emily Williams of Wellington, FL, rode Hushabye to a second-place finish with a clear jump-off round in a time of 39.87 seconds. Dropping one rail to accumulate four faults in the jump-off, Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, finished in third place aboard Hidden Creek’s Jones.

Engle and Hidden Creek’s Jones were victorious in the first $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup of the Winter Equestrian Festival, producing the only clear round in the jump-off. Norman Dello Joio of Wellington, FL, rode Eleanor Belknap’s Mille to a second place finish after a four-fault performance in the jump-off. Finishing third was McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, aboard Rio, a horse he co-owns with Harry R. Gill.

The dressage season in Florida started off earlier than the hunter and jumper competitions, beginning January 11-12, with the Palm Beach Dressage Derby Series held at the Horse Park at Equestrian Estates in Loxahatchee. Olympian Carol Lavell on her Much Ado topped the Prix St. Georges class with a 67%.

After a five-day break, dressage competition continued at the Gold Coast Dressage Association’s Gold Coast Opener Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club, January 17-19. Denmark’s Lars Peterson, who know resides in the United States, topped the international Grand Prix competitions aboard Blue Hors Cavan and rode Dansko’s Success to win the FEI Prix St. George B Open/Qualifier scoring 71.250%. Another international star now residing in the U.S., Dr. Cesar Parra of Columbia, won the CDI Prix St Georges with 71% on Pik-L, with Cathy Morelli on Be Se’ ahead of Parra in the Intermediaire I with a 70.167%.

Admission to the Winter Equestrian Festival at Wellington is free every Wednesday, and children under 12 are always admitted free. Adult admission is $5.00 on Thursdays and Fridays, $10.00 on Saturdays, and $15.00 on Sundays. Senior citizens are $5.00 every Thursday through Sunday. All adults who attend the Festival any Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday will receive a coupon entitling them to a two-for-one admission on that weekend.

For more information on the Winter Equestrian Festival and all its exciting events and activities, please call Stadium Jumping, Inc. in Wellington at (561) 793-JUMP or visit

Winter Equestrian Festival Dates:

(Each week runs Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8:00 AM daily)

Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic - January 22-26
Bayer Gold Coast Classic - January 29 - February 2
Wellington Dressage – January 30 – February 2
Kilkenny/ICH Internationale – February 5 – 9
Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular – February 12 – 16
Florida Dressage Classic –February 13 - 16
Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters – February 19 – 23
Tommy Bahama Palm Beach Open – February 26 – March 2
Cosequin Wellington Finale – March 5 – 9
Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic – March 13 – 16



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