Contenders Ready To Ride
FL - January 27, 2004 - With the 32nd annual Winter Equestrian Festival
set to kick off tomorrow, topnotch riders representing hunters,
jumpers and dressage, along with Eugene R. Mische, president of
Stadium Jumping, Inc., met with the press for a luncheon conference.
On the dais were show jumpers Beezie Madden, Chris Kappler, Jimmy
Torano, and Danielle Torano, along with dressage riders George Williams,
Susan Dutta, and Arlene 'Tuny' Page. The Winter Equestrian Festival
runs from January 28 through March 21 in Wellington, and March 24
through April 3 in Tampa, FL.
Mische pointed out the significance of this year's Nations' Cup,
which will be held on March 12. With eight teams entered, he believes
it is a record number for the US. He also pointed out that WEF has
expanded the classes for five-, six-, and seven-year old horses
from one class per week to a division each week. "That's a
major factor for our riders to develop young horses," said
Mr. Mische, adding that some of these talented horses can then move
on to become Nations' Cup horses. "Hopefully we have given
them the format to do that and that they will take advantage of
it. That's a very big plus for our circuit." Mr. Mische added
that riders from nine to 70 years of age are participating in the
2004 WEF. "For the first show, the entries are up about 10%."
the riders on the dais, with the exception of Danielle Torano, declared
their intentions to make the Athens Olympic Teams in their respective
disciplines. Chris Kappler, who won the American Invitational for
the past two years, and won Team Gold and Individual Silver at the
Pan Am Games, is a prime candidate for the Games and hopes to compete
in the Selection Trials in California. "It's been a long break
and everyone is starting out with a clean slate," said Kappler.
"The most important thing is you have to come out and show
everyone that you and your horses are back in form for the season.
But more importantly, Gene has provided us with a fantastic venue
here in Florida in order to be able to prepare and train all of
our horse for competition and international showing around the world.
Every year I see great improvements with good footing and great
jumps. He brings in world-renowned course designers and that's why
the circuit keeps getting bigger and bigger. He's getting people
from all over the world flying horses here and that does nothing
but help improve the standards of our country and ourselves. It's
really what makes this event so fantastic."
Madden, the Leading Lady Rider on the World Computer List, noted
that WEF is the last stop for the show jumpers before the Olympic
Trials in May. "This is where we're going to have to try to
get our horses peaked. To be able to have the prize money that Gene
offers and the facility and the American Invitational, it's just
a great asset for our country."
rider Arlene 'Tuny' Page noted that competing on the grounds along
with hunters and jumpers is a plus for her sport. "Without
this venue, it would be difficult to prepare dressage horses for
an Olympic Games or any international championship," said Page.
"You train and compete in this environment, your skills at
being able to focus and keep your horse's concentration improve.
It's absolutely the mileage they need to represent the team. There's
no place better in the world."
2004 WINTER EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL TICKET INFORMATION
Show days for the 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival are Wednesday
through Sunday. Gates open at 8:00 am. Ticket Prices: Wednesdays
are free to everyone; Children 12 and under are admitted free every
day; Young Adults 13 to 18 and Seniors are $5 on Thursday through
Sunday; Adults are $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and
$15 on Sunday. The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club is located on
Pierson Road off South Shore Boulevard. For additional information,
visit www.stadiumjumping.com or call 561-793-5867.
WEF SCHEDULE OF COMPETITIONS
January 28 - February 1 Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic CSI***
February 4 - 8 Bayer/USET Gold Coast Jumper Classic CSI***
February 5 - 8 Wellington Dressage (Qualifier for Olympic Selection
February 11 - 15 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale CSI***
February 18 - 22 Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular CSI-W/Y CSI-Ch
February 19 - 22 Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic
February 25 - 29 PDP Capital Wellington Masters CSI***
March 3 - 7 CN Wellington Open CSI-W
March 10 - 14 CSIO United States Cosequin Finale CSIO***
March 18 - 21 Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y
(Qualifier for Olympic Selection Trials)
March 24 - 28 Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
March 30 - April 3 Tournament of Champions CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian
April 3 Budweiser American Invitational (Raymond James Stadium)
WEF MILLION DOLLAR GRAND PRIX SERIES
February 1 $35,000 Farr XTN Grand Prix of Palm Beach, presented
by Western Hay, CSI**
February 8 $50,000 Bayer/USET Wellington Cup, CSI***
February 15 $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI***
February 22 $60,000 Idle Dice Classic, presented by Palm Beach Post,
February 29 $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***
March 7 $75,000 CN Wellington Open presented by Estates of Wellington
March 12 $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN, CSIO****
March 14 $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship, CSIO****
March 28 $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by Kilkenny/ICH,
April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The