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World Dressage Masters Horse and Rider Competitors Announced

RELEASE: January 8, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Sue Weakley for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Patrik Kittel (Susan J. Stickle
Patrik Kittel (Susan J. Stickle
Wellington, FL 
- The line-up for the World Dressage Masters (WDM) Palm Beach, presented by Wellington Classic Dressage, will feature a star-studded cast of riders and horses for the January 23-27 event at the Palm Beach County Jim Brandon Equestrian Center.  The riders confirmed their participation and the horses are arriving in Florida to compete head-to-head for their share of over €100,000 (EUR), or about $131,850 (USD), in prize money.  The World Dressage Masters series, presented by the Axel Johnson Group featured over  €450,000 (EUR) in prize money over their 2012 series, making it one of the richest dressage series in the world.

"I think we have a fantastic line-up and we will really see top competition for this year's WDM Palm Beach," said Noreen O'Sullivan, Show Manager and Managing Partner of Wellington Classic Dressage, organizers of the event. "For most of these riders, this will be the only appearance in Florida under the lights at Jim Brandon, so this is surely an event not to be missed."

John van de Laar, Managing Director of WDM, said, "The WDM Palm Beach show has been on the WDM calendar from the very beginning.  This is THE show where the U.S. takes on Europe. I will always remember the 2012 WDM Palm Beach where Steffen and Ravel beat Valegro-truly exciting!"

U.S. Olympian Steffen Peters and Legolas 92, owned by Akiko Yamazaki, are the U.S. top-ranked rider/horse team based in San Diego, CA.  They will make the World Dressage Masters their only appearance in Florida.  Fellow Olympians Adrienne Lyle and Wizard, trained by Debbie McDonald and based in Idaho, have already arrived in Florida and are training for the event. Olympic athlete Tina Konyot, based in Palm City, FL, will compete on Calecto V and Heather Blitz, who calls Wellington her winter home, will ride Paragon. James Koford and Rhett will round out the U.S. riders slated for the Masters.

"Riding at the WDM is a huge honor and is a uniquely exciting event," Blitz said. "It's a competition that draws our country's best plus the top contenders from Europe and that makes for some incredible competition.  Wellington has been put on the global dressage map after hosting the WDM and it's such a boost for our community far and wide.  Riding for last year's enthusiastic sell out crowd was something I'll never forget and can't wait to do again.  It'll be the event of the year!"

World Dressage Masters will also showcase Sweden's top two riders: 2012 London Olympians Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven riding Don Aurilio, ranked No. 1 in Sweden and No. 10 in the world, and Patrik Kittel on Watermill Scandic, ranked No. 2 in Sweden and No. 11 in the world.  "Like I said, I have always been a big fan of WDM," Kittel said, who is on his way to the USA for WDM Palm Beach, his first time to compete in the U.S. 

Many international riders come for the event and are charmed by the venue. "The WDM is truly a bridge for international riders who want to spend the season in Florida," van de Laar said.  "Many riders like Tinne come for a season, then make Palm Beach their winter home."

The Netherland's Edward Gal and Inter Floor Next One, the duo that just won the Grand Prix Freestyle with a 77.35% on Jan. 6 in Drachten, Netherlands, will be competing along with fellow countryman Hans Peter Minderhoud on Whitney van't Genthof.

Denmark will be represented by Lars Petersen riding Mariett and Lisbeth Seierskilde riding Jonstrupgardens Raneur. "I am so looking forward to it!" Seierskilde said of her first trip to Florida to compete.

Canada's David Marcus riding Chrevi's Capital and Jacqueline Brooks competing on D Niro, Italy's Silvia Rizzo on Donnerbube II and Australia's Nicholas Fyffe on Sentimiento I will round out the world-class line-up.  Sentimiento's owner Tamara Gerber is eagerly anticipating watching her horse compete. "I am thrilled to have Nicholas riding Sentimiento in World Dressage Masters.  He is truly a dream horse," she said.  "We are so pleased to be competing at World Dressage Masters at Jim Brandon."

Fyffe agreed. "To have the opportunity to represent Australia at this great show is an honor. Sentimiento I and I are feeling very well prepared and I'd like to thank his owner, Tamara Gerber for her support."

Additionally, the top two qualified riders from the CDI3* Grand Prix Qualifier the same weekend will be invited to compete in the WDM for a maximum start field of 18-20.

Limited tickets are still available for 2013 World Dressage Masters for Reserved and VIP seating.  Contact Maria Feola at 561-282-5334 and 561-282-5301 or email at mfeola@internationalpoloclub.com or Debbie@internationalpoloclub. Or log onto http://wcd.ticketleap.com/2013 to buy your tickets today.