Tickets on Sale for Isabell Werth Master Class at Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival Thursday Feb. 7

Isabell Werth celebrating her World Equestrian Games individual gold medal with America’s Laura Graves (left) with silver and Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain (right) bronze. © 2018 Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan, 18, 2019–Tickets went on sale Friday for the Isabell Werth Master Class at Adequan Global Dressage Festival on Thursday, Feb. 7, during the CDI5* week.

Tickets for all ranges of seating–general admission for $50, covered seating for $75 and VIP at $175–are available at:

Isabell, the most decorated Olympic equestrian with 10 medals, currently is competing world No. 1 and double World Cup champion Weihegold OLD, No. 3 Bella Rose that took team and individual gold at the Tryon World Equestrian Games last September and No. 4 Emilio.

Gates for the master class open at 5 p.m. with an autograph signing. Posters will be provided.

The clinic begins at 5:30 p.m.

VIP ticket holders will have premium seating as well as a buffet dinner and open bar.

Covered seating ticket holders will have access to a cash bar and upgraded seating.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the evening.

Riders interested in participating can email information about their horse, competition history and a brief description to:


Source: Dressage News

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Shetland Pony As Brexit Issue Between UK and European Union?

Shetland Ponies that were models in a tourist promotion for the Scotland-governed islands that have been their home for thousands of years.

Jan. 17, 2019


The Shetland Pony, the pint-sized equines with lineage dating back to the Bronze Age, whose size and strength made them vital in coal mining in Europe and America for centuries, was the first riding horse for generations of children around the world and adored as celebrities in books, movies and keepsakes, may become entangled in Brexit politics.

A disagreement has been resurrected over what constitutes the “purity” of the ponies as determined by the “Mother” of all Shetland stud books, in Perth, Scotland which governs the Shetland islands, and pony-come-lately “daughter” stud books in 11 European nations.

To be in the “Mother” stud book, lineage has to be traced back eight generations of the typically furry ponies that range in size from a minimum height of about 7 hands/71 cm to an official maximum height of 10.2 hands/107 cm.

The offspring “daughter” stud books accept ponies with lineage of three generations.

America has had nothing to do with the dispute, but may have indirectly been a player because the country has bred Shetlands that are considered more svelte and attractive than originals and were mixed with some European Continental ponies to boost sales.

The “Mother” stud book keepers and the Continental studs got together in 2004 and signed an agreement about what constitutes a pure bred Shetland pony.

The German federation now see the agreement differently.

Dr. Klaus Miesner, German federation breeding division managing director, argues that “from 2006 all ponies in each stud book must have a minimum of three complete generations in the pedigree” to be regarded as purebred. Excluded from this rule are only ponies that have been directly registered by the original breeding book.

“However, the complete traceability to Scotland is not possible for all Shetland ponies from German breeding. For this reason, the German Equestrian Federation is making an intensive effort to clarify the matter with the Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society, with the aim of finding a solution based on the 2004 decision of the ISPC.

“The fact that the breed’s original breed book and several other Shetland pony are suddenly calling for a complete pedigree is completely surprising and unacceptable given the joint decision in 2004.”

At the time, he explained, the entire German Shetland pony breeding was checked and ponies with Tigerscheckung or American blood in the first three generations of the pedigree were entered in the newly established studbooks for German Part-Bred Shetland Ponies and German Classic Ponies.

Hold on, said Jill Jones, president of The Shetland Pony Stud Book Society in Perth.

The agreement, she told, politely but firmly, the agreement clearly defines the requirements.

“Germany and the other countries can have their own rules such as the three-generation rule,” she said. “There is no way we can enforce rules for the ‘daughter’ stud books.

“As the ‘mother” stud book, we do not accept the three-generation rule. We’re the country of origin. The 2004 agreement excludes the ‘mother’ stud book. It’s right there in writing.”

The German federation report said, “it is to be feared that the current power struggles over the UK’s exit from the European Union will be of little help in time.”

Source: Dressage News

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Details of Isabell Werth Master Class for Wellington Thursday Feb. 7

Isabell Werth on Bella Rose celebrating the World Equestrian Games individual gold medal. © 2018 Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 16, 2018–Details of the Feb. 7 master class by World No. 1 Isabell Werth were released Wednesday with tickets available for general admission and VIP at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington.

The master class by the most decorated Olympic equestrian in history will start at 5:30 p.m. local but the gates will open at 5 p.m. with an autograph signing section.

General admission is $50 per person, covered seating $75 and VIP $175 that also includes dining.

Tickets can be reserved at

The master class is being staged at the height of the Global winter circuit, during the $216,700 CDI5* week.

Isabell is currently No. 1 with Weihegold OLD, 2017 and 2018 World Cup champion; No. 3 on Bella Rose that was the star of last September’s Tryon World Equestrian Games and No. 4 on Emilio.

She earned her first Olympic gold medal at the age of 23 and 26 years later the rider has taken the total to 10–six gold and four silver–as well 11 world championship medals including team and individual gold at Tryon, 21 European Championship medals and four World Cup titles.

Source: Dressage News

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Laura Graves Tops Kickoff Global Dressage Festival Prize Money Earnings

Laura Graves and Verdades competing in the opening event of the 2019 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. © 2019 Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 14, 2019–Laura Graves and Verdades, newly crowned as USA Equestrian and Horse of the Year, topped prize money earnings at the opening event of the winter-long Adequan Global Dressage Festival, according to a compilation by and presented by Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance.

Victories in the World Cup Grand Prix and Freestyle earned the pair $4,300 with Germany’s Michael Klimke who competed three different horses in CDI classes accumulated a total of $4,250 as the second highest money earner for the show.

Laura of Geneva, Florida and Verdades, now 17 years old, were Global’s top prize money winning pair with $47,400 for 2018 and $55,600 in 2017.

A total of 31 riders from eight nations made Global’s 2019 initial money earnings list. Seven CDIs including four World Cup events, big money CDI5* and 4* competitions and a Nations Cup are offering a total of $600,000 in prize money.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival Prize Money Earnings as of Jan. 13, 2019
Presented by Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance

1. Laura Graves USA $4,300
2. Michael Klimke GER $4,250
3. Shelly Francis USA $3,100
4. Jill Irving CAN $2,300
5. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén SWE $2,250
6. Brittany Fraser CAN $1,700
7. Jan Ebeling USA $1,555
8. Diane Creech CAN $1,210
9. Heather Boo USA $1,175
10. Bent Jensen USA $1,150
11. Meagan Davis USA $1,040
12. Alexandra Dominguez GUA $1,000

Source: Dressage News

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Germany’s Michael Klimke Completes His Most Successful Global Dressage Show With Victory on Harmony’s Scout

Michael Klimke riding Harmony’s Scout S in a national Int. II for the debut of the 10-year-old stallion to complete the German rider’s most successful Global Dressage Festival show beginning his fifth year of Florida competitions. © 2019 Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 13, 2019–Michael Klimke debuted the newly acquired Harmony’s Scout S to win a national Intermediate II Sunday to complete the German rider’s most successful Global Dressage Festival with four victories in seven CDI starts to begin his fifth year on the Florida winter circuit.

Michael and the 10-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Scolari x Rhodiamant) scored 70.441 per cent. Scout is owned by Leslie Malone’s Harmony Sporthorses of Kiowa, Colorado for whom Michael has been riding for the past decade.

On Harmony’s Diabolo, the pair swept the CDI3* of Prix St. Georges, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate Freestyle.

“I’ve had him since he was six,” he said, “and I really think his highlight is strength mentally, with the nerves; he’s totally rideable. The gaits are good, and the highlight at the end is his availability for piaffe and pirouettes. He can really sit.”

Michael Klimke and Harmony’s Diabolo competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. © 2019

The plan is to do small tour again at the end of January then to move Diabolo, a nine year-old Hanoverian gelding (Desperados x Rousseau) up to Intermediate II by the end of the Florida winter circuit.

After Global, he returns home to Münster with the aim of Diabolo being in Developing Grand Prix.

Michael also rode Harmony’s Sanrino RHP in the CDI debut of the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding, winning the CDI1* Prix St. Georges and placing fourth in the Intermediate 1.

On Royal Dancer, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding in the third year at Big Tour, the duo placed first in the CDI3* Grand Prix and second in the Grand Prix Special.



Source: Dressage News

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Verdades USA Horse of Year for 2018 After Rider Laura Graves Named Equestrian of Year

Laura Graves, Equestrian of the Year, beside the USA Horse of the Year award for 2018 won by Verdades. © 2019 Ken Braddick/


WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 12, 2019–Verdades on Saturday night was named USA International Horse of the Year after creating history in 2018 as the lifelong partner of rider Laura Graves who had already been honored as Equestrian of the Year.

The title was awarded to Verdades as a result of a nationwide poll of members of the U.S. Equestrian Federation that the voting results announced two days earlier had declared the 31-year-old Laura Equestrian of the Year.

National Horse of the Year was Cobra, a Mustang gelding that Marsha Hartford-Sapp adopted in 2010 after the wild horse was rejected three times and that she trained to compete at Prix St. Georges dressage as well as Western dressage

Verdades, called “Diddy” by Laura who has owned the KWPN gelding since bought as a yearling in the Netherlands from a video, is 17 years old as of Jan. 1. But at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, the first international dressage  show in the world for 2019, the pair swept the World Cup event showing no signs of slowing down in the pair’s campaign to add that championship to Olympic and World Equestrian and Pan American Games medals.

And the pair were the first in history outside Europe to become No. 1 in the world–for two months in 2018.

“You know as a kid, we all had a dream of what we would grow up to be and to do… a rock star, astronaut, doctor,” Laura told the packed gala dinner attended by her personal coach Debbie McDonald, now the official U.S. team coach and sponsor Elizabeth “Betsy” Juliano.

“I wanted to ride for the U.S. Equestrian Team, which in hindsight is actually more impossible than the others!

“For so many years I worked and dreamed of what it would feel like to achieve that dream. In reality it was so much different. It was so much better.

“It wasn’t about the ribbons and the medals and the scores. It was about the joy, despite hardships, heartbreaks and massive failures, overwhelming joy.

“And not just selfish joy, but the realization that this great horse brings joy to so many.

“And so it’s Verdades tonight that we really thank.

“It has been the greatest pleasure to share his gift with you.”

Verdades being ridden by Laura Graves to celebrate World Equestrian Games individual silver medal. © 2018 Ken Braddick/

The award was greeted with loud cheering and a standing ovation from the crowd that celebrated honors for the numerous breeds and divisions that are part of the U.S. federation.

The bay gelding (Florett AS x Goya), whose actual birthday is April 17, lives with Laura and co-owner Curt Maes, her personal and business partner, in the Orlando area community of Geneva about 200 miles/320 km north of Wellington.

Laura who grew up and raised Verdades in Vermont that borders eastern Canada moved to Florida with the horse to pursue training for international competition.

The pair’s first major success was at the 2014 U.S. Festival of Champions to which they were invited only after some other combinations dropped out to make way for what was recognized within the American dressage high performance community as a team prospect. Laura and Verdades were reserve U.S. Grand Prix champion to Steffen Peters and Legolas.

Steffen Peters on Legolas and Laura Graves on Verdades at the 2014 U.S. Championships. File photo. © Ken Braddick/

At the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France three months later Laura and Verdades placed fifth in the Grand Prix Freestyle, the highest placing for an American.

The following year, the duo were on the gold medal team at the Pan American Games in Toronto, and also claimed individual silver.

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro saw the American team of Laura and Verdades, Steffen and Legolas, Allison Brock on Rosevelt and Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet capture team bronze, the first Olympic medal for American dressage since 2004.

Laura and Verdades created history at the 2018 WEG at home in Tryon, North Carolina, winning team silver with Kasey and Dublet, Adrienne Lyle and Salvino and Steffen and Suppenkasper as the USA  had done at the 2002 world championships, but then adding individual silver that was unprecedented.

Along the way, the combination had been reserve champion to Germany’s world No. 1 Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD at the 2017 and 2018 World Cup Finals.

As the pair near sixth year at Big Tour, their career has recorded 36 Grand Prix victories on both sides of the Atlantic as of this week.

Laura Graves accepting the USA Horse of the Year award on behalf of Verdades. © 2019 Ken Braddick/
Marsha Hartford-Sapp whose Mustang Cobra was USA National Horse of the Year and Laura Graves whose Verdades was USA International Horse of the ear. © 2019Ken Braddick/





Source: Dressage News

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Germany’s Marc Stanuschewski & Graciella 1st Combination to Qualify for Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series Developing Prix St. George Final

Marc Stanuschewski and Graciella qualified for Future Stars Performance Series final at Global Dressage Festival. © 2019 Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 12, 2018–Germany’s Marc Stanuschewski on Graciella became the first combination in the Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series to qualify for the $10,000 final of the Developing Prix St. Georges for seven to nine year-old horses.

Marc and the nine-year-old Oldenburg mare qualified Saturday in the inaugural qualifying competition of eight scheduled throughout the Adequan Global Dressage Festival for the end of March Iron Spring final presented by Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance.

Combinations that qualify in eight Global national events will be invited to the final in the last of 12 weeks of competitions at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex.

Iron Spring Farm of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, a leading American sport horse breeder, is title sponsor of the series. Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock insurance of Goshen, New York and Legacy Farms of Loxahatchee, Florida are supporting sponsors.

The series is open to riders of all nationalities. Combinations that place first or second in one USEF Developing Prix St. Georges competition automatically qualify for the final. Riders can qualify more than one horse. The series is loosely based on the world famous Nürnberger Burg-Pokal that is the German championship of horses aged seven to nine years at small tour.

Marc grew up in Leipzig, Germany riding both jumpers and dressage.

Graciella (Sir Donnerhall x Welt Hit II) was bought at the Oldenburg auction in 2015 and in 2017 Marc came to Wellington to compete in the Young Rider division.

The family has bought property in Wellington and plans to build a barn.

Marc, 22 years old, started at small tour this year with an eye on the Under-25 division for 2020.

Qualifying Future Stars Performance Series competitions are scheduled for:

-GDF3 Jan. 23-27
-GDF5 Feb. 6-10
-GDF6 Feb. 15-16
-GDF7 Feb. 20-24
-GDF8 Feb. 27-Mar. 3
-GDF9 Mar. 7-10
-GDF10 Mar. 13-17

Final: GDF12 Mar. 27-31-International Arena, Global Dressage Festival

Source: Dressage News

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Laura Graves & Verdades Debut “Coming to America” Freestyle to Win Wellington World Cup

“Coming to America” debut performance by Laura Graves and Verdades at the World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle in Wellington. © 2019 Ken Braddick/


WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 11, 2019–Laura Graves and Verdades debuted the “Coming to America” Grand Prix Freestyle prepared for last year’s Tryon World Equestrian Games to win the inaugural Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup musical performance of 2019.

Laura, who a day earlier was named USA Equestrian of 2018, and the KWPN gelding that officially became 17 years old on Jan. 1, were awarded 83.220 per cent, all five judges marking the world No. 2 combination above 80 per cent.

The freestyle at this Global opening show was the first international event for Laura and “Diddy” since the Tryon World Games where the musical competition was cancelled because of bad weather and the first freestyle since the CDIO5* in Aachen, Germany six months ago.

Shelly Francis of neighboring Loxahatchee, Florida on Danilo was second on 79.280 per cent that moved her into second place in the North American League behind Laura and Verdades. She plans to keep trying to earn a start in Gothenburg.

Sweden’s seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén on Don Auriello, who also is seeking to go to the final in her homeland, was third on 77.710 per cent.

Shelly Francis and Danilo in the Wellington World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2019

Laura of the Orlando community of Geneva, Florida, wants to go to her fourth World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April, shot to the top of the North American League which gets to send two combinations to the annual world championships. Shelly and Danilo are second in the standings with 79.280 per cent and Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, on Suppenkasper in third with a score of 77.800 per cent, attained at Del Mar last April.

North American qualification for the final requires three scores this year, one more than previously.

Laura, 31 years old, was runner-up to world No. 1 Isabell Werth of Germany and Weihegold OLD in both 2017 and 2018.

This was the first of four scheduled qualifiers for Wellington with three on the calendar at the West Coast Dressage Festival in Temecula, California for this year’s final.

Laura said she wasn’t sure what music to use and does not practice ahead of time but had worked on this freestyle with classic rock pieces of Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America” that she wanted to perform for WEG with so many riders coming to the U.S. as well as music from the Eagles and Van Morrison.

“I crossed my fingers that it worked out and it did,” she said. “There were a couple of big mistakes tonight; I came out a little strong.”

Jill Irving of Canada on Arthur won the CDI3* Grand Prix Special with a score of 65.543 per cent with Michael Klimke of Germany on Royal Dancer second on 64.404 per cent and Bent Jensen of the U.S. on Chance third on 63.149 per cent.

Canada’s Jill Irving on Arthur celebrating victory at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. © 2019 Ken Braddick/

The start of the eighth year of the Global winter-long circuit of 12 weeks of dressage-including seven CDIs–also saw the introduction of paperless judging and final scores displayed on scoreboards before combinations leave the arena.


World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle

Thomas Lang Raphael Saleh Hans-Christian Matthiesen Peter Storr Carlos Lopes
Final Ranking Score % Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B Spectator Judging
1. 83.220 USA Laura Graves Verdades – 523 80.800 84.225 83.650 82.450 84.975 83.476 (1)
2. 79.280 USA Shelly Francis Danilo – 509 77.350 80.450 79.825 81.325 77.450 80.970 (2)
3. 77.710 SWE Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén Don Auriello – 532 76.625 79.675 79.550 75.250 77.450 75.853 (3)
4. 75.370 CAN Brittany Fraser All In – 519 74.400 75.250 76.375 76.550 74.275 75.744 (4)
5. 64.650 USA Heather Boo Divertimento – 514 66.175 62.450 63.650 64.125 66.850 65.780 (5)

CDI3* Grand Prix Special

Raphael Saleh Carlos Lopes Thomas Lang Debbie Rodriguez Hans-Christian Matthiesen
Final Ranking Score % Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B Spectator Judging
1. 65.532 CAN Jill Irving Arthur – 530 66.170 64.574 65.426 66.277 65.213 65.293 (2)
2. 64.404 GER Michael Klimke Royal Dancer – 537 63.936 63.723 66.277 64.681 63.404 66.079 (1)
3. 63.149 USA Bent Jensen Chance – 512 62.766 62.021 64.787 62.979 63.191 64.656 (3)
4. 57.894 GUA Alexandra Dominguez Beijing A – 533 58.936 56.915 55.851 58.511 59.255 60.710 (4)

Source: Dressage News

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British World Class Athletes Selected for 2019-21 World Class Program Podium Potential Squad

Charlotte Fry on Glamourdale at the 2018 World Young Horse Championships. File photo. © 2018 Ilse Schwarz/

Jan. 11, 2019

The British Equestrian Federation has selected 25 athletes–including five dressage riders–for the United Kingdom Sport National Lottery-funded World Class Program Podium Potential squad for 2019-2021.

The dressage squad:

–Charlotte Fry, 22 years old, based in The Netherlands;
–Sonnar Murray-Brown, 29;
–Becky Moody, 38;
–Alice Oppenheimer, 29, and
–Hayley Watson-Greaves, 35.

Athletes in the program will receive tailored support in world-class coaching, human and equine sports science and medicine, nutrition and sports psychology, as part of an established training pathway.

The BEF reviewed the performance pathway in early 2017, resulting in a wider pool of athletes being eligible to apply for the new structure and performance standards for the World Class Program.

The application and selection process assessed athlete and horse combinations on their potential to compete on a senior championship team for Great Britain and add to its medal success. This process included athletes being evaluated on a range of areas which included competition record, performance attitude and the health and fitness of themselves and their horses.

Source: Dressage News

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Laura Graves Named United States Equestrian of the Year for 2018

Laura Graves and U.S. Equestrian Federation President Murray Kessler holding aloft the William C. Steinkraus Trophy awarded to the dressage rider as U.S. Equestrian of the Year. © 2019 Ken Braddick/


WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 10, 2019–Laura Graves, who led the United States team to World Equestrian Games team silver and claimed individual silver and with her Verdades the first American to become No. 1 dressage combination in the world, on Thursday night was named U.S. Equestrian of the Year for 2018.

The 31-year-old Laura was declared winner of the William C. Steinkraus Trophy at an awards banquet and based on a nationwide ballot of U.S. Equestrian Federation members.

McLain Ward, double Olympic gold medalist and on the U.S. jumping team that won WEG gold at Tryon who had also been nominated for the honor, had urged members to vote for the dressage rider.

The Horse of the Year for which Verdades, a 17-year-old KWPN gelding that has been Laura’s equestrian partner for almost his entire life, will be named Saturday night.

Debbie McDonald, recently appointed as U.S. chef d’equipe and technical advisor and Laura’s personal coach for more than five years, was received a Pegasus Medal of Honor.

Laura Graves and Debbie McDonald at the U.S. Equestrian Federation annual awards ceremony where both were honored. © 2019Ken Braddick/

Janine Malone, a long-time equestrian official and involved in both the U.S. Equestrian and Dressage Federations as well as a CDI show organizer, also received a Pegasus Medal.

Anne Gribbons, Swedish-born but who became an American and was former U.S. team coach, FEI 5* judge and Grand Prix competitor and trainer, received the Walter B. Deveraux Sportsmanship Award for commitment and dedication to horse sport.

Anne Gribbons accepting the Walter B. Devereaux Sportsmanship Award. © 2019 Ken Braddick/

The award to Laura came the same day she competed Verdades for the first time since last September’s World Games.

The pair won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix at the start of their campaign to go to the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April where they hope to capture the annual championship title. The pair were runner-up to Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD in 2017 and 2018

Laura and Verdades won team gold and individual silver at the 2015 Pan American Games, team bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the two silvers at the 2018 WEG that led to the pair becoming the first American to top the world rankings.


Source: Dressage News

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