Experience The Beauty Of Dressage

Experience The Beauty Of Dressage
Olympic Year Adds Extra Excitement To The Adequan Global Dressage Festival

By Kayla Walker

The 13th annual Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) began its 12-week competition circuit in Wellington on Jan. 10 and runs until March 31. After two weeks off during its first four weeks, the show runs consecutively for the final eight weeks.

In the upcoming weeks, some of the top Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) dressage riders from around the world will ride to compete and qualify for numerous championships in the AGDF International Ring. These championships include the World Cup, Festival of Champions and the North American Youth Championships. Each CDI week, spectators are invited to watch their favorite riders compete Thursday through Sunday.

AGDF Director of Sport Thomas Baur welcomes all to experience the beautiful horses and great performances during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival at Equestrian Village. The most memorable part of each week is the Friday Night Stars event presenting Grand Prix freestyle performances from some of the top riders from around the world. Each performance underlines the essence of dressage — a dance of power, precision and harmony. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m.

“The captivating Friday Night Stars Grand Prix Freestyles will be back, a must-see for spectators during weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12,” Baur said. “At AGDF, we pride ourselves on inclusivity, offering classes that cater to all — from the budding pony riders to the seasoned amateurs.”

In addition to the freestyles on Friday evenings, the three most distinguished events are the World Cup qualifying events, two CDI4* contests and a five-star event sponsored by Douglas Elliman hosted at the nearby Wellington International showgrounds.

Additionally, the FEI Nations Cup Series CDIO3* and the two CPEDI3* para-dressage events are exciting competitions held at AGDF. During Nations Cup week, seven countries are represented, which is significant to the teams from different countries from across Europe, South America and North America.

The Nations Cup dressage format is a refreshing take on traditional dressage competitions, emphasizing teamwork and strategy. It provides a platform for nations to showcase their depth of talent and offers audiences a thrilling team-based competition.

Over the season, the $10,000 Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series for horses ages seven to nine years old and the $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge series for horses eight to 10 years of age are held as well. At AGDF, during weeks 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10, riders have five weeks of qualifying possibilities. The final, during AGDF Week 12, occurs with the best two horses from each week. The final provides riders and trainers with the opportunity to showcase their talented, young horses in the International Ring in an exciting and spontaneous environment without the pressure of international competition.

“This presents a prime opportunity to spot the emerging equine athletes in dressage,” Baur explained. “The circuit will be dotted with qualifiers, culminating in the grand finals during the 12th week.”

During AGDF Week 10, when dressage takes over Wellington International, is the most admired night of the season. The International Ring will host the National 5* composing the riders for a summer spent in Europe in profoundly competitive environments.

With Olympic riders such as Adrienne Lyle, it provides an extra special atmosphere for spectators. Lyle, a highly awarded rider, won the Olympic team silver medal with her teammates Sabine Schut-Kery and Steffen Peters. Throughout the season, Lyle will compete and show in many Friday Night Stars events.

During two weeks of the season, AGDF will host para-dressage, the only equestrian sport in the Paralympic Games. Riders compete in one of five separate grades formed on the rider’s ability and the individual movements for each test. The walk-only test is Grade I, whereas Grades II and Grades III are walk and trot. Grades IV and V consist of the walk, trot and canter. In these three-day events, riders will compete, and the final day will be a freestyle. Roxanne Trunnell, one of the most decorated para-dressage riders, who won an individual gold medal in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, will be part of the para-dressage events at AGDF.

While watching dressage events at Equestrian Village, attendees can enjoy more than just world-class competition. They are also treated to an array of diverse culinary experiences and retail therapy featuring prominent equestrian brands.

For the latest updates on the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, visit https://gdf.coth.com.