Exciting Season of Show Jumping Set to Begin at Winter Equestrian Festival

Ben Maher and Sarena in their 2016 winning presentation with Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark & Katherine Bellissimo; Photo Credit: Sportfot
Ben Maher and Sarena in their 2016 winning presentation with Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark & Katherine Bellissimo;
Photo Credit: Sportfot

Riders and Horses Look Ahead to the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon

The 38th annual Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) will begin its 12-week circuit on January 11 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

The WEF is the largest and longest-running circuit for hunter/jumper riders in the world, drawing national and international talent alike as riders take advantage of opportunities to earn World Ranking points and tune-up their game for upcoming championships.

This year, five-star grand prix competitions (CSI 5*) will be featured on February 11, February 25, March 11, and March 25. Each five-star competition will include a $380,000 grand prix. The much-anticipated $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix – won last year by Ben Maher of Great Britain and his mount Sarena – will occur on Week 11 of the winter circuit.

Cian O’Connor of Ireland and Sam Du Challois representing Ireland in the 2016 Nations Cup at WEF. Photo Credit: Sportfot
Cian O’Connor of Ireland and Sam Du Challois representing Ireland in the 2016 Nations Cup at WEF.
Photo Credit: Sportfot

Starting this year, and as a result of the growing popularity of international competition at WEF, each five-star competition will be running concurrently with CSI 2* competitions, each of which will have a $50,000 grand prix. Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP), which hosts WEF, explains that the new system of running concurrent five-star and two-star competitions will give more riders the opportunity to compete at the top levels of the sport.

Other highlights of the competition season include the Suncast® 1.50 meter Championship Jumper Series, won last year by McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z; the $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4*; the $50,000 National Grand Prix; and the $150,000 Nations Cup, where teams representing their countries compete over two rounds. Last year, Ireland bested the 7-country field in the Nations Cup, edging out team USA (second place) and team Colombia (third place).

This year’s competition promises to be even more fierce than previous years as the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) peeks over the horizon.

Awarded to the Tryon International Equestrian Center by unanimous vote of the Fédération Equestre Internationale Bureau on November 3, 2016, the WEG will take place from September 10-23, 2018. Situated on 1,600 acres at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Mill Spring, NC, the Tryon International Equestrian Center shares some of the same managing partners as WEF, including Mark Bellisimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions.

In previous years, WEF has proven to be a valuable practice field for riders and horses preparing for major international championships.

Last year, all of the riders on the Olympic silver-medal-winning show jumping team competed at WEF before heading to Rio de Janeiro, and we can be sure to see Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Kent Farrington, Lucy Davis, and Laura Kraut returning to the WEF rings again this winter.
To review more information on this press release and details on the schedule of show jumping events at WEF this year,

To review more information on this press release and details on the schedule of show jumping events at WEF this year, visit PBIEC website.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z, winners of last year’s Suncast® 1.50 meter Championship Jumper Series. Photo Credit: Sportfot

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z, winners of last year’s Suncast® 1.50 meter Championship Jumper Series.
Photo Credit: Sportfot