Guenter Seidel, Frederic Wandres, Ben Ebeling and Anna Buffini ride off in Friday’s Palm Beach Derby at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, a venue close to the Winter Equestrian Festival.
“I am really excited and looking forward to the weekend,” said Frederic. “I think it’s important to enjoy it and see it as a little bit of a fun thing.”
The draw takes place on Thursday to see who goes against who in the virtual semi-finals. Riders have five minutes of familiarisation with the horses before performing a prix st georges level test. Frederic has some experience of derbies, having won the Hamburg Derby in 2019 and also the German championships derby. In spite of this, he knows he has tough opposition.
“I know that my competitors are also very talented and experienced riders. So I think it’s a nice combination and we will see how it goes,” he said.
The Palm Beach Derby has been running for over 30 years, making it the oldest dressage contest in Wellington. Friday’s competition includes the four riders and three horses, with the winners of the first round riding off against each other in the final on a new horse as part of the “Friday Night Stars” spectacle. Crowd participation is added to the equation with spectators’ scoring supplying 25% of the final score.
“The crowd love it,” said AGDF director of sport, Thomas Baur. “And also the people on the livestream. We have three judges giving their scores and the spectators giving their scores. The spectator scores are always close; there are only rare cases where they really do not agree with the judges. I think the tendency overall is that they [the spectators] are a bit more generous but if you look at the individual ride, then they might be lower, but it’s combined with a lot of people so they might be right!”
Horse & Hound will be continuing to bring you all the action from the Winter Equestrian Festival this week.
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