“At last year’s Land Rover Eventing Showcase we just had the gallop through the VIP tent. This year [course designer] Captain Mark Phillips has put up a pretty considerably fence right in the middle of the tent. So it could be interesting,” said American eventer Boyd Martin, ahead of this year’s competition (3-4 February 2017).
But the challenging track at the glamorous setting close to West Palm Beach didn’t seem to deter the 37-year-old, who took the Eventing Showcase for the third consecutive time, this time riding the 12-year-old mare Welcome Shadow.
“This is a great event and the highlight of my year,” said Boyd afterwards. “You couldn’t come to a better venue for eventing and for this short format at the beginning of the year. We’ve had a wonderful time and it’s a real privilege to be down here.”
The competition is a short format horse trials, with dressage on the Friday and showjumping and cross-country on the Saturday, with a prize-fund of $100,000 (£80,000).
“West Palm beach is a very glamorous and beautiful coastal town here in Florida and it’s a really great place for us to showcase our sport,” said American eventer Allison Springer.
“The Eventing Showcase is a great addition to the sport in this country. There’s a lot of dressage riders and showjumpers down here that have been exposed to a whole new sport and are really enjoying it.”
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Olympic showjumping gold medallist Nick Skelton added: “Wellington is really renowned for showjumping and dressage now, but with the Eventing Showcase coming in it widens it out to a greater audience and it’s great for the whole sport.”
This is the 38th Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre in Wellington, Florida, and it runs for a total of 12 weeks (11 January-2 April). The Eventing Showcase was first run in 2015.