Nine U.S. Olympic Riders Headline the Jumper Division at the 121st National Horse Show in Wellington, Florida
Phelps Media Group
The nation’s finest equestrians return for The 121st National Horse Show, to be held at The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL, November 30-December 5. The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Center is the home of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the site of the first outdoor Nations Cup held in the United States. This is the third consecutive year The National Horse Show has been held in Florida.
The National Horse Show is home to the Budweiser AGA Championship, CSI*** presented by Chesapeake Petroleum (December 5) and the Lexus National Horse Show Jumper Championship, CSI-W presented by Chesapeake Petroleum (December 3).
Show jumping’s greatest stars, including nine U.S. Olympians and six AGA season ending champions, will take center stage again this year at the 2004 edition of the National Horse Show.
The Olympic riders are led by Beezie Madden, McLain Ward and Alison Firestone, three members of the USA Silver Medal Show Jumping squad from the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Former Olympians also competing include the 1992 Individual Bronze medallist at Barcelona, Norman Dello Joio, and 2000 Sydney Olympic teammates, Margie Engle, Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut,Nona Garson and Todd Minikus.
Madden will also be honored as the 2004 AGA Rider of the Year. Madden is currently ranked fifth in the world computer rankings, the highest-ranked American and highest-ranked woman rider in the world. Beezie Madden won her first AGA Rider title in 1997.
Ward comes to Wellington on a roll having won five major events on this year’s fall tour, including the $100,000 President’s Cup at The Washington International Horse Show in Washington, DC, and most recently the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.
Former AGA Rider of the Year award winners competing at the National Horse Show this year include Margie Engle, an eight-time champion and Ward, a three-time winner. Former AGA Rookie of the Year winners coming to Wellington include Michael Walton (2003), Danielle Torano (2002) and Joie Gatlin (1984).
In the Rookie of the Year race this year, Derek Petersen ($36,750) will try and hold off Pablo Barrios ($15,000) for the title.
Last year’s AGA Horse of the Year, Hidden Creek’s Jones, ridden by Margie Engle, is also slated to compete at The National Horse Show. This year however, his stable mate Hidden Creek’s Perin, ridden by Engle, is in contention for 2004 Horse of the Year honors. The duo is just $2,500 back of Norman Dello Joio’s Glasgow, for the title. Glasgow remains sidelined from an injury sustained at the Olympic Selection Trials.
Other superstars on this year’s National Horse Show line-up include Georgina Bloomberg, who swept to victory in both the $50,000 Liberty and $100,000 Metropolitan Cup events at The Metropolitan National Horse Show in New York City just a week ago.
Also competing will be Todd Minikus, winner of the $60,000 CN World Cup Grand Prix at the Royal Winter Fair last week and Kim Frey, who led the victory gallop at the Congressional Cup Grand Prix in October at the Capital Challenge in Maryland.
Darragh Kerins of Ireland, winner of the $150,000 Prudential Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic in Bridgehampton, NY, in September and Markus Beerbaum of Germany add to the international flair on this year’s roster of riders.
Marley Goodman, who dominated last year’s Amateur Owner Jumper Division at The National Horse Show, will return to defend her title and will face stiff competition from Bloomberg, Cara Cheska, Laura Linback, Torano, Lisa Silverman, Katrina Woods and Charlie and Louis Jacobs.
The Junior Jumper division features top young riding stars Charlie Jayne, Megan Young, Carolyn Kelly and Lexy Reed.
Adult and Children Jumpers round out The National Horse Show jumper schedule.