Category Archives: Awards

Wanda Wiggins Inducted into The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club

Wanda Wiggins and Dusine (Photo courtesy of Maria Croft)

Clinches Adult Amateur High Score at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Jacksonville, FL (April 1, 2016) – Wanda Wiggins just accomplished one of the rarest feats in equestrian competition. With her long-time equine partner Dusine, Wiggins joined The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club – a club of horse and rider pairs whose combined age totals 100 years or more. A true role model for equestrians of all disciplines, Wiggins and Dusine competed with elegance in their Century Ride at the recent Northeast Dressage Association (NFDA) Freestyle Challenge and Warm-up for DOTFC competition at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to completing their Century Ride, their score of 75.313 percent earned the pair the Adult Amateur High Point award at the show.

In her 71 years, Wiggins has lived a full life for which she had three goals: to become a flight attendant, to meet her prince charming, and to own a horse. This year, she celebrated her 50-year wedding anniversary with her prince charming, whom she met while working as a flight attendant. Her prince charming had then bought her a horse.

It seems as though Dusine was destined to become Wiggins’ horse. “It was such a miraculous thing that I even got her,” explains Wiggins. Wiggins had been on a business trip to New Orleans when she discovered Dusine. “We fell in love immediately.” After making an offer to purchase Dusine, Wiggins learned that another person had already entered into a contract for the beautiful mare, who Wiggins describes as her “own Black Beauty.” Thankfully for Wiggins, the other buyer wasn’t able to complete the purchase. That was nineteen years ago. The rest is history – a beautiful story of horse-and-rider bonding, dressage shows, and a happy ending – though reaching this happy ending hasn’t been easy.

A three-time cancer survivor, Wiggins has relied on the now 29-year-old Dusine through each recovery experience. Wiggins spoke of the bond she developed with Dusine during those trying times, saying, “It is a motivation to keep going when you have these awesome animals that expect you to be there and expect you to take care of them.” And so Wiggins has been there every day for Dusine, despite all odds.

As Wiggins’ and Dusine’s ages now total 100, they embarked on the journey toward their Century Ride at the Northeast Florida Dressage Association’s recent show at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. To join the Century Club, a horse and rider must perform a dressage test of any level in front of judges. The rider must first submit an application to The Dressage Foundation, and The Dressage Foundation will send a ribbon to be presented to the horse and rider during their Century Ride. An award bearing the pair’s names is then presented to the Century Club Team to forever immortalize the newest Century Club duo.

Wanda with her husband Dennis. Photo: Teri Rehkopf/
Wanda with her husband Dennis. Photo: Teri Rehkopf/

Unfortunately, in the days before Wiggins and Dusine arrived at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for their Century Ride, Dusine began showing real signs of feeling her age. Wiggins was unsure if they would be able to compete, but Dusine began feeling better just in time. Right before Wiggins and Dusine entered the show ring, the president of the North Florida Dressage Association read one of Wiggins’ favorite Bible scriptures, Isaiah 30:15, aloud. “When she read that, I felt such a calm and a peace,” says Wiggins. “I was praying that we would mount up on eagles’ wings and float through the test. I have to tell you, that is what we did. Dusine performed wonderfully – she felt like my horse from ten years ago.” When the test finished, Wiggins could tell her partner shared her pride in their combined accomplishment.

To commemorate the momentous occasion, the North Florida Dressage Association presented Wiggins with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and Dusine with a lovely neck ribbon. “They went out of their way to make that a special time,” says Wiggins.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was happy to host Wiggins’ momentous Century Ride in its spacious indoor stadium. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a multi-use facility that hosts events such as hunter/jumper shows, barrel races, dressage shows, horsemanship clinics, and more. Even for non-equestrians, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center makes sure to keep something on the calendar for everyone, with canine shows, concerts, and community events regularly taking place. For more information, visit or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award Presented to Susan Jones

Susan Jones and Connaisseur (Photo courtesy of Dieter Busse).

Wellington, FL (March 14, 2016) – Dr. Cesar Parra and his Piaffe Performance Farm is continuing to reward accomplished adult amateur riders at the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award. This past week, during the show series’ Palm Beach Dressage Derby, Susan Jones of Walton, Kentucky was the Adult Amateur Achievement Award winner.

Parra, an Olympian who has trained many amateur and professional riders during his illustrious career, loves honoring adult amateurs for the hard work and dedication they put in with their horses. Susan Jones accepted the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award after competing throughout the weekend with her horses Reliance, Connaisseur, and Lindor’s Finest.

Parra presented Jones with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award after her performance in the Prix St. Georges with Reliance, a 13-year-old sired by Rhodimont and out of Gesstine, a Classiker mare imported from Germany. Jones bought the 2003 dark bay from Kathy Priest around seven years ago. A highlight of their career so far was their 2011 win in the GAIG/USDF Region 2 Championships amongst 33 other horses at First Level.

Jones and Reliance have climbed the ranks together, and Friday marked their first Prix St. Georges test at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. After that test, Jones commented, “We’re just going to continue getting better. I’m going to be here the rest of the weekend trying to perfect our test.”

Sure enough, the pair did just that and improved by almost two entire percentage points when they captured the blue ribbon for the week’s Sunday FEI Prix St. George Adult Amateur class.

Jones fits riding into her successful career as CEO, President, and Founder of the consulting firm Seed Strategy, which works with many Fortune 500 companies and other recognizable world brands. As a 1986 alumni of Indiana University, Jones earned her Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Marketing and currently serves on the Dean’s Council in the university’s Kelley School of Business.

When Jones is at home, she can be found spending time with her family or riding her dressage horses Reliance, Connaisseur, and Lindor’s Finest at her farm, Flyaway Acres, in Northern Kentucky. “Dressage is my oxygen,” Jones said. “I need it to live. To be on a horse and to continue to master being the best you can be and riding in harmony – there’s nothing better than that.”

Dr. Cesar Parra and the entire team from Piaffe Performance were proud to reward Jones, as she shares Piaffe Performance’s strong love for dressage and dedication to excellence in the sport. Piaffe Performance will continue presenting the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award throughout the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, where Piaffe Performance is also the sponsor of the International Rider Lounge and the Hospitality Tent by the National Arenas. The Piaffe Performance Rider Lounges provide drinks and snacks for all levels of riders to enjoy as they relax before or after their tests.

Piaffe Performance, founded by Olympic dressage rider Dr. Cesar Parra, has locations in Jupiter, Florida and in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Parra and his team provide full-service training based on the Classical German Training Methods. Dr. Parra has worked with such masters of dressage as Herbert Rehbein, Siegfried “Bimbo” Peilicke, Hans Rueben, Herbert Kuckluck, and Hubertus Schmidt. Learn more about training and sales prospects at

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352

Custom Saddlery Crowns Most Valuable Riders across the Sunshine State

Endel Ots wins the Custom Saddlery MVR Award at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Wellington, FL (March 14, 2016) – When dressage stars shine brightly across the state of Florida, Custom Saddlery takes note. The company rewarded Brian MacMahon and Endel Ots for their excellence by presenting them with the Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider (MVR) Award at recent Florida dressage shows. MacMahon was recognized for coaching students and horses to excellent scores – as well as excellent scores himself – at the Twice as Nice Dressage Show 2 in Canterbury, Florida. Ots was recognized at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival for his international success with his young horses.

A dressage rider for more than 30 years, MacMahon is a jack-of-all-trades in the world of dressage. He competes, trains, breeds, conducts clinics, and is an “r” judge. Carlie Evans of Southeast Horse Shows, the management company for the Twice as Nice Dressage show, explained why MacMahon was chosen by the show committee as recipient of the Custom Saddlery MVR Award. “Brian was chosen because he is a great supporter of our shows,” she said. “He shows horses himself at all levels including freestyles, he brings students with him who show at all levels, and he has horses that he breeds and has sold competing at the same shows. He’s an all-around positive person in the world of dressage.”

MacMahon usually competes with as many as four horses and coaches five students at shows. At the Twice as Nice Dressage Show 2, his proudest moment was watching his working student, Mickensey Johnson, win all of her classes in only her second recognized show aboard Kalahari, a 15-year-old Warmblood gelding (Beaujolais x Katmandu, Columbus) owned by Eugene Abello and bred by MacMahon.

“I took my first riding lesson 30 something years ago when I got out of college, and that was that,” MacMahon said. “I love the sport. I think that when a horse is truly correct and on your aids, there’s nothing like it.”

MacMahon is based out of his Sword from the Stone Farm in Wellborn, Florida and will be beginning his “R” judge program this summer. Now that the Twice as Nice Dressage Show 2 is over, his upcoming goals are to get his students qualified for regional championships and his young horses qualified for championships, as well.

Endel Ots received the Custom Saddlery MVR Award while competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. He was presented with the award because of his impressive achievements over the past year. Ots became only the second American ever to qualify both a five-year-old horse and a six-year-old horse for the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses in Verden, Germany. Ots qualified Lucky Strike, a German-bred six-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Lord Laurie x Heidi, His Highness) owned by Endel Ots and his father Max Ots, and Samhitas, a German-bred seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sir Donnerhall I x Heidebluete, Abanos), owned by Canadians Gary and Jeannie Vander Ploeg of Pine Ridge Farm. He is continuing his success this winter season in Wellington, Florida, and hopes to once again qualify the horses for the world Young Horse Championship.

Ots is a Custom Saddlery sponsored rider, and competes in the Custom Saddlery Icon Coda model. “I like Custom Saddlery for their customer service,” he said. “They always get things done on time. When you hear you are going to get the saddle, you get it. There are so many saddles to choose from – you can have whatever saddle you want designed however you want it.”

The Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider Award is presented at major horse shows to recognize individuals who go above and beyond in the sport. Custom Saddlery, the Official Saddle of the U.S. Dressage Team through the 2016 Olympic Games, gave both MacMahon and Ots an embroidered Custom Saddlery saddle pad, bag, towel, and ribbon as the newest MVR Award recipients.

Custom Saddlery’s MVR Award is all about quality riders, just as the company’s saddles are centered on top quality craftsmanship and materials. Custom Saddlery provides professional fitting services and manufactures accessories to compliment the saddles, including stirrup leathers, girths, and saddle pads.

For more information about Custom Saddlery, visit or call 1-800-235-3865.

For more information, contact:
Custom Saddlery, Cary Wallace

Lars Petersen Wins Grand Prix Freestyle at Adequan Global Dressage Festival Palm Beach Derby

Photo courtesy of Susan J Stickle.

Wellington, FL (March 10, 2016) — After riders competed under the lights at the Grand Prix Freestyle during the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Everglades Dressage, the title sponsor of the Derby, rewarded first place winner Lars Petersen with the Everglades Dressage Rider Achievement Award. Rose and Bethany Peslar, the mother/daughter duo who own and run Everglades Dressage, were proud to once again sponsor such a significant event in the dressage community, and to reward Petersen for his victory.

Rose and Bethany Peslar have had a tremendous influence on the growth of dressage in Wellington, Florida that dates back to before the Adequan Global Dressage Festival even existed. As soon as the idea for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival was born, the Peslars were quick to step in as founding sponsors of the international winter show series. Since then, they have carried on the tradition of being the title sponsor of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby and presenting the Everglades Dressage Rider Achievement Award throughout each show season.

Endel Ots, a trainer based at Everglades Dressage, explained, “To sponsor the Adequan Global Dressage Festival is extremely important to the Peslars. They are very supportive of all of the riders here, and they will continue to give their sponsorship and support in the future.”

One way that the Peslars show their support is by presenting the Everglades Dressage Rider Achievement Award. This award is given to admirable riders who demonstrate significant achievements in any aspect of dressage. After Petersen’s recent performance in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, it was clear that he well deserved the award.

Petersen, a Danish rider with an impressive resume of international competition, scored a 78.025 percent in the Freestyle with his self-owned Danish bred mare, Mariett. Their closest contender was fellow Danish rider Mikala Gundersen on My Lady with a 75.700 percent.

“It always feels good to win, but this win was especially good because it was after Marriett has been showing for two weeks in a row – which, for all of us, is a lot,” Petersen explained. “But, she was really fresh going in and it was really fun. Everything came together.”

To accomplish this feat, Petersen’s strategy was simple. “She’s just been kept loose and happy, and that’s the most important thing,” he said. When asked about what’s on the horizon for him and Marriett, Petersen’s response was equally simple: “I take it one day at a time.”

For now, he’s perfectly content with his recent accomplishments – including his recognition from Everglades Dressage. Everglades Dressage, in turn, is happy to continue supporting immensely successful riders like Petersen and all riders who have a love for dressage.

At the Palm Beach Derby, Rose and Bethany Peslar were also honored themselves with the Premier Equestrian Award, presented by Premier Equestrian, for their contributions and dedication to the sport. The Peslars are happy to play such a role in the Wellington dressage community, and look forward to continuing to present the Everglades Dressage Rider Achievement Award throughout the remainder of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Bethany Peslar
Everglades Dressage

Al Dunning and Expensive Hobby Inducted into AzQHA Hall of Fame

Photo by Fallow.

Phoenix, AZ (March 1, 2016) – Al Dunning and his late mount Expensive Hobby were inducted into the Arizona Quarter Horse Association (AzQHA)’s Hall of Fame on February 20 for their individual and collective accomplishments in the Quarter Horse industry.

Vita Flex, a leading manufacturer of high-quality, veterinary-tested equine supplements, is proud to congratulate Al Dunning, who is a Vita Flex Victory Team rider. Vita Flex is dedicated to creating supplements that help horses and riders like Dunning continually cross the fine line between good and great.

Dunning’s impressive career includes 45 World Championships and Reserve World Championships through the National Reining Horse Association, National Cutting Horse Association, National Reined Cow Horse Association, and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Dunning was past president of the AzQHA and the Arizona Cutting Horse Association, as well as director at large of the AQHA. In 1996, Dunning was named the AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year.

“I have so many people to thank for helping me to be a success,” Dunning said. “I’ve been blessed with great customers who trust me to treat their horses with respect and get the job done. Then there are once-in-a-lifetime special horses like Expensive Hobby that make your dreams come true!”

Once-in-a-lifetime might be the best way to describe Expensive Hobby, who passed away in 2003. The buckskin Quarter Horse was a four-time AQHA Champion, and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2007. Expensive Hobby and Dunning won the NRHA Open Reining at the AQHA All American Quarter Horse Congress, and Expensive Hobby held AQHA Superiors in reining, working cow horse, and cutting. The famed Quarter Horse is forever eternalized as a Breyer model.

Dunning is proud to accept the honor and is grateful to those around him who helped him achieve such measured success.

“I have been riding most of my life,” Dunning said. “A great family, loyal friends, and amazing horses have blessed me throughout. I wouldn’t change a thing!”

Dunning continues to train and show western performance horses at his ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. With their induction into the AzQHA Hall of Fame, Dunning and Expensive Hobby join other Arizona greats including Doc Bar, John Hoyt, and Rick Johns.

Accomplishments like these demonstrate what it means to be a Vita Flex Victory Team rider. With his many successes, Dunning has proven he knows what it takes to maintain the competitive edge necessary to be leaders in the show and training industries. Vita Flex® equine performance products is something that Dunning always has on hand.

Vita Flex provides riders, trainers, and owners with a variety of high-quality equine products, including antioxidants, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals, and topical solutions to help keep horses in top health, so they can cross the fine line between good and great. Vita Flex’s products are backed by clinical research to ensure horse’s peak performance. For more information about Vita Flex and its line of superior equine products, visit or call (800) 848–2359.

Contact: Katie Stevenson
(602) 281-3872

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde Notch Another Grand Prix Win and Vita Flex Victory Pass Award

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde (Photo courtesy of JRPR).

Wellington, FL (February 19, 2016) – Steffen Peters and Rosamunde, a nine-year-old Rhinelander mare (Rock Forever x First Lady, Fidermark) owned by Akiko Yamazaki’s Four Winds Farms, claimed another impressive victory with a 75.38 percent in the FEI Grand Prix CDI3* at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida. Their performance earned them the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award, which is presented to winning horse and rider pairs six times throughout the 12-week show series.

“She felt great today,” Peters said as he collected his blue ribbon. “She came into this show with some huge results from shows in California. There’s always that bit of pressure there, but she felt great today and probably was just as good as she was in L.A. I thought we had a very clean test. I saw a bunch of 8.5 and 9.0s in the test, which is exciting, but there is always room for improvement.”

Not only did he earn another blue ribbon, but he also won the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award. Vita Flex, a leading producer of equine performance supplements, appreciates Peters’ careful development of his equine partner, and proudly presented the pair with the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award for exceeding the fine line between good and great by winning their class. They received a bucket filled with popular Vita Flex® performance products and an official Vita Flex Victory Pass ribbon.

Peters next plans to work on Rosie’s one-tempis, and hopes to improve her tempo as well as strengthen her fitness level. He knows that developing the young and talented mare requires thoughtful attention. “At the end of the day though, we have to appreciate that they even do the one-tempis,” he said. “This will take a little bit of time, but there’s nothing wrong with a 75 percent for a 9-year-old horse. I’m very proud of her and honored that I get to ride a horse like her.”

Vita Flex is proud to offer cutting-edge supplements and horse care products to aid top competitors like Rosamunde. The company is known for producing high quality products designed to meet customers’ goals. Vita Flex® products include performance products, antioxidants, electrolytes, topical solutions, vitamins, and minerals to help keep equine competitors in top performance shape. Peters is excited to try out the Vita Flex® performance products that he won at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Vita Flex is happy to once again support its equestrian community by sponsoring both the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and Winter Equestrian Festival this year. As part of its sponsorship, the company will award a total of twelve Vita Flex Victory Pass Awards at both show grounds throughout the season.

For more information about Vita Flex®, visit or call (800) 848–2359.

Contact: Katie Stevenson
(800) 848–2359

Ann Romney Honored by Premier Equestrian at 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Ann Romney (Photo courtesy of JRPR).

Wellington, FL (February 8, 2016) – Attendees at the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival Week Three National Horse Show would be hard pressed to find a more deserving recipient of the Premier Equestrian Award than Ann Romney. The wife of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Ann Romney balances a hectic schedule and her equestrian life with grace and enthusiasm – despite also dealing with multiple sclerosis.

This past week, Romney’s zealous attitude, seemingly boundless energy, and sincere love for her horses and the sport of dressage were recognized by Premier Equestrian, a leading provider of dressage arenas and world-class footing. The company presented Romney with a tri-colored Premier Equestrian Award ribbon, an engraved plaque, and the title of “Premier Equestrian.” Awarded each week of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, the Premier Equestrian Award honors competitors who demonstrate exemplary sportsmanship and admirable qualities.

Despite Romney’s upbeat spirit, she has experienced difficulties that many equestrians cannot imagine. Romney turned to equine therapy after being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 1998. She became involved with dressage after finding that the subtle motions of the sport, such as leg squeezes and weight shifts, helped her to gain lasting muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. Since then, she has owned and worked with a number of horses, and is currently competing in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediate II classes with her horses Donatello and Darling. This past week at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Romney placed first with Donatello in the FEI Intermediate II.

“This was the second time I’ve gone down the centerline with Donatello in an Intermediate II class, and he was really, really good,” Romney explained. “I was really pleased. He had great changes and pirouettes. He was a little tense with the passage and piaffe, so he wasn’t as good as usual, but he was still pretty great!”

She added, “Darling is new to me and I am just learning to ride him. Yet he is terrific, and he is my next up and coming horse that I’ll be riding.”

Getting to know her horses can be a bit of a challenge, Romney explained, because her intense schedule means that she is not able to consistently spend time with them. Her political and medical endeavors, including the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, which she launched in 2014, keep her traveling across the U.S. multiple times a week. After receiving the Premier Equestrian Award Friday, Romney said she would be flying to Washington, D.C. for lunch and dinner appointments the following day, then flying to Boston on Sunday for a meeting about her research center’s new partnership with Google.

“We’re rolling out the fact that Google is going to help us with research, and they are going to attach me with all of these instruments and watches that I will wear for months and they will track,” she explained. “We’ll do this with 2,000 MS patients.” The Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases uses a collaborative approach to accelerate treatments, prevention, and cures for five of the world’s most complex neurologic diseases, affecting about 50 million people in the U.S.: multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, and brain tumors.

“Tuesday, I fly back to D.C., where we are hosting an event for the hospital center, and Wednesday I come back here and I have a show the next day. That’s my schedule,” she laughed. “So the fact that I can even do any of this is amazing. I am always like that, in and out – I’m never consistently with my horses, and when I finally get going with them and get connected, then I have to go again. But I love it!”

As an official sponsor of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Premier Equestrian is excited for the opportunity to show its support for the world of dressage. The company offers high-quality and affordable products to dressage riders – including premier dressage arenas, world-class arena footing, revolutionized horse jumps, and accessories. For more information about the presenter of the Premier Equestrian Award, visit or call 1-800-611-6109.

For more information contact:
Heidi Zorn, Premier Equestrian

Piaffe Performance Awards Adult Amateur Grand Prix Rider at Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Lee Burton (left) wins the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, presented by Dr. Cesar Parra (center) and her trainer Patricia Sanchez (right) (Photo courtesy of JRPR).

Wellington, FL (February 8, 2016) – When Lee Burton of Saint Simmons, Georgia traded in her life as an avid golfer to get in back the saddle, she set out on a path toward success. Burton rode western as a child, then dabbled in a little eventing before finding her true passion for dressage. She has risen through the levels and now competes at Grand Prix level dressage.

Burton rides down centerline with Enebro XIV, her 12-year-old PRE gelding. Burton and Enebro recently traveled to the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival specifically for the much-anticipated USPRE week. Amidst the celebration of the Spanish PRE breed, Burton and Enebro successfully competed in the FEI Grand Prix national classes, where they earned the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award. The award recognizes exceptional adult amateurs for their successes in the arena and their contributions to dressage through outstanding sportsmanship and horsemanship. Dr. Cesar Parra, owner and head trainer at Piaffe Performance, presented Burton with a Piaffe Performance neck medal, a tri-color ribbon, and an engraved silver picture frame to hold a lasting memory of her award-winning ride.

Burton was overjoyed to receive the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement award, and thanked Parra and her trainer Patricia Sanchez of Spain. Burton described her start in dressage and the difficulties she experienced. “It was quite an adventure learning. I evented for a couple years and thought, ‘I am going to die,’” laughed Burton. Shortly after switching into the dressage sector, Burton purchased her first PRE stallion in Spain and competed in every level all the way to Grand Prix. She won her USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals all on her PRE stallion and has since had many successes on Enebro.

Parra was happy to present Burton with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award, and commended her on her many accomplishments in the sport of dressage. “I have learned so much from my adult amateur riders about perseverance and commitment,” explained Parra, who has achieved successes himself at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in previous years, and is a Pan American Games Gold Medalist. “Through this award, I hope Piaffe Performance can play a role in encouraging Adult Amateur riders. They are the backbone of our sport.”

In addition to the Adult Amateur Award, Parra and Piaffe Performance sponsor the International Arena Rider Lounge and the Hospitality Tent by the National Arenas at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival show grounds. The Piaffe Performance Rider Lounges provide drinks and snacks for all levels of riders to enjoy as they relax before or after their tests.

Piaffe Performance is based out of Jupiter, Florida and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and is an Official Partner and Sponsor of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Piaffe Performance specializes in selecting, training, and showing, and facilitates the sales of top dressage prospects for riders at every level. For more information on Piaffe Performance, visit

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352

Mark and Katherine Bellissimo Presented with the Global Dressage Visionary Award

Photo courtesy of JRPR.

Wellington, FL (February 2, 2016) – During the third week of competition at the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Carol Cohen presented Wellington’s Mark and Katherine Bellissimo with the Global Dressage Visionary Award. Cohen, who presents the Global Dressage Visionary Award during all CDI weeks of the world-renowned 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, chose to recognize the Bellissimos for not only making world class dressage competition in Wellington a reality, but also for continuing to support the growth of the show series since its inception.

The Bellissimo family – Mark, Katherine, and their four children – first traveled from Boston, MA to Wellington, FL in 2000. Originally, Katherine and their two daughters would come to compete their horses over the weekend, while Mark and the boys would come to escape the harsh Boston winter months. From the beginning, the family could sense that Wellington was more than a winter retreat, and decided to call the town home in 2004.

Mark became increasingly involved in Wellington’s iconic Winter Equestrian Festival, and his significant corporate business background eventually led him to become the majority shareholder in Wellington Equestrian Partners LLC, which was formed in 2006. Wellington Equestrian Partners LLC has grown to manage Equestrian Sport Productions and its Winter Equestrian Festival, Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Tryon International Equestrian Festival, and most recently the Colorado Horse Park.

An equal partner in their multiple business endeavors, Katherine Bellissimo explained, “We have a partnership. There are macro things and micro things, and that is one of the reasons that Mark and I work so well together. We are absolutely a team.”

Cohen, a founding sponsor of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, is an FEI-level dressage competitor and created the Global Visionary Dressage Award to recognize individuals who, like herself, have been instrumental in the growth and promotion of classical dressage in America. She presented Katherine and Mark with an engraved glass Global Visionary Dressage Award trophy to commemorate the occasion.

“We are grateful to Carol for her efforts,” said Katherine Bellissimo as she accepted the Global Dressage Visionary Award. “Carol has been here since the Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s inception and she is also truly a visionary for her community.” The sentiments could not be shared more fully between these three people whose combined dreams have come to a stunningly successful fruition.

Right before recognizing Bellissimos for their great contributions to dressage, Cohen was busy making contributions of her own. She successfully hosted the first Adequan Global Dressage Festival Leadline exhibition, which was a kick-off to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle competition this past Friday night. The leadline class was a shared vision between Cohen and United States Dressage Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, and was an effort to create a pipeline for young riders into the discipline. The seven young participants and their families got to experience the thrill of the International Stadium at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival first hand as they rode their horses and ponies in front of a panel of judges. “Our community needs to foster the future riders of the sport, and my hope is that the leadline class becomes a recognized division in the future,” Cohen said. The event was such a success that there will be three more leadline classes held throughout the rest of the 2016 season; February 26, March 5, and March 18.

Not only is Cohen a passionate advocate of the sport of dressage, she is also active in the local Wellington, Florida community as a licensed Real Estate Agent under the umbrella of Engel & Völkers real estate brokers. Like the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Engel & Völkers’ presence is substantial in the Wellington area as well as throughout the world.

For more information about Carol Cohen and her listings at Engel & Völkers Real Estate in Wellington, please visit To see Carol Cohen award Katherine and Mark Bellissimo in the Global Dressage Visionary Award presentation video, go to

Contact: Carol Cohen

Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Honored with R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award

Jim McNerney, Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. and S Tucker S Johnson,

Wellington, Fla. – January 27, 2016 – Last year, the United States Equestrian Team Foundation announced the creation of the R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award in honor and recognition of its distinguished trustee, Bruce Duchossois. On Jan. 22, Brownlee O. Currey, Jr was presented with the 2016 award during the USET Foundation’s Olympic and Paralympic Games benefit Rockin’ Rio in Wellington, Florida.

The R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award was created in recognition of Duchossois’ leadership, generosity and outstanding character. His like was celebrated last year as the first recipient of the prestigious award. However, the example he set for all of us lives on in others as the award is presented annually to a USET Foundation Trustee who exemplifies exception leadership, philanthropy and character.

For over 30 years Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. has lent his wisdom, passion and philanthropy to the United States Equestrian Team and the USET Foundation. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation and over his 30 years as a Trustee he has served as Vice President, Chairman of the Development and Nominating Committees, and been an important member and advisor on the Investment and Finance Committees.

As an owner, Currey and his wife Agneta had the honor of watching their wonderful mare, “Touch of Class,” ridden by Joe Fargis, win the Individual and Team Gold medals in Show Jumping at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. A true champion, Currey’s distinguished service through excellence in leadership, philanthropy and character has positively impacted the Foundation’s mission of supporting athletes, promoting international excellence and building for the future.

“I’m highly honored because it’s Bruce’s award,” Currey said after receiving the trophy. “It’s a pleasure having known him and to receive this special award.”

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation ( is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
USET Foundation
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386