Wellington, FL – April 5, 2012 – The thrilling and highly anticipated Dressage under the Stars Finals took place last night at Polo West in Wellington, FL. It was Bent Jensen who exhibited the stunning Liberty Light to the perfect score and emerged victorious with his rendition of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.” The beautiful event drew out large crowds, feisty judges and a record number of sponsors.
The night began in a spectacular fashion with both horses and riders decked out in costumes. The music filled the night as top dressage riders vied for the prestigious honor of being named the Dressage under the Stars Grand Champion. Some may remember that only a few short weeks ago, Bent Jensen aboard Heather Boo’s Liberty Light made quite a spectacle of himself as he danced his way to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” and into the audience and judges’ hearts. The crowd was blown away by his costume choice and especially his ‘wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.’ It came as no surprise than he was able to pull it off yet again.
The 13-year-old Liberty Light is no newcomer to the freestyle fanfare. Jensen has worked with the brilliant mount since he was a five-year-old, and they have grown to know each other very well. Jensen’s freestyle was choreographed from watching different YouTube videos, apparently effective since his freestyle brought the crowd to their feet for the second time in a month’s period.
“He was just as good as in the qualifier, and I was so excited to win. I think that it was a very competitive group of riders, but I am obviously pleased with the outcome because I have a long history with this horse I did a lot of YouTube research,” laughed Jensen.
Last week’s final qualifier, Sarah Chatfield once again took high scores aboard her mount Pattent. The talented duo also has won the Heidelberg Cup trophy for their high score in the Prix St. George’s in 2009, the Intermediaire II Regional Championship for Region 8 in 2001, and Pattent was featured on the cover of Dressage Today. Last night, Chatfield and Pattent took home the second place prize for their freestyle set to the sounds of Spanish guitar. The 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood performed as Chatfield’s mysterious mount, bedecked with roses intertwined within his mane.
The third place honors were awarded to Susanne Hamilton, a German native who now hails from Maine, and the beautiful grey, Lord Locksley. The dazzling duo performed to a techno rendition of four different songs, an idea inspired by Ruth Hogan Poulson. Client Celeste Healey put together the entire freestyle, and Hamilton impressed the panel of judges with the exciting music and her own choreographed routine while showcasing the costume designed by rated dressage judge Willette Brown.
Event organizer and media personality Steve Williams was thrilled with the generosity of sponsors for the 2012 Dressage under the Stars competition. Horze held the Title Sponsorship of the Finale and donated and additional $3,000 worth of merchandise for riders and audience members alike. They recently launched their web site http://www.horze.com in the United States-serving as the largest equine supply company in the world with availability in over 40 countries. As the owner/operator of three of their own factories, Horze is one of the few companies that has full control over the manufacturing of their products. This efficiency enables Horze to provide high quality products at a low price, making them the European brand that everyone can afford.
HorseGirlTV was the series sponsor, and for the finale they left no stone unturned as they went above and beyond to reward the participants for their amazing efforts throughout the duration of the competition. For the top three riders HorseGirlTV donated Back on Track Therapy Mesh Sheet, SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program Paste, two session gift certificates for Magna-Wave Therapy. The remaining riders as well as the judges were presented with gift bags including a variety of gift certificates, equestrian products and samples, and a travel mug.
HorseGirlTV is an USEF award-winning, forward-thinking online series focusing on the positive aspects of the equine industry. The series is hosted by life-long equestrian, Angelea Kelly Walkup. Walkup has not only ridden and trained but she has successfully competed in Dressage through the Grand Prix levels, earning both her USDF Silver and Gold Medals. Walkup now is focusing her energies on maximizing the still emerging world of new media for horse lovers. Tune in and tack up with HorseGirlTV at http://horsegirltv.com.
During the eleventh hour, Mason Phelps, Jr. stepped forward as a sponsor to ensure that all prize monies would be paid out to the competitors. Due to Phelps’ generosity, the event was able to proceed according to plan. Williams, who inherited the event last year, has continued to keep the event afloat with the hopes of bringing in spectators from both the equestrian and non-equestrian communities. It has been an increasingly daunting task-first with the change of venue and the pressing issue of the finances. Phelps acted as a hero, saving the competition and hoping to see it continue for many more years to come. The new venue, Polo West, proved perfect for the event with nothing but compliments coming from the riders, judges and crowd. Glenn Straub and Tara Lordi put an abundance of effort into making the event a true success, and Williams admitted that he could not be more grateful for everything they have done.
The judging last night proved to be more intense than the previous qualifying rounds. The judges were trying to balance the scores between the riders-showing concern that keeping scores too high might make calculating a winner too difficult. The words were meant to provide constructive criticism for future freestyle events; however, the judges admitted that in retrospect, their words might have been slightly harsher than necessary.
“On behalf of the judging panel, I would just like to extend our apologies to the exhibitors and audience members who took offense to the panel’s comments,” remarked Phelps. “We can see how our commentary lacked the ebullient undercurrent that has been a part of past Wednesday’s, but we assure you that it was not meant to be distasteful. We greatly appreciate the never-ending effort of each competitor and the support of the spectators and sponsors.”
After the first ride, Williams was weighing the idea of discussing the intensity level with the judges, but felt that it would make the playing field uneven for the continuation of the event. Similar to that of Dancing with the Stars or American Idol, there is usually one judge to lessen the impact of the criticism, but in this situation there was no buffer.
“I am disappointed that the judging was at an intensity level, not in keeping with the light-heartedness of the series. While I would have liked to redirect the judges efforts, it would not have been fair to the do so while competition was already underway. I have always expressed my appreciation for the riders that come out and I continue to be grateful for their efforts, and putting their talent out there.”
A special thanks goes out Polo West and their continued support. This newly established Wellington complex is a fun family entertainment venue, committed to entertaining the equestrian and non-equestrian communities.
Dressage under the Stars offers an extremely special opportunity for the community giving the public a fun and easy format to understand. The series was originally designed to augment the top caliber International Dressage competitions throughout Wellington, and allow for Dressage to take “center stage” under the lights. Last night’s event marks the final event in the Dressage under the Stars series for the fourth season. Plan to mark your calendar for next season, as exciting things are in the works for the future of this event.
2470 Greenview Cove Drive
Wellington, FL 33414
Media Contact: Mason Phelps
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386