Wellington, Fla. – March 14, 2018 – The jog inspection at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) was bustling with activity on Wednesday morning as over 140 horse-and-rider combinations made their way down the track. In addition to the CDI taking place, featuring a CDI 1*, 3* and 4*, the Florida International Youth Championships are hosting youth from all over the world. Youth riders will compete in the FEI Children’s, Pony, Junior, Young Rider and Under-25 divisions.
Canadian U-25 rider Tanya Strasser-Shostak has been coming to Florida to compete for years, and was able to take part in the Inaugural Florida International Youth Championships in 2014.
“I’ve been coming to Florida since I was 14,” Strasser-Shostak explained. “I got to participate in the inaugural year of the youth championships and I actually won that year. I started by doing the Young Riders with Action Tyme and then moved into the U-25 with him. This year I’m going to be taking Renaissance Tyme, so it’s a bit of a step up with a different horse. It’s a wonderful competition that they have, and it sets you up nicely for the Nations Cup.
“I’ve really been trying to get as reliable and consistent as I can, while getting used to my new horse,” Strasser-Shostak continued. “My goal for the season was to do the Nations Cup, so I’m happy I’ll get to be a part of that for Canada. Heading into the summer we’ll continue in the U-25 division and try for Devon. I’m really lucky to have this horse – he loves to be brushed and he’s happy to have you around him. I’m just really lucky.”
The Florida International Youth Championships will see riders from all over North America as well as Europe competing this weekend, and some youth riders are stepping into the CDI ring for the first time. Nicolas Beck from Switzerland will be competing his mare Gallod Welsh Thyme in the Pony division.
“This is my first real show here. I went to a practice show, but this is definitely my first CDI,” Beck explained. “I’m very nervous, but it’s going very well being here and we’re making tons of progress. I came here from Switzerland to train with Betsy Steiner. We’ve really been working on the tests with the pony, trying to get her to perform them at the best of her ability.
“I have to go back home in about a month,” Beck continued. “I’ll continue to train and get the pony going as well as we can. She’s very kind, energetic and likes to show off. She loves to eat everything — there’s nothing she doesn’t like.”
The Championships kick off Wednesday afternoon with the start of the U-25 division at 4:50 p.m., and they will continue all weekend, concluding with the freestyles for all divisions on Sunday, with award ceremonies following.