October 2016 - No Go

USEF cancels this month’s California Festival Of Champions.

West Coasters were disappointed to learn that the USEF cancelled the phase of the national dressage Festival of Champions that was set to take place at the Paso Robles Horse Park this month.

Here is the association’s explanation, issued Sept. 9:

“The United States Equestrian Federation regrets to announce the cancellation of the 2016 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, USEF Grand Prix and Intermediaire I National Championships. Slated to run Oct. 12-16, 2016 in Paso Robles, Calif., the USEF High Performance Dressage Committee made the difficult decision to cancel the event following a series of challenges and logistical hurdles.

“In 2016, U.S. dressage marked numerous international successes including winning the team bronze medal at the Rio Olympic Games and clinching the inaugural FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage series title. Athlete-and-horse combinations involved in these achievements will be enjoying some much deserved down time this fall. As a result, there would not be an adequate number of qualified combinations to make a championship level competition at the Festival of Champions. Additionally, a change in venue earlier this summer resulted in a significant increase in financial obligations for the USEF that had not originally been budgeted for.

The USEF is grateful for the support and assistance from the organizers and athletes throughout this process.”

Dressage organizer Lisa Blaufuss of Crackerjack Productions was among those working hard, as the apprentice manager, to make the Festival come together. It was originally scheduled to take place at Epona Farms, and complications arose when that venue didn’t pan out. “We enjoyed working closely with the USEF to create a special show for the championships,” Lisa posted on her Facebook page. “Unfortunately, there were just too many hurdles to get over.”

At presstime, bids were being solicited to host the 2017-2019 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, which will encompass the USEF Grand Prix, Intermediaire I, and Brentina Cup Dressage National Championships.