New West Coast CDIs Step Up

Feb 5, 2020 - 8:38 AM

With the Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival discontinued after two years, West Coast dressage riders in need of CDIs won’t be left hanging in 2020—two new shows, the Pacific Coast CDI and the Desert Dressage CDI-W, have stepped up to host international competitions.

The Pacific Coast CDI came to life via Barbara Biernat, a tack store owner and show organizer from California.

The first date on March 5-8 will run a CDI3* and national show at Galway Downs in Temecula, California. It was originally scheduled as a boutique CDI at El Campeon Farms in Thousand Oaks, California, but when Biernet started getting requests to add a national show, a change of venue was necessary.

The second date will be a CDI-W on Nov 12-15 at Galway Downs.

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Galway Downs will host two CDIs in 2020. Lindsay Berreth Photo

“All of a sudden all these [AWCDF] dates were gone, and there was a big void. If somebody doesn’t get up and do something, we’ll lose even more shows,” said Biernat. “I talked to two other people who are more in the background, and I talked to some riders and some of the bigger sponsors, and my goal was to run it very transparent as far as budget goes. It’s kind of last minute; we don’t have as much time to plan it.”

Biernat is bringing in East Coast show manager Debra Reinhardt to help.

“The main problem in California is that we just don’t have the population Florida has. We will never be Florida, and I think we just have to understand our position. With close communication with the riders and the community, we can do the right thing, put the right shows [on the calendar.] Riders are coming back from Florida in time to do the March one, which is great,” said Biernat. “Everybody’s excited about it. It’s really difficult to find some sort of balance to Florida, which is what everybody’s scared of. This year there’s an even bigger contingent of California riders in Florida, and we lose all of our trainers. First they were gone a month, then three months, then four months. That’s a problem. Once the trainers go, the riders go, the amateurs go, and then we have a real problem. We’re really trying to keep things going. It’s really important that we have the support of the community.”

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The Desert International Horse Park. Laura Lemon Photo

The Desert Dressage CDI-W will take place in Thermal, California.

Formerly home to the HITS Desert Circuit, the facility is now known as the Desert International Horse Park. It came under new ownership in August 2019 when four West Coast equestrian families came together to acquire the property.

“We are thrilled to welcome dressage riders to Desert International Horse Park and to have the opportunity to host our first FEI dressage event combined with a World Cup Qualifier,” said Steve Hankin, president and CEO of DIHP. “We have been hard at work improving our horse park. We believe dressage riders will really enjoy the experience here.”

The show will offer other CDI levels and a national show from Nov. 19-22—the first time dressage has been hosted at the facility, which is currently running a hunter/jumper circuit.

Thomas Baur and Monica Fitzgerald will take the helm. Baur is the current sports director of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (Florida) and has served as the discipline manager of dressage and para dressage at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (North Carolina) and the event director of the FEI World Cup Final (Nebraska) in 2017. Fitzgerald is the competition manager at AGDF.

“I’m looking forward to organizing my first CDI in California,” said Baur. “There are a number of dedicated and talented riders and horses on the West Coast who require good competitions to continue to grow the sport. They have made a huge effort to make significant improvements to the facility. My main goal is to offer a well run show that meets the needs of horses, riders, owners and grooms and provide the best atmosphere and conditions possible.”

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