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The Wellington Equestrian Alliance Announces The $25,000 Wellington Equus Medal

Showdown in Wellington: some of the most famous riders in the U.S. will square off against one another at 7pm on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 in The Internationale Arena at The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. The prize: a $25,000 purse, tack room curtains, coolers and the maintenance of one’s delicate ego. The challenge: a 3’6” USAEq Medal Class judged on a rider’s equitation abilities by a jury of his/her peers.

The brainchild of former U.S. Olympic team member Mason Phelps, Jr. and partner Beverly Lake Wilkes, The Equus Medal will be run in accordance with USA Equestrian Hunt Seat Medal Rules. The emphasis will be on the rider, rather than the horse --- a rider must display a perfect position in the saddle on the flat and over fences, as well as a mastery of his/her horse’s movements. For example, riders may be required by the judges to ride without stirrups or to jump course on a competitor’s horse.

To be eligible to enter The Equus Medal, a rider must have competed for the U.S. internationally in a CSIO event. The United States Equestrian Team, based in Gladstone, New Jersey, maintains a list of the 89 eligible riders, and that list will be published shortly in The Chronicle of the Horse. The list includes many well-known names and all former Olympians, such as Margie Goldstein-Engle, George Morris, Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, Michael Matz, Rodney Jenkins, Leslie Burr Howard, Katie Monahan Prudent and Molly Ashe, to name but a few. With no rider entry fee and a very generous purse, Phelps and Wilkes have the welcome concern of there being too many riders!

The real fun will be generated by the judges who are genuinely the riders’ peers: Don Stewart, Susie Schoellkopf, Ralph Caristo, Ellen Lordi and Ronnie Beard can be expected to put the competitors through their paces. The judges’ discretion as to the complexity of the equitation tests asked of the riders will most certainly create a buzz!

While the class is going on, The Jockey Club will be filled to overflowing with spectators who paid up to $3,500 for a ringside table.

The Equus Medal is being produced by Gene Mische and Stadium Jumping, Inc. The Wellington Equestrian Alliance, a lobbying group charged with protecting the equestrian community in Wellington, is the beneficiary of the evening.

For more information, please contact Mason Phelps, Jr. or Beverly Lake Wilkes at (561) 753-3389 or at SJIPressOffice@aol.com.

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