Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The HSBC FEI World CupTM Qualifier August 6-9

Press Release:

July 31, Mansfield, Ontario -- Wits End Farm in Mansfield Ontario will host the only Canadian stop of the HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing Qualifiers from August 6-9. Top ranked riders from around the world will compete in dressage, jumping and cross-country. The event will also feature a CCI* competition for up and coming riders and horses.

Located near Alliston, Ontario, Wits End Farm is hosting this prestigious equestrian event, the last stop in the 2009 HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing series. Over 2,000 people are expected to attend the four-day competition, which is the last chance for riders to earn points towards qualifying for the HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing Final held August 21-23 in Strzegom, Poland.

“From the beginning Bill McKeen and I had the goal of creating an internationally recognized eventing facility,” said Jo Young, co-owner of Wits End Farm. “The dream is now a reality and we’re absolutely thrilled that the FEI has included us on the international circuit.”

More entries than ever before have been received for this year’s event, including top ranked riders such as Olympic and World Champion Philip Dutton (ranked 11th in the world), Bruce Davidson Jr., from the United States (18th), Boyd Martin from Australia (66th), and Canadian stars Kyle Carter, Carl Slezak (206th) and 2008 Wits End winner Corinne Ashton.

The competition gets underway on Wednesday August 5 with the Canadian Young Event Horse competition. Thursday sees the start of Dressage, which will run through to Friday evening. Saturday is the exciting cross-country day where spectators will see the riders tackle the 4-kilometre course featuring banks, ditches, water and extremely challenging fences! Sunday -- the culmination of the competition -- features show jumping, where riders compete in reverse order of standing. The prize ceremony will take place at approximately 3:30pm. Over $40,000 in prize money will be up for grabs, as well as a host of prizes in-kind.

Global support for the HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing series comes from title sponsor HSBC Bank plc.

"The HSBC FEI World Cup™ is an integral part of our sponsorship," said Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship, HSBC Holdings, plc. "It offers a truly global circuit with the nine qualifying events being held in many of our key markets. Through this partnership we have been able to engage with our customers at a regional and local level. Throughout the qualifying events we have seen some fantastic competition."

Wits End is the first ever Eventing competition to receive support from Sport Canada’s International Hosting Program. Generous support has also been received from dozens of local sponsors.

In addition to the marquis events of dressage, jumping and cross-country, visitors to Wits End will also host a number of other shows and demonstrations, including:
• A Birds of Prey demonstration by Master Falconer Matt Lieberknecht from Wye Marsh (Saturday, August 8th)
• The Hoof Beat Outriders Drill Team, a western precision drill team from Orillia (Sunday, August 9th)
Throughout the competition, visitors to Wits End will also be able to browse through an extensive Trade Fair featuring booths from a wide range of equestrian vendors as well as artists and designers.

Hosted by farm owners Jo Young and Bill McKeen, Wits End is the culmination of countless hours of volunteer effort.

“We’re thrilled to help out with such an important event,” said Tammy Trace, who works on the Site Preparation Committee. “It’s a lot of fun and, at the end of the day, it helps grow the sport here in Canada.”

Admission for the three days is free with a $12.00 charge (cash only) for parking including shuttle to the eventing grounds. Note: There is no ATM on site. Cash is also required for on-site food and beverages, except for VIP pass holders.

Parking for Wits End is located off the 7th Concession of Mulmur North of Highway 89. Please note the road will be closed for all but local and Wits End traffic.

: Jo Young and Bill McKeen are both International Officials in the sport of Eventing. They began Wits End Farm in 2002 with the goal of becoming an internationally recognized facility for eventing. In 2004 they held the inaugural Wits End Horse Trials, which featured 16 entrants. In 2009, Wits End is now the only Canadian stop on the HSBC FEI World CupTM Qualifiers. For more information, see www.witsendhorsetrials.ca.

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