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Photo Credit: Representatives of the United States Equestrian Federation and riders meet with Stadium Jumping officials and project personnel at the Internationale Arena at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL. This photo may only be used

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USEF Committee, Riders Pleased with SJI Internationale Arena Resurfacing Project Progress

Written by: Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG) http://www.stadiumjumping.com/sj/index.cfm
Release Date: 2007-10-23

Wellington, FL - October 23, 2007 - With the 124th Annual National Horse Show rapidly approaching and the 2008 Winter Equestrian Festival not far behind, Stadium Jumping’s ambitious project of resurfacing the Internationale Arena got a vote of confidence today from a select group from the United States Equestrian Federation.

The USEF’s Director of Show Jumping, Sally Ike, along with Allen Rheinheimer, were appointed by USEF CEO John Long to keep tabs on and to oversee this important project on behalf of the Federation. They were joined by the nominated rider representatives, Margie Engle and Candice King. Also attending today’s meeting were observers Conrad Homfeld and Dr. Steve Soule.

The group met with Stadium Jumping’s CEO Gene Mische, and National Horse Show manager Michael Morrissey at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club’s Internationale Arena on Monday.

The Internationale Arena project began earlier this year with the removal of hundreds of tons of old material. Then, under the direction of David Steffee of Steffee Surfaces, a massive drainage system was installed and the famed arena was completely resurfaced and replanted.

Today was the first chance for a number of those attending to view the progress and then ask questions of Steffee and of Mische and Morrissey.

“The point of this meeting was that the Federation cares very much about the welfare of the horse. There were concerns here last year about the footing and the Federation felt they needed to address those concerns,” said Sally Ike. “So, under John Long’s appointment, Allen and I were charged with overseeing this. The riders nominated Margie Engle and Candice King as their representatives. The riders also wanted Conrad Holmfeld to attend as an observer, and Dr. Steve Soule is also here as an observer.”

“I was pleasantly surprised today,” said Ike. “I think it’s going to be fine. There are some bare spots here and there, but overall, I think the progress is good. The thing that I found interesting is that the people who haven’t been back here for a few weeks and who saw the field today said the progress is quite remarkable.”

“Everyone acknowledges that it’s a new field, and we’re moving into uncharted territory, and it’s important to keep tabs on it,” Ike said.

“It still has some growing to do, but I’m optimistic that this will work just fine,” said Allen Rheinheimer.

“It still has a way to go, but it feels great,” said ten-time AGA Rider of the Year Margie Engle. “It’s got some spots that need work and they’re going to be doing some tweaking to improve those places. But, all in all, it looks like they’re working hard towards a very positive outcome.”

“This field, right now, is a great improvement over what we’ve had to work with over the last couple of years. I’m optimistic that it will improve even more,” said Dr. Steve Soule.

Bruce Carter’s SuperTurf of Indiantown, Florida, is one of the few licensed growers of the Celebration grass and supplied the grass for this project. He was there to assess the situation and to answer questions and said he was thrilled with the progress of this very large growing project that began on August 3rd. “Incredible. It’s grown in really fast and the roots are very deep already,” he said. “We’ve put this on a lot of polo fields, a lot of golf courses and on a lot of ball fields, but this certainly is the biggest show jumping project we’ve ever tackled and I’m very impressed so far.” Carter has supplied the same turf for the Gulfstream Race Track turf course, the Vinery Stables and the new Bink’s Forest Golf Course.

Clay Sheffield of AllPro Land Services in Wellington is responsible for the actual planting. “I’m extremely happy. The field has shown amazing progress in a very short time. It’s got some bare spots, but that’s to be expected. We’re working on those. We’ll probably go with a little less water and some additional sulfur additives to fix those up.”

“We’re going to get the same group together again on the 15th of November to do an actual footing test,” said Ike. “Then at the end of November, we’ll get together again on the Sunday night of the National Horse Show, or on Monday morning. So, it’s just going to be an on-going process of monitoring the situation and keeping an eye on the progress.”

“Last year, we scrambled,” said Keith Bollotte, who along with David Steffee, has worked on the project since day one. “Everyone thought they had the answer but nobody had the exact answer. This was the right answer. I’m very happy with where we are today with this field.”

Mische said, following today’s get together, “A lot of people have worked very hard to try to bring this arena back to the exacting standards that equestrians expect from Stadium Jumping. I was very happy to have this group of knowledgeable equestrians validate their hard work,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do, we know that. But, because of the collective effort of this team, we’ve certainly moved well beyond where we were last year.”

Photo Credit: Representatives of the United States Equestrian Federation and riders meet with Stadium Jumping officials and project personnel at the Internationale Arena at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL. Photo ©2007 Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com. This photo may only be used in relation to this press release.

 

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