Marina Azevedo and Mauricio Garcia Bring Their Talents to the Sarasota Winter Classic 

Photo © Jana Bannan

With less than two weeks left until the kickoff of the 2024 Sarasota Winter Classic, the final touches are being put on TerraNova Equestrian Center as it gets set to house its first participants of 2024. Featuring a slew of highly-anticipated money classes, increased prize money in the junior and amateur divisions, two weeks of national hunter derbies, and USHJA green hunter and outreach classes, the series is set to have something for every age and level of rider. 

In addition to increased visibility and importance of the junior/amateur divisions, the show is excited to announce the addition of TWO top course designers for the Grand Prix ring. Week I will play host to Level 4 show jumping course designer Marina Azevedo, who recently made headlines as the first female jumping course designer to design at the Pan American Games. She boasts the title of being one of only 30 course designers in the world with the Level 4 certification and the only woman at that level currently active. Mauricio Garcia will return to the Sarasota Winter Classic for the second year headlining the show jumping design for the second week of competition. 

Photo © Eye Was Here Photography

Having worked with the likes of the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix course designer Guilherme Jorge and having designed at the Pan American Games himself, Garcia brings a lifetime of knowledge to the arena as both a designer and a rider himself. From Azevedo, competitors can expect a rich knowledge of who will be taking on each course and a desire to continuously improve on her craft. Having been a lifelong competitor herself until she became a mother, Azevedo knows what she would look for in a course, but is constantly challenging herself to learn and grow more among some of the world’s most revered designers. 

While Azevedo and Garcia’s skills are most typically reserved for heavy-hitting international fields, the Sarasota Winter Classic is delighted to have their talents onboard to improve upon its offerings for junior and amateur competitors during the fifth year. 

Photo © Jana Bannan

TerraNova Equestrian Center, which held its first event in 2021, is a family-run operation. The owners have been heavily involved in the creation of the grounds as well as the day-to-day operations with a goal to build a show park that appealed to everyone. The facility now boasts six arenas equipped with GGT footing, a cross country course, and state-of-the-art, permanent stabling is available for all horses featuring 12×12 stalls with stall mattress systems. With horse comfort well taken care of, the creators of the equestrian center have also added the comforts of home for every family member. Featuring a deluxe VIP pavilion and viewing area for spectators, Tiny Town for the kids, and a fully-equipped dog park for additional four-legged friends, your family and guests are sure to enjoy the stay as much as your equine partner. 

The Sarasota Winter Classic, formerly known as the AIR Show Jumping Winter Classic has strived to achieve a boutique, exhibitor-focused feel not found at most large-scale competition venues. Throughout the years that the show has grown, the focus has consistently shifted to emphasize the importance of the junior and amateur athletes that make up a vast majority of the sport. Although the event will still host its grand prix and open jumper classes, the biggest change this year will come with the featured junior/amateur prix taking center stage during the previously scheduled grand prix time. Each week’s grand prix will be held on Friday afternoon to leave room for the featured Junior/Amateur Prix on Saturday morning. Hunter riders can look forward to a large offering of classics, Green hunter incentives and challenges, a weekly 2’6” outreach derby, and of course a weekly USHJA National Hunter Derby that features a Jr/Am bonus for additional prize money. 

Photo © Jana Bannan

Stall reservations and entry forms are now available and stabling will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. TerraNova Equestrian Center features two immaculate, recently complete barns offering a total of 250 stalls, and an additional 250 tent stalls will be available for accommodations once the barns have filled. Potential Exhibitors should book stabling early to secure a spot in the facility’s state-of-the-art accommodations. For additional information or inquiries, please visit www.sarasotawinterclassic.com. For VIP ticket purchases, please click here.