By Taylor Neuman
Wellington, Florida, a western suburb of West Palm Beach, is known as a quiet city seven months of the year.
But starting in mid November, Wellington becomes a hot spot for the equestrian world.
People from all over the world come for the unique Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and other equestrian happenings.
WEF is known for being the longest running horse show in the world; it lasts for a staggering 12 weeks.
Wellington’s equestrian events also cater to people of all ages and levels from little children to riders well into their 80’s and from amateurs to professionals.
These equestrian events include hunters, polo matches and children’s pony classes which you would be hard pressed to find anywhere in Europe.
“WEF means home, but it also means WEF,” Arianna Anglesey a WEF participant told RISE NEWS. “We travel for 7 months out of the year all throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, which is an awesome experience. Come November and we all head homeward bound and I know for the next 5 months I get to be with my family and continue working which is something I love.”
Wellington has a population of around 61,000 people, but it swells in size during the equestrian season.
Wellington attracts the crème de la crème of the equestrian world. WEF offers the most world ranking classes in the United States and the best courses designed by world known designers.
“By far my favorite part of WEF is Saturday nights, Grand Prix nights,” Anglesey said.” It’s one thing to be a spectator; it is completely different to be a part of it. This class is the biggest of the week. You compete against not only the best, but the up and coming. Your blood is pumping, your adrenaline is rushing. You take a lot of pride in not only the appearance of your horse but their health as well.”
Each Saturday night a different company will sponsor the event whether it’s for charity or a money prize.
For example, one of the upcoming Saturday night showcases is being sponsored by Fidelity Investments and the cash prize is $380,000 for the winner.
Wellington is uniquely placed to serve equestrian aficionados from around the world; it is located relatively close to three international airports. There are only a handful of airports in the U.S. that allow horses to be flown in and out; but three in South Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach) do.
This makes Wellington an ideal location for the hordes of horse lovers who flock to this prestigious area every year. Wellington also has a protected equestrian preserve, horse crossing signs, and of course you can’t beat the winter weather.
Wellington seems well positioned to be the Equestrian Headquarters of the World for years to come.
Cover Photo Credit: Julia Rubinic/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)