Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP) announced Saturday that former Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) Secretary General, Michael Stone, has joined the group in developing the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) into a premiere International equestrian destination.
"I am delighted to be given the opportunity to work with WEP in creating a venue and a strategy for PBIEC that will unlock the enormous potential of equestrian sport in the United States", says Stone, a 10-year veteran of FEI who began his equestrian career in his native Ireland with the Equestrian Federation of Ireland 20 years ago.
"Our Partnership is absolutely honored and excited to have a man of Michael's reputation and talents work with our team. His initial effort will be to develop the PBIEC Strategic Plan which is to be delivered in the fall. After that, we are looking forward to developing a long-term relationship to execute the plan under Michael's leadership", said Mark Bellissimo, WEP Managing Partner. "He is a tremendous asset to the development and maintenance of a vital equestrian future for both Wellington and the whole world of equestrian sport."
Stone and Bellissimo will begin immediately working on the strategic plan for PBIEC, which comprises 140 acres that include the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Center that is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival and the National Horse Show and the neighboring old Polo Stadium.
Stone's expertise will influence many of the upcoming decisions and changes necessary to create a world-class international equestrian destination, including plans to:
* Create international-level Grand Prix Jumping, Dressage and other high-performance horse sports on the 57-acre Old Polo Stadium site;
* All aspects of the facility development process;
* Evaluating and executing worldwide media and sponsorship campaigns;
* Evaluating the addition of other disciplines (Cross Country, Driving, Reining, and Vaulting) that do not currently have a home in Wellington, and
* Elevating the quality and attractiveness of events for owners, trainers, exhibitors and spectators while keeping the costs reasonable.
Stone notes, "With the huge success of the recent Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, and the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, the attention on Equestrian sport will be at an all-time high, and the development of the PBIEC will not only benefit from these great events but will help to create a lasting high-performance legacy for the sport in the U.S. and indeed worldwide."
This announcement caps a series of important developments in the future of Wellington's equestrian assets, including the acquisition of the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Center and the Old Polo Stadium as well as strengthening of the WEP Partnership with some of Wellingtons most prominent equestrian families.
Born and raised in Ireland, Michael Stone, 50, is a former International Jumping rider. He also rode Eventing and Dressage at a national level. He was Secretary General of the Equestrian Federation of Ireland from 1987 to 1997. He was the Team Manager of the Irish Team during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 1994 FEI World Equestrian Games in The Hague. He acted in the same position for the Irish Junior and Young Riders Teams from 1993 through 1996. Before he joined the FEI in 1997 in the position of Development Officer, he was the Management Director of his family's horse feed business for five years. In 1998, he became FEI Assistant Secretary General and in 2003 he was appointed to the position of FEI Sports Director and appointed Secretary General in August, 2006
Michael is a keen golfer and plays off a handicap of 16. He also enjoys football, rugby and tennis. Other interests include cinema, cooking and travel.