As the inaugural year of the Global Dressage Festival nears, dirt is moving and structures are going up on the new home of the Festival. Prize Lists for the shows are now posted on the Festival's website and entries have started. In addition to the horse show grounds, a fully appointed hospitality and retail complex, known as the Equestrian Village, is proposed at the same location to compliment the new showgrounds and serve as a gateway to the Equestrian Zone in Wellington, which is also home to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for Hunters and Show Jumping, and the International Polo Club of Palm Beach. A recent war of words between a local lobbying group, funded by four wealthy landowners who oppose the development, and Olympian Robert Dover brought national attention to the controversy and issues of the impact on local communities of the growth of the Equestrian Industry.
At a meeting before the Equestrian Preserve Committee in Wellington last night, this issue was put to rest definitively before the Wellington equestrian community. Dressage enthusiasts showed up in force to voice their support for the new complex in its entirety, citing the need for a resort condo-hotel and shopping/dining complex to help attract sponsors and build the sport of dressage to levels currently seen in Europe. Reasoned arguments for both sides were presented but in the end, the Committee--a representative body of the Equestrian zone and an important first step in final approvals--gave their unanimous support to the Equestrian Village and Global Dressage Festival Showgrounds development as proposed.
Additional meetings will take place at the beginning of the year before the Village of Wellington, but all involved see this first step as the most important in demonstrating the passion and commitment of the Wellington Equestrian Partners and the united Dressage community to this world-class project.
For more information see www.globaldressagefestival.com.