Wellington, FL - The Ridge at Wellington's Turf Tour wrapped up with their series finale held on Friday, March 27. The International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) hosted a wonderful catered brunch for the riders and staff, while top international competitors took their turn on a challenging course out on the turf. Conor Swail walked away with the day's victory and the leading rider prize for the entire 12 weeks of competition.
Nona Garson and George D'Ambrosio are already planning for next year's season. The riders in attendance spoke highly of the turf tour again and again, which spent a week each at the Wanderer's Club, Wolfstone Farm, and Tonkawa Farm, with the rest of the weeks split between The Ridge Farm and IPC.
Kevin Babington attended the earlier stops during the turf tour, using the experience as a springboard for his mounts. He spoke very highly of the series.
"I really like this to get the circuit up and running. Both courses had a nice flow to them. They were very inviting, which is nice because it's our first time on grass in a long time. I was very pleased with all of my horses; I thought they all liked it and handled it well. A couple of them are spooky, so it's a good venue to get the spook out."
Alex Granato was very successful during the turf tour, making it a point to regularly attend the shows with at least one mount.
"Nona and George have done a such a nice job producing it. It works well to have young horses to bring along, young riders to bring along and just a little different atmosphere than Wellington every week. It's a fun venue on grass. Of course it's all over the area, so it's great to see different peoples' farms and jump at different venues."
Andrew Welles brought his own Quickly 3 to the Turf Tour and was highly complimentary of IPC.
"It's a fantastic facility and a great opportunity to do something different with our horses. I think it's fantastic that we get to come and jump on grass, not just grass but a facility like IPC is just phenomenal for the horses."
Many of the most competitive riders in the country attended stops during the Turf Tour, showing their support for the return to jumping on turf with excellent show management. Among those, McLain Ward often brought a student with a horse or had a horse of his own that he was developing.
Ward explained. "The courses were very good, they were nicely presented, and the jumps were beautiful. It is really nice for the horses; it is a great experience for them."
Ward continued, "I think it is nice to have options. This series is great for producing a young horse or rider, it proves very beneficial."
Sharn Wordley was another rider who used The Turf Tour as an option to the other hectic horse show. He was enthusiastic in his support for the Turf Tour.
"I like the fact that we can get the horses out. You know, we're in Florida and at the Winter Equestrian Festival for months on end; it's good to get the horses away and to a different location. It's good money, too! I mean $15,000 for a 1.40m class! You have to jump with 100 in it for $6,000 at other shows; you get to jump here for $15,000 with 35 in it so the odds are a lot better. And also, if someone's putting on an event, I like to support it if I can."
Brianne Goutal attended several of the dates, and was appreciative of the reprieve from the main show grounds.
"All of us riders are really grateful to have The Ridge as an option to come and jump away from the show grounds-it is a nice change of pace and atmosphere. It is always really fun to jump on grass. Nona [Garson] and George [D'Ambrosio] do an amazing job maintaining everything. The management really shows."
Anne Kursinski, one of the most successful show jumpers in the United States, exemplifies many of the traits from her mentor, George Morris, including an fastidious attention to detail and an appreciation for excellence. She could hardly keep her enthusiasm contained about coming to The Ridge.
"I think these shows are great. It's so nice to have something different. I think WEF is great, yet both are totally different. To be able to bring the horses here for this experience, as well as for the kids, is perfect to familiarize them with jumping on the grass and going to a new venue. The experience is fantastic. The footing is excellent, the jumps are exceptional, and the courses are ideal. I'm so thankful that George [D'Ambrosio] and Nona [Garson] have created this."
Kursinski continued, "I hope for them that they do get good sponsorship, because this should be wonderfully sponsored. Growing up we learned how to ride on turf-you go to Spruce Meadows, and you go to a lot of big shows in Europe, they all still have grass. I think it's a great asset, that everybody learns how to ride on grass, and I think the horses love it. I think it's a wonderful opportunity for everybody."
With such incredible rave reviews from so many within the sport of show jumping, it's clear to see why The Ridge at Wellington's Turf Tour saw such great success this year. Next year's dates are sure to be bigger and better than ever, with unparalleled hospitality and outstanding venues. Garson and D'Ambrosio are proud to continue the tradition of an exceptional horse show where the focus is on the development of the horse and rider. Be sure to join them next circuit for a revitalizing breath of fresh air during the Turf Tour, so that you too can be among the riders raving about the difference.
The Ridge at Riverview continues this tradition of excellence, with an upcoming show circuit with world-class facilities, conveniently located an hour from NYC and Philadelphia.