Global Dressage Festival Grounds Take Shape

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A panoramic vew of the Global Dressage Festival show grounds after less than one month of fulltime construction. Six weeks remain before the first competition is scheduled. © 2011 Ken Braddck/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Dec. 26–Construction of the Global Dressage Festival grounds incorporating a revamped design to make it more “initimate” and friendlier for both participants and spectators is well along with six weeks to go before the first competition.

The bases for four oversized outdoor arenas are near completion while a mountain of the surface that is a mix of sand, felt and fiber grows higher in readiness for when there is less dust to taint the iconic coral-colored footing.

Bulldozer building a mountain of footing as truck hauls in sand to be mixed with felt and fiber. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The first of two blocks, each containing 96 permanent stables, is nearing completion. Foundations for the second block have been completed

Another two blocks to be constructed in 2012 will provide a total of almost 400 permanent stalls.

The first stable block of 96 stalls nearing completion. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

A feature of the GDF grounds will be the covered arena which will be the largest in Florida and one of the largest in North America. The so-called “footers” have been readied to anchor steel beams holding up the roof that will cover an area large enough for three full size (20 by 60 meters) dressage arenas .

Crews working after sunset on the foundations of the giant covered arena at the Global Dressage Festival grounds. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

An unannounced new feature of the grounds is a raised spectator deck in the middle that provides a view of all arenas and the stable area. The idea is to offer refreshments and some vendors, but mainly to enable spectators to easily view everything.

Raised spectator deck in the heart of the Global Dressage Festival grounds that provides an uninterrupted view of the outdoor arenas. To the right, marked by palm trees and the outhouse, portapotty, depending on where in the world you live, will be the show office. 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

For longtime residents or visitors to Wellington, a landmark was the giant scoreboard that loomed over the polo fields where Prince Charles watched by his then bride, Princess Diana, played. The polo fields are no more, replaced instead by the Global Dressage Festival grounds and a grass jumper derby field that are part of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Polo scoreboard no more. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com