New Global Dressage Festival Show Grounds Begin Construction at Wellington’s International Polo Club
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 31, 2018–New show grounds for the Global Dressage Festival are under construction at the International Polo Club in Wellington and are expected to be completed in time for the 2018 winter circuit of 12 weeks, including seven international competitions
The new show grounds are planned as a major upgrade from the current Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex that is rated among the best in the world for dressage. The Global circuit has been so successful that it has outgrown the current facility, as have jumper and hunter competitions at the main Winter Equestrian Festival show grounds.
Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s WEF and GDF grounds as well as the polio grounds are owned and operated by groups of investors headed up by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo who also are major owners and managers of the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina that will host the World Equestrian Games in September.
The new Global facility will be the third complex within the Palm Beach center and was begun even as the focus was on Tryon that will host the international disciplines of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para equestrian for the showcase world championships held once every four years.
The Global grounds at IPC are being built on what used to be Polo Field No. 2, behind the complex of club houses and permanent multi-level spectator stand around the main polo field that hosts the United States Open as the finale of four months of polo tournaments.
Plans submitted for the new dressage stadium provide for five arenas and 624 permanent stables, three times more than the current stabling, on the polo/show horse complex covering more than 88 acres (35.6 Ha.).
Centered around a stadium for 3,000 spectators and a VIP pavilion, the new facility is adjacent to the existing main polo stadium with its own spectator grand stand plus existing facilities such as tennis courts, pool, restaurant and a spa. The new competition stadium is designed to be similar to the George Morris arena at Tryon.
The Global dressage circuit began in 2012 amidst opposition that led the local government to limit the number of permanent stabling to 200 stalls, prohibited a condominium hotel and permanent equestrian shopping mall along with other restrictions such as “lights out” at 10 p.m. even on the popular Friday night Freestyles.