1st Global Dressage Festival Permanent Stable Raised
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
There was no triumphant musical score from Maurice Jarre as there was for the raising of the barn in the Harrison Ford movie “Witness,” but the first permanent stable at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds in Wellington, Florida, was erected Tuesday in preparation for the winter circuit.
Neither was there a gathering of Pennsylvania Amish families, but South Florida construction workers erecting the first of about 200 permanent stables in the first stage of the mutimillion dollar GDF facility that is dedicated to dressage as part of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Over about two months from February through early April, the GDF will host five CDIs–two World Cup qualifiers, a 5*, 3* and the first non-championship Nations Cup in the Western Hemisphere–with prize money of $275,000 (€205,000).
Steel beams for the covered arena large enough for three full size dressage arenas were also delivered Tuesday, ready to construct Lego-like when the foundations are completed.
Four permanent outdoor arenas in addition to the covered arena and the stabling–another 200 stables will be added for 2013, so tents will provide temporary stabling for the 2012 circuit.
Meantime, a group named the Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance issued its first report strongly denouncing commercial development on the GDF site.
Under the headline, Proposed Development Threatens Wellington’s Economy and Quality of Life, the alliance reported “Wellington residents concerned about crime, traffic and noise resulting from controversial development.”
The alliance, headed up by Lou Jacobs with directors Jane Forbes Clark, Neil Hirsch and Michael Whitlow, said it is focused on maintaining the “rural equestrian lifestyle” of Wellington and is opposed to plans to create a five-story condominium hotel complex and a retail mall on the GDF show grounds.
Mason Phelps, an alliance spokesman, said that the group does not oppose the creation of the GDF competition grounds but is against construction of permanent facilities such as stabling and the covered arena because the alliance believes it could create more traffic, noise, crime, and danger to horses and their handlers.
It was pointed out that thousands of polo fans each weekend were seated in a permanent grand stand and tail gated around the fields when the facility was part of Palm Beach Polo. There was also extensive permanent stabling that no longer exists. The grand stand was demolished when Wellington Equestrian Partners bought the polo stadium in 2007.