Global Dressage Festival Grounds Win Enviromental Case

9 years ago StraightArrow Comments Off on Global Dressage Festival Grounds Win Enviromental Case
Palm Beach International Equestrian Center's Stadium complex that hosts the Global Dressage Festival and Winter Equstrian Festival grass derby field events in the 2013 winter circuit. © Ken Braddick/
Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex that hosts the Global Dressage Festival and Winter Equstrian Festival grass derby events. © Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, April 28–The Global Dressage Festival organization has won an environmental case with a judge dismissing a complaint from a family opposed to the multimillion dollar complex that is part of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. Other legal obstacles remain.

The victory for Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) came from Administrative Law Judge Gary Early who issued an order finding the dressage complex that just completed its second winter circuit more than met South Florida Water Management District permitting regulations.

SFWMD regulates enviromental issues for seven million residents of South Florida including the environmentally sensitive Florida Everglades bordering the Village of Wellington which has one of the most concentrated horse populations in the world.

The complaint that led to the hearing was filed by Charles and Kimberly Jacobs, members of the wealthy Jacobs family that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting candidates who took control of the government of Wellington and have filed a lawsuit seeking to have the dressage grounds torn down.

A move by ESP seeking a Circuit Court injunction to prevent the Wellington government from restricting use of the dressage facility to only six months a year has been heard. The judge in that case ordered the two sides to closed-door arbitration as a last ditch effort before ruling on the case.

The grounds will have to be closed May 1 for six months if ESP loses the case thus preventing use of a covered arena in the hot and humid summer months.

In the SFWMD case, Judge Early found the dressage complex met all requirements for stormwater management, water quality and best management practices.

The judge ruled that the Jacobs “provided no basis for the supposition other than speculation” that the facilities were inadequate to handle the number of horses expected to use the grounds.

Horse-washing facilities were more than adequate, he said.

The Global Dressage Festival program was “more advanced than the minimum requirements of the Village of Wellington and more stringent than BMPs (better management practices) approved for other equestrian facilities in Wellington,” Judge Early said