World Equestrian Centers in Ocala, Florida and Wilmington, Ohio to Have All Hunter/Jumper Shows Sanctioned by National Snaffle Bit Association, Dressage to Stay With USEF/FEI

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World Equestrian Center five-star hotel and one of two Grand competition arenas. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

April 23, 2021

World Equestrian Centers in Ocala, Florida and Wilmington, Ohio will have their hunter/jumper competitions sanctioned exclusively by the National Snaffle Bit Association and not the U.S. Equestrian Federation beginning next month. Dressage shows will still be licensed by the USEF and international events by the FEI.

Management of the Ocala and Wilmington events–in which the ownership family has built at a cost of many hundreds of millions of dollars–announced the decision Friday. The decision settles questions that had been raised when the USEF cut the number of licenses Ocala sought for the recent winter circuit.

“As a competition organizer we have experienced incredible support from the NSBA and their executives,” the WEC management said in a statement. “For our exhibitors, in addition to being an affordable choice, the NSBA offers many benefits including transparency, safe and clean sport and amazing opportunities for junior, amateur and professional riders.

“This decision is based on the success of our 2021 Ocala Winter Spectacular and discussions with our exhibitor base (“exhibitor” is the term used in the U.S. to describe competitors). The move to consolidate our competition sanctioning to one organization that we have developed a strong relationship with makes sense for us and for our exhibitors who have grown to know and trust the NSBA.

“We plan to expand the number of horse shows in the calendar which will allow exhibitors to accrue more points to qualify for exciting national championship opportunities coming soon.”

A spokesperson for the management, asked about dressage competitions at the Ocala facility, said: “No change with dressage shows. We plan to keep them USEF/FEI sanctioned.”

Ocala WEC staged its first CDI last week and two more, both World Cup events, are on the calendar for the fall.

The Ocala facility that already has 2,200 permanent stalls and three giant indoor arenas in addition to about a dozen outdoor rings began operations in January apparently with considerable success despite the coronavirus pandemic. Plans have been made to expand the facility even beyond what is already probably the largest and most costly privately owned horse sport grounds in the world.