Winter Equestrian Festival’s home to be renamed in plan to create ‘world’s leading and most attractive venue’

  • Palm Beach International Equestrian Center – home to the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) – is about to be renamed.

    “We know it will take some getting used to, but we are very excited to reveal our new venue name this weekend,” said Michael Stone, President of Equestrian Sport Productions, with the announcement scheduled ahead of the 7.30pm start time for the $140,000 1.50m Series Final Classic CSI4* at the showground’s Saturday Night Lights event.

    “The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center [PBIEC] is a storied facility, but the name is quite a mouthful and we have found it can be confusing to non-equestrians, who expect the facility to be located on Palm Beach Island,” Michael said.

    The village of Wellington, where PBIEC is located, is some 17 miles inland from the island of Palm Beach.

    Wellington’s claim to equestrian fame started in 1977 when polo pioneer Bill Ylvisaker bought 2000 acres of what was essentially wild and untamed marsh on the edge of the Florida Everglades and turned it into the internationally-renowned Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. High goal polo paved the way for Wellington to become an epicenter of winter equestrian activity, giving rise to both the Global Dressage Festival and the Winter Equestrian Festival.

    “Now that the property has grown in popularity and is well-known, we are pleased to enter our next chapter with our new owners, Global Equestrian Group,” said Michael. “One of our first steps to advance the venue is to change our name to something that we feel is more modern and will open the facility to additional ventures.”

    Global Equestrian Group acquired PBIEC in July of last year. Their first move was to conduct a survey in August to give them feedback from both riders and spectators. “We drew up a huge list of things we want to change, and we started prioritizing what is most important and working on it,” Global Equestrian Group CEO Andreas Helgstrand, said as WEF got underway in January.

    “Currently, we are working on a five-year plan on the development of the whole facility. We cannot change everything in six months, not even in 18 months. We want to enhance WEF and maintain our position as the main event in this sport. Our ambition is to make it the world’s leading and most attractive venue.”

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