The week-long anticipation regarding the rebranding and renaming of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center was rewarded at Saturday Night Lights prior to the $140,000 1.50M series final – Wellington International is the new name for the home of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Ireland’s Paul O’Shea with Chancelloress was the first rider to win at Wellington International, fastest in the jump-off of the 1.50M series final that featured just five riders from an original field of 49. When asked how he felt about being the inaugural winner, he said: “I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but that is great.”
Speculation had been building ever since the old Palm Beach International Equestrian Center sign on the iconic bridge traversing the entrance to the International Arena was covered over for the start of WEF week 11. Rumour had it, that with the right wind blowing and a vantage point directly underneath the temporary screening, the name might have been discernible. In any case, all those that knew were sworn to secrecy so that the unveiling at Saturday Night Lights proved to be a revelation for most – with a new name, new logo and a signature fence.
Perhaps the biggest hint of the thinking behind the new venue name came from Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions.
“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 earlier this week.
Show organisers wasted no time in positioning the rebranding. The jump crew did a reveal of the new logo on their shirts, which was also emblazoned on flags flying from the drag crew tractors.
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