Letter: Bellissimo Should Focus More On WEF

I noted with interest that Mark Bellissimo has once again taken to the media to berate and blame three Wellington officials and of course, his most popular straw men, the Jacobs family, for his continued mismanagement in Wellington.

When is this ridiculous blame game going to stop? When is Bellissimo going to take responsibility for his own poor planning and lack of organization? When does the blame someone else for his lack of foresight and preparation end?

Interestingly, I wonder if somehow Mark Bellissimo blames the Jacobs family for the Winter Equestrian Festival’s dramatic plunge in the latest rankings from the North American Riders Group? After ranking seventh last year, the festival has nose-dived all the way to 13th in the rankings. Bellissimo’s WEF is one of the few equestrian events that moved down in the rankings. Most events improve year to year. WEF, on the other hand, is getting worse and going in the wrong direction. Is that the fault of the Jacobs family?

In their report this year, NARG stated that, for thousands of WEF exhibitors, the backstage experience (the stabling and infrastructure) has weakened. An overcrowded show grounds has led to numerous accidents, many of which go unreported to 911, by the way. Bathrooms are dirty and overused. No seating for competitors and no place to ride are just some of the inadequacies listed in NARG’s scathing report. Is that too the fault of the Jacobs family?

I wonder if Mark Bellissimo blames the Jacobs family for the awful mood that permeates the show grounds in Wellington from many of the competitors? Unfortunately, so many of them are afraid to speak up because of the punitive and hateful nature of the organizer who has already proven that, in retaliation for comments against him, will move stalls to the back of the show grounds.

I wonder if Mark Bellissimo blames the Jacobs family for the dislike and derision he has fostered among his many officials and most of the employees that work for him at Equestrian Sports Productions? Of course, none of them will go public for obvious reasons.

If Mark Bellissimo would plan ahead, work within the rules of the Village of Wellington, quit blaming the Jacobs family for all of his woes, and spend more time worrying about the competitors experience and less time about his out-of-control development plans, the village, the industry and everyone involved with the Winter Equestrian Festival would be much better off.

Macie Michelson


  1. Ms Michelson left this part out.

    The biggest issue with WEF is ironically its success. As the number of entries increase, the sheer volume places tremendous stress on the venue. The spectator experience is improving, and the VIP and sponsor experience remains strong

    So how about we allow WEF more space and allow an expansion of their facilities to accommodate their success?

  2. Ms. Michelson makes the talking points that have been repeated over and over and over again by the Jacobs PR machine.

    Many of us would like to move on to make this the true Equestrian Capital of the World.

    Unfortunately we have the Three Banditos who are protecting the wealthy elite while taking some of their money in lavish gifts.

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