Wellington Equestrian Partners’ vision for Wellington has focused on creating an environment that blends horse sport with fun, family entertainment; a magical place centered around the love of horses. Whether interested in a carousel or pony ride, lessons at the riding academy, competition or as just a spectator, our goal is to provide a casual, welcoming environment for all regardless of socio-economic status. It is a unique place where diversity is celebrated and our vision is one of inclusion not exclusion. Our strategy is driven by the community, including the 12 Wellington schools that have honored us with great performances and the hundreds of community-based charities whose members regularly attend our events.
Comments in the article “Trouble in Paradise: Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs goes to War!” in the April issue of Boston magazine attributed to representatives of the Jacobs family were shocking. Mason Phelps’ comment — “This is a fairly upscale community, and we don’t need to bring the low- and middle-income hooligans into town and have them all of a sudden say, ‘Wow, good pickins’ out here.’” — is an inappropriate racist and classist comment that is not welcome in our community. I am hopeful that this is not enlightening us as to the Jacobs’ true agenda or representative of the Jacobs’ family opinions. As a United States Equestrian Foundation board member and the president of the National Horse Show, Mason should know better, and he should resign, as he has dishonored both organizations. In my opinion, Phelps’ tactics are often suspect and divisive, operating in the shadows and within blogs using pseudonyms to antagonize, insult, discredit and injure reputations for spite and money. Mason Phelps is not welcome at our private facility because he unsuccessfully and inappropriately tried to discredit the Great Charity Challenge, an organization that was co-founded by my daughter and is a passion for our family, our organization, our partners and the community at large. The GCC event has done wonderful things for this community, and his actions were shameful and misguided. Michael Whitlow, board member of the Jacobs’ Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance, offered this disturbing commentary: “With the circus atmosphere that’s being promoted, I think we’ve lost a certain amount of high-class dignity. I would like to see Wellington be the elite of the elites. The absolutely crème de la crème, the top of the top, as opposed to something for everybody.” Jacobs supporter Marcia Radosevich commented, “It’s a carnival; it’s not a horse show. I think it cheapens the sport.”
In response to these comments, I offer the following: If you do not like our event, our atmosphere or the caliber of people attending, then please do not come. It is your right. We welcome your feedback, but we are not bound by the sanctimonious opinions of elitists on what is entertainment, sport or good company. We are not perfect, but at least we try to make a difference in this community. Thousands of equestrians from all over the world and many thousands of weekly spectators from all walks of life have embraced our event.
Please understand, I grew up in the middle class, as did many of our partners, and we are products of the American dream. These classist comments, which appear to be promoted by the Jacobs’ representatives, is wrong for the event, the sport and this community. I am proud of our organization, our facility, our event, our contributions to job creation and our positive impact on the local economy. I am proud of the fact that thousands of Wellington school children and their families feel comfortable and welcome at our facility. I am proud of the fact that thousands of seniors, many who have limited budgets, attend our events and are happy to be a part of it. I am proud and honored to be associated with our employees who make this event happen; maintenance, security, secretaries, event staff and supervisors. I hope they, too, take pride in what they accomplish in support of our vision, because without them we have nothing.
Finally, I am proud of our partnerships’ commitment to our mission and vision. Rest assured our mission will continue, because no amount of money, personal attacks, spin campaigns, misguided council members or self-entitled billionaires will deter us from our vision to make Wellington the premier equestrian destination in the world — open to all who love horses or just want to be around them.
Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner, Wellington Equestrian Partners