Three All-New Arenas At PBIEC For 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival

Experts work to install the new arena footing.

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and managing partner of the Wellington Equestrian Partners, recently announced that Equestrian Sport Productions has undertaken a complete re-engineering and construction of three important arenas at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The Grand Hunter Arena, the Rost Arena and the DeNemethy Ring are all being completely re-engineered and constructed for the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival, which runs Jan. 6 through April 4. These three arenas are the next step in ESP’s strategic decision to use data engineering to produce arenas that are safer and kinder to the horse while providing the top level of international performance.

The engineering and construction of the new International Arena last season was the first step.

“ESP very successfully demonstrated last year that it is committed to being a leader in the industry by using engineering and science to move the bar forward for all of our riding surfaces,” Bellissimo said. “Our strategic vision is to provide the very best competition environment for all horses and their riders at PBIEC.”

PBIEC exhibitors will ride on the new surfaces for the first time on Oct. 29 at the ESP Fall Series.

At the 2020 WEF, ESP demonstrated to the world that data engineering could be used to reimagine an ultra-competition riding surface that meets the top international levels of performance yet remains kind to the horse. This season, that same strategic engineering process is being applied to the other three arenas.

“As we demonstrated last year, ESP set in motion a multi-year project to use science and analytics to assure the footing in all its arenas is the very best,” ESP President Michael Stone said. “To achieve that vision, we are committed to using the proven data engineering process of our strategic partners, JTWG All Equestrian Surfaces and iEquiTek LLC.”

Last year, a series of performance specifications, called WEF Hi-Pro, were developed in the process of engineering the new ultra-competition level International Arena. This season, JTWG and iEquiTek have designed and engineered surfaces optimized uniquely for the hunter and jumper rounds in the Grand Hunter Arena, the Rost Arena and the DeNemethy Ring.

“The remarkable thing about the strategic plan that ESP set forth last year is how totally committed they are to building the very best arenas in the world,” said Travis Gould, president of JTWG. “Last year, we built the very best ultra-competition arena in the world. This meant taking no shortcuts and using data and modeling to guide the process. It’s clear that our views on this match perfectly with ESP. We are very excited to continue as their strategic partner to implement this vision by bringing WEF Hi-Pro performance to these three arenas.”

Bill Hawe, manager of iEquiTek, agreed. “ESP has shown they are conceptually ahead in conceiving the best riding surface designs,” he said. “They really understand how to use our data analytics to engineer outcomes that are kind to the horse while achieving the very best performance.”

Rather than simply copying an arena design, ESP can now engineer the performance outcome ahead of time. ESP can design and construct these arenas using a differing set of components, such as mats, fiber, sands, etc. while still knowing and controlling the performance outcome ahead of time. In this way, ESP maintains performance standards.

The DeNemethy Ring is being constructed with a drainage base layer using ProEquus OT-40 concussion mats. In the iEquiTek lab, JTWG and iEquiTek designed new custom footing mixes for all the arenas. Premier Equestrian ProTex geotechnical amendment was used in the footing mixes. JTWG completely removed the materials from the old arenas, and all-new arenas were constructed in the same footprints.

To learn more about Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the Winter Equestrian Festival, visit