LETTER: Proposed Projects Enhance Wellington’s ‘Equestrian Lifestyle Community’

The Village of Wellington has been presented with an application by Wellington Lifestyle Partners and Global Equestrian Group. The project encompasses much of the land surrounding Wellington International and includes Equestrian Village and the former White Birch polo fields.

The co-applicants have come together to present a solution to the immediate and growing need to expand and redevelop the Wellington International showgrounds. Global Dressage, currently housed at Equestrian Village, will be incorporated into the expanded facility, thereby alleviating the safety, traffic, capacity and logistical challenges.

Initially developed to provide a home for dressage, Equestrian Village regularly hosts both the hunters and jumpers at the venue to compete in the derby field as well as its stadium. All three disciplines make use of the stabling and practice rings. The intermix of the hunters and jumpers traveling back and forth to compete between Wellington International and Equestrian Village exacerbates not only the traffic and safety issues for the horses and riders, but also for the trainers, owners, support staff and spectators.

Upon substantial completion of the expanded show facility, the repurposed Equestrian Village will offer complimentary residential and lifestyle amenities in keeping with market conditions and support of the “equestrian lifestyle community.”

The addition of a luxury wellness lifestyle recreation club, partnered with a refurbished, top-level golf course, presents a logical extension of the Palm Beach Polo community and only adds to Wellington’s diverse offerings, which will result in not only retaining its existing residents but also attract new.

The proposed project considers the recommendations and goals of the most recent comprehensive plan, a document designed to evolve with the community, reflecting changes in trends and development over time.

The plan recognizes the need to preserve the equestrian community and lifestyle and support the operators of the equestrian venues so that they can continue to thrive.

The Village of Wellington’s comprehensive plan states: “Within the EPA, preservation is not focused on setting aside large open, green or natural areas for public purpose. Instead, the Equestrian Preserve seeks to protect and promote an ‘equestrian community and lifestyle.’”

There has been much discussion during the public hearings on the interpretation of what constitutes the “equestrian lifestyle community.” The phrase itself contains each of the elements paramount to maintain the symbiotic relationship that ensures its continued growth and viability.

Equestrian: The Wellington International horse show venue and the National Polo Club, surrounded by farms supported by an interconnected bridle trail system.

Community: An abundant offering of diverse residences to house not only the equestrians and those related to the industry, but also residents that enjoy living within an equestrian community.

Lifestyle: Public and private amenities that enhance the daily lives of its residents. This includes parks, playgrounds, education, shopping and leisure activities, i.e. golf, tennis and wellness.

Each element supports and complements the other. Wellington Lifestyle Partners and Global Equestrian Group have spent the past two years working with the village staff and representatives of the community to create a project that addresses and balances the immediate and future needs to best maintain and enhance our very valuable “equestrian lifestyle community.”

It is not “the beginning of the end” but rather the result of a team effort having taken a macro view of the possibilities to support and further the essence of Wellington’s unique existence.

Katherine Kaneb, Wellington