2010 Winter Equestrian Festival is Underway

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Hunter show horseThe 2010 edition of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began on January 12 in the winter retreat of Wellington, Florida. Riders from across the US flock to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center each winter to enjoy the warm weather and top-level competition the circuit provides.

The WEF is owned and operated by Equestrian Sports Productions (ESP). Mark Bellissimo, Chief Executive Officer of ESP and Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners commented, “We are looking forward to a great year in 2010.  While we have made significant improvements across the facility, we are most proud of the continued investments in ring footing and grooming equipment for our riders and horses.”
 
Highlights for the upcoming WEF;
 
Exciting Events.  The WEG trials (5 classes), a Junior/Amateur team competition, and a Pro/Am Class have been added to an already exciting lineup which includes the FTI $500,000 Grand Prix, the Nations Cup, the World Dressage Masters, and the Battle of the Sexes.  Close to $6 million dollars in prize money and awards.  
 
Rings and Footing.  The PBIEC trademark pink “Olympic” footing installed by Equestrian Services International is in the final stages of installation in the Rost and Mische Rings (formerly Grand Hunter). Five rings now have this footing.   Renovations have also been completed on Rings 6-8 as well as the rings on the South Grounds. 

Jumps.   Frank Rothenberger’s Caro Designs and Olaf Petersen’s design company will be providing new jumps for the jumper rings. Classy Jumps and Littlewood Fences will be providing new jumps for the hunter rings.

Jumbotron.  A 22′ x 28′ foot JumboTron has been erected on the southeast corner of the International Arena.  The Jumbotron will take on a personality of its own by not only televising the competitions and the WEF sponsors but also interacting with the spectators through its roving webcam during the big events. 

Spectator Pavilions.  The Suncast Pavilion is a new area overlooking both the International Arena and the Mische ring. The Pavilion includes a large 36′ foot gazebo which has been installed on the east side of the International Arena and will feature a bar and food options.  Suncast has also installed an additional 20′ x 40′ gazebo overlooking the Rost and Mische rings that will provide another dining option for riders and spectators. 

New Food/Beverage Options.  The “Trough” Sports Bar presented by Pine Hollow will be completed overlooking the Rost Arena that will have casual dining and several widescreens installed televising various sporting events throughout the day and evening.  The Oasis Cafe serving Nepresso will be installed at the east end of the vendor courtyard which will serve as an Internet café and lounge.  A Fresh Salad restaurant and a new Sushi Option will round out the new fare.  And of course the famous Tiki Hut will return with more food and drink options available. A new permanent kitchen will be completed which will enhance the quality of the food service in the international club and across the property. 
 
In addition to the facility improvements, the ESP team has worked hard all year to enhance the customer experience of the Winter Equestrian Festival.  Both the staff and the facility are set to ensure that the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will be the safest, most competitive and enjoyable season to date.

General admission is free, but certain evening events require a separate ticket. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit equestriansport.com

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