A Deep Love For Horses And The Equestrian Community Drives Hannah Selleck’s Ambition & Goals

A Deep Love For Horses And The Equestrian Community Drives Hannah Selleck’s Ambition & Goals

Story By Athena Sobhan | Photos By Daniel Zuliani

Hannah Selleck’s dedication to equestrian sports fuels her career as a professional show jumping athlete and inspires her work out of the saddle.

Selleck, 32, has come to Wellington every year since 2013 to train at the highest level and compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival. As the only daughter of actors Tom Selleck and Jillie Mack, she grew up understanding that passion is one of the most important drivers in pursuing any career. She has taken that advice seriously, establishing herself as a successful show jumper and influential business owner in the equestrian community.

Blond, gorgeous and boasting an athlete’s frame, Selleck’s earliest memory of riding is at the age of four on a Shetland pony named Sheba. Although she fell off twice during her first lesson, she got back on and quickly learned to manage the pony while staying in the saddle.

“I was determined to figure out how to work with this cute little pony,” Selleck recalled during a recent interview in Wellington. “That moment taught me that persistence and perseverance are necessary to ride.”

From then on, she was hooked. Lessons continued at the Foxfield Riding School in Westlake Village, California, where Selleck also boarded her first pony, Taffy Apple.

“My family and I bonded together over riding, and some of my fondest memories are learning to ride alongside my mom,” Selleck said. “Both of my parents are incredibly supportive of my passion for horses, and they’re always there to cheer me on. They never tried to pressure me to pursue something else. To their credit, they learned about equestrian sports at the same time I did — when I started competing at 10 years old.”

Before Selleck became a decorated equestrian athlete, she had her eyes set on the rodeo. Selleck was originally transfixed by barrel racing and eager to learn the ropes and become a barrel racer herself. As fate would have it, no horses were available for Selleck to train with, so she quickly pivoted and found a similar thrill in show jumping.

“For me, it has been about the speed and that adrenaline surge when I complete a jump off with my horse,” she said. “In the ring, I’ve always been known as a fast rider, and I think part of that stems from my early fascination with the rodeo.”

Over her career, Selleck has earned a number of top accolades in international show jumping competitions. One of her biggest achievements came in the summer of 2011, when she earned second place at the Spruce Meadows North American tournament, one of her top finishes to date at the five-star level.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve grown more cautious of unnecessary risks, especially as I’ve sustained injuries,” she said. “You quickly realize that you only have one body, take care of it and ride smart, as there is very little margin for error at the top of the sport.”

In 2018, Selleck broke both her fibula and tibula when her stirrup didn’t release properly in a fall. The injury sidelined her from competition for seven months, but Selleck was back successfully competing in early 2019.

During last year’s lockdowns, she took the extra downtime to focus on training physically for the upcoming season, but she also turned to mindfulness training as a way to enhance her performance during competitions.

“Recovering from a serious injury can be physically and mentally taxing,” Selleck said. “I’ve worked closely with a sports psychologist to practice visualization techniques that have helped me get back into the competition mindset.”

She also had additional support. “I was lucky to have my partner Barla, a horse I’ve competed on for seven years, to help my comeback in 2019,” Selleck said. “The trust that we built together over the years was a motivating factor to enter the competition ring again.”

While she prepares for competitions, Selleck is also diving into her education and working toward her MBA at Pepperdine University, aiming to open doors for her career outside the ring. Alongside her athletic career, Selleck founded Descanso Farm in 2010 as a boutique breeding operation, but recently transitioned to a boutique sales business.

“Most jumping horses are bred in Europe, and I recognized an opportunity to import those horses into the U.S. to compete,” she explained. “Working with so many equine partners over the years has given me the experience and knowledge I can apply toward a training and sales operation.”

Selleck also serves as an ambassador for Brooke USA, the nonprofit organization focused on promoting the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules.

“Show jumping is a tight-knit community, and I work closely with Brooke USA because they promote equine and humanitarian welfare, which are issues close to my heart,” she said. “I hope to also one day start my own nonprofit organization to continue giving back to the community and beyond.”

For Selleck, every decision she has made throughout her career stems back to her love of horses.

“My goal right now is to enjoy each moment with my horses as I work my way back to the top level of the sport,” Selleck concluded. “It’s a blessing anytime I get to compete. It’s important to be present in the moment that you’re in because we are so, so lucky to work with these animals every single day.”

Visit www.descansofarm.com to learn more about Hannah Selleck and Descanso Farm.

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Young Equestrians Take Challenges In Stride As They Progress In Their Careers

Young Equestrians Take Challenges In Stride As They Progress In Their Careers

By Georgie Hammond and Meagan DeLisle

Each year, thousands of equestrians of all ages flock to Wellington, escaping harsh winter weather elsewhere to enjoy near-perfect temperatures while competing in the winter equestrian capital of the world.

While this year’s events look slightly different due to the pandemic, young equestrians are doing everything they can to take the usual challenges of the sport and the additional tribulations of these unprecedented times all in stride.

“Young equestrians face many growing pains as they progress in their riding and move through the different phases of the sport,” said Geoff Teall, one of the country’s most prominent equestrian trainers and judges. “This year, especially, these athletes are having to adapt and change all of the time to overcome obstacles, both physically and mentally. There are many moving parts that go into the success of a young rider, whether they are just learning to ride, moving up to jump new heights, or adjusting to life changes that alter the way they compete in the sport, so it is vital that they maintain level headedness and have the support they need.”

Ava Scharbo

At 13 years old, Ava Scharbo is just starting to find her footing in the show ring. While she has four years of experience competing, Scharbo recently reached one of the biggest milestones in a young rider’s career as they continue to grow and develop their skills: transitioning from a pony to a horse.

“I was definitely a little nervous getting on a larger, stronger animal,” Scharbo explained. “The biggest challenge for me has been taking time to go back and revisit things I thought I already knew. My trainer, Geoff Teall, has taught me that in order to move forward, you have to sometimes go back to basics first.”

With the progression from pony to horse comes a jump in competition level as well, something Scharbo found intimidating at first. With help from Teall, however, she is learning to manage her nerves and persevere, even through the difficult times, by taking things one step at a time. Scharbo has also made efforts to maintain her confidence in her riding by practicing nearly every day, something that has recently been made easier thanks to her family’s move to Wellington to become full-time residents.

“If there’s a magic potion for nerves, I haven’t found it yet! This sport challenges me every day I get on my horses, whether I am in the show ring or not,” Scharbo said. “The one thing that keeps me going is knowing that there is always another ride and there is always another show. If I didn’t have a good lesson, or a good show, I need to break my ride down stride-by-stride and figure out why, so the next ride goes better than the last.”

Raine Whitman

Like Scharbo, 14-year-old Raine Whitman has confronted her fair share of trials as a young equestrian. In January 2021, Whitman started a fresh partnership with a new horse, a shift that takes copious amounts of patience and diligence in order to be successful. While this is not her first horse, Whitman’s junior riding career is at a pivotal point as she gears up to start competing in the “Big Eq,” one of the most competitive divisions in junior equestrian sport. Whitman experienced excellent results with her previous horse at some of the nation’s most prestigious competitions in 2020.

However, now more than ever, her resilience is being tested as she learns her new horse and makes strides toward the upper level of junior competition.

“The hardest part of any transition is trusting in the process and not allowing frustration to get the better of you if the results are different than your expectations. It’s important to keep working hard and stay focused,” she said. “Thankfully, the transition to my new horse, Clearano Z, happened early in the season, so it was the perfect time to get straight into the show ring and start building our relationship. He was already at my barn, Carriage Hill Farms, before I purchased him. That was a huge help for me in understanding the type of ride he needs because my trainers already knew him really well. He is a very willing partner and enjoys his job, which made the process of learning a new partner really fun.”

With a positive mindset and a strong support system in place, Whitman has turned the challenges before her into learning opportunities every step of the way. In true athlete fashion, she has used her moments of uncertainty to fuel her ambition and drive.

“I think hard work and dedication have helped me progress and move up through the divisions,” Whitman said. “I am focused in my training on learning the necessary skills to get to the next level. I am dedicated to learning as much as I can outside of my lessons as well, like riding without stirrups, and riding extra horses or ponies to gain experience while strengthening my leg and balance, which improves all aspects of my riding.”

Brittany Hildebrand

For 29-year-old Brittany Hildebrand, the transition from her junior career to now competing as an adult amateur all the while balancing a busy school schedule posed a new set of challenges that many young equestrians of a similar age find themselves facing. As a graduate student in the marketing program at Baylor University, Hildebrand not only has to juggle a demanding school schedule, but she is also very involved in the care and maintenance of her own show horses.

“It has definitely been a trial-and-error process,” Hildebrand said. “I’ve had to work really hard to find what schedule works best for me and my horses in this phase of my life. I’m very lucky to have a great support system in place with my trainers Conan and Becky O’Connor and my barn team, who help me every day, but I’m extremely hands-on and active in all aspects of my horses’ management.”

While each week looks different based on the needs of her horses and her rigorous school schedule, Hildebrand has settled into a bit of a rhythm while showing in Wellington this season.

“Mondays are our off-days for the horses, so I can be fully dedicated to school. My classes are in six-week, online sessions, and while most people might think online school is easier, the turnaround time for assignments is tight. Other days, I typically am at the barn from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and then can give myself an hour break before diving into my schoolwork through the evening. When I’m showing, I have to get a bit more creative with my schedule. If I have a big assignment due, I may need to rely more on my support team to help me. Every week looks a little different, but we adjust to make sure the horses are getting the daily management they need and to allow myself the time necessary to be successful in school.”

With her recent move up in competition level to the High Amateur-Owners and an overall goal of establishing consistency in her riding this circuit, maintaining a flexible rhythm is essential in all areas of Hildebrand’s life at this stage.

No matter what stage of their riding they might be in, young equestrians of all ages must demonstrate an innate ability to roll with the punches and adjust to new obstacles on a daily basis.

From transitioning to new divisions, adapting to new horses and demonstrating the ability to balance all aspects of their busy lives, the hurdles may seem never ending. But it is the passion for the sport and their love for the horses that unites these riders, who are at very different places in their lives — and those two things make all of the trials and tribulations a worthwhile endeavor.

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Lexus International Gay Polo Tourney Returns For A Fabulous & Safe Weekend

Lexus International Gay Polo Tourney Returns For A Fabulous & Safe Weekend

The Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, went off without a hitch from Thursday, March 25 through Sunday, March 28, with the tournament itself presented on the International Polo Club Palm Beach’s U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1 on Saturday, March 27.

After the weekend’s four events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the players and fans were eager to take to the field this spring for a safely produced series of events.

This was the first time playing the Gay Polo League’s signature event on IPC’s Field 1 — one of the most famous polo fields in the world.

The event was COVID-conscience with mask compliance and social distancing. However, these precautions did not hinder the wonderful energy of the athletes or attendees, nor dampen the creative efforts of the tailgate decorations.

Four teams played in the exciting two-day tournament. Players came from Washington State, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, Virginia, New York and Argentina. This year, the league welcomed six players making their GPL debut. And for the first time, two teams were composed entirely of LGBTQ+ polo players.

Every year, the league engages new players, both LGBTQ+ and allies. “The exceptional thing this year is the number of players competing in GPL for their first time,” said Chip McKenney, the league’s founder and president. “Our teams reflect the diversity of our communities, and we are grateful to each player who participates and supports GPL.”

This year also set a new record of three LGBTQ+ polo professionals competing. Other professionals and players are LGBTQ+ allies and strong supporters of diversity, human rights and inclusion.

Joey Casey, owner of the Palm City Polo Club, home club of GPL Polo, is the driving force behind providing polo ponies and professional polo players, who volunteer their time and skills to the league.

“GPL is always a fun event, unique in many ways,” he said. “I am a strong advocate for polo and recognize the value of bringing in new players to the sport. I’ve worked with GPL for 11 years, and each year gets better. It’s a blast.”

McKenney was thankful to host a successful event after a difficult 2020 season. “We are delighted with the event, and we are thankful for the ongoing support of our distinguished sponsors that stood by us during 2020 and continue to partner with GPL to promote diversity and inclusion,” he said.

“When companies like Lexus and Douglas Elliman Real Estate collaborate with LGBTQ+ events, like GPL, it speaks volumes about their positive company values and inclusive culture. All of our sponsors share our mission to elevate and promote equality for everyone,” McKenney continued.

Attendees enjoyed great polo coupled with the chance to participate in the traditional tailgate competition, as judged by Hotels at Sea and Celebrity Cruises. Tailgates this year were limited to groups of 12 people each and separated to ensure social distancing, yet this did not slow down the creativity of the community.

“It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying their time together while staying safe,” McKenney said.

Another fun tradition during the tournament weekend was the GPL Polotini event on Friday, March 26. Instead of the usual Wigstock competition, this year’s theme was “MASK-QUERADE,” with the best mask taking home both bragging rights and a trophy.

The event’s charity partner was SAGE USA, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ seniors. McKenney is very proud that the event was able to help this worthy nonprofit.

“With COVID-19, a lot of people are limited on funds, but correspondingly, the needs are more significant than ever,” he said. “The senior community was hit very hard, and SAGE does a wonderful job of helping elderly people avoid isolation and being shut in.”

Despite the cancellation of last year’s tournament, the GPL still hosted a summer fundraiser to support SAGE USA. With a matching pledge from Cherry Knoll Farm, the organization raised $20,000 for the nonprofit. For more information about SAGE USA, visit www.sageusa.org.

In these uncertain times, GPL is happy to be able to host a tournament that so many Wellington locals enjoy, and that draws a crowd from around the country. A successful, safe, enjoyable event was a marvelous start to the Florida spring season.

Learn more about the Gay Polo League at www.gaypolo.com.

 

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Gauntlet Of Polo Series Partners With U.S. Polo Assn. To Support Polo Charities

Gauntlet Of Polo Series Partners With U.S. Polo Assn. To Support Polo Charities

Story by Stacey Kovalsky  |  Photos ©Global Polo Entertainment

U.S. Polo Assn., the official brand of the United States Polo Association and primary sponsor of the Gauntlet of Polo tournament series, is making generous donations to multiple polo charities as part of the exciting tournament series currently underway at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.

Recipients will be selected by the first and second place teams of each of the Gauntlet’s tournament finals. The Gauntlet of Polo is one of the pinnacle tournament series globally in high-goal polo competition. This highly competitive event features the most skilled athletes and finest horses in the world.

“The sport of polo is at the heart and soul of our brand, so we wanted to ensure that these worthy, polo-based charities were a component of this high-profile polo event,” said J. Michael Prince, president and CEO of USPA Global Licensing, which manages the global U.S. Polo Assn. brand. “As a cause-based brand that supports philanthropic events around the world, U.S. Polo Assn. is extremely honored to partner with these amazing teams and charities during these challenging economic times.”

Because of the important causes these charities represent, U.S. Polo Assn. will also make donations to any charity not represented by a team. In total, more than $50,000 will be donated. The USPA is grateful to all the teams participating in the Gauntlet and to U.S. Polo Assn. for not only being the top sponsor of the series, but also for generously donating to these notable polo charities.

These donations will continue to bring awareness and support to the polo community.

The participating charities include: Homes for Horses, Polo for Life, the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, Polo Pony Rescue, the Polo Players Support Group, the Polo Training Foundation, Replay Polo, the Retired Racehorse Project and Work to Ride.

Homes for Horses is a national coalition dedicated to increasing collaboration, professionalism and growth in the equine rescue and protection community. Members are committed to ending horse slaughter and all other forms of equine abuse. The coalition is an initiative of the Animal Welfare Institute and currently includes more than 520 members representing horse rescue and sanctuaries throughout the U.S. and beyond.

Polo for Life is dedicated to helping families facing the challenge of surviving childhood cancers. The nonprofit organization focuses on direct impact initiatives by partnering with local organizations to ensure the needs of patients and their families are met and their financial hardships resulting from a cancer diagnosis are minimized. Polo for Life is the driving force behind Polo for a Purpose, which has raised nearly $2 million for the benefit of local organizations.

The Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the sport, its history, development and traditions by acquiring, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting collections, as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport. The museum is a rich repository of documents and physical treasures, which include works of art, historic trophies, artifacts, books, statistics, periodicals, films, videos, recordings and memorabilia.

Polo Pony Rescue rescues equines, primarily former polo ponies that have been neglected, abused, seized by law enforcement or are at risk of slaughter; provides any needed veterinary care, rehabilitation or retraining; and finds them new, loving homes. They also offer permanent retirement to horses who have physical or mental conditions rendering them no longer able to be ridden.

The Polo Players Support Group provides financial assistance to seriously injured or ill players and grooms. PPSG created the annual 40-Goal Polo Challenge in partnership with U.S. Polo Assn. to raise funds to help members of the polo community in financial crisis caused by physical injury or illness.

The Polo Training Foundation is dedicated to cultivating the future of polo while making it accessible and fun for everyone. PTF supports polo training at all levels, including beginner clinics, intercollegiate/interscholastic tournaments and clinics, and international player exchanges. PTF also seeks to encourage the highest standards of sportsmanship and promotes international good will through polo competition.

Replay Polo’s mission statement is “Save Polo Ponies. Transform People.” The organization devotes itself to repurposing retired polo ponies that are far from the end of their usefulness, having the experience and character to be “repurposed” for continued usefulness in important new capacities.

The Retired Racehorse Project exists to facilitate placement of thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in equestrian sports and serving the farms, trainers and organizations that transition them. Since its 2010 founding, RRP has put a spotlight on these horses with social media efforts and events, and it has inspired thousands to choose an “off-the-track” thoroughbred.

Work to Ride is a nonprofit, community-based prevention program that aids disadvantaged urban youth through constructive activities centered on horsemanship, equine sports and education. The program is housed at Chamounix Stables located in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. Work to Ride programs and activities are designed to explore new ways of engaging youth in significant educational, social and cultural experiences that are otherwise unavailable.

To learn more about this initiative, visit www.uspoloassnglobal.com.

 

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New 4EverYoung Location In Wellington Aims To Help You Look & Feel Your Best

New 4EverYoung Location In Wellington Aims To Help You Look & Feel Your Best

Story By Mike May | Photos By Abner Pedraza

If you can accomplish your goals with one-stop shopping, you can save time, money and add to the quality of your life. That’s what clients can find provided in the area of health and wellness by one of Wellington’s newest businesses, 4EverYoung, which is located on Forest Hill Blvd. in front of the Mall at Wellington Green.

In the words of husband-and-wife co-owners Stan and Polina Tolstunov, the goal of their 4EverYoung franchise is to add to what is already a great quality of life for those who live in and around Wellington.

“We will be offering services that support health and wellness for those people who lead healthy and physically active lifestyles,” Stan explained. “We want people to feel their best.”

Polina explained that it is all about feeling better and healthier.

“We are committed to working with people who want to make positive changes to their lives, both inside and out,” she said.

The Tolstunovs feel so strongly about the issue of health and wellness that they want their new business to give fellow residents in the western communities a chance to feel the same way as they do.

They are also busy practicing what they preach. Both exercise daily, take supplements, and use the same services and products at 4EverYoung as they will be offering to their new customers and clients.

If you are suffering from fatigue, loss of energy, loss of muscle mass, mood changes, loss of productivity, disrupted sleep, difficulty losing weight, anxiety, depression and/or reduced bone density, then 4EverYoung has a solution to your predicament.

Just some of 4EverYoung’s services include IV therapy, hormone replacement therapy, growth hormone peptide therapy, microneedling, platelet rich plasma, dermal fillers, Botox/Dysport, sclerotherapy, chemical peels, testosterone therapy, and facial and skin care.

“The body does magical things when treated well,” Stan said. “We want our clients to enjoy our atmosphere and benefit from the social experience at 4EverYoung.”

The Tolstunovs want to help people stay forever young, which also happens to be in sync with their daily approach to life.

“By using our services at 4EverYoung, you will improve your inner world and your outer appearance,” said Polina, who is a big proponent of 4EverYoung’s hormone replacement therapy. “HRT has been transformational for me. I feel more energetic and my body looks great. I’m 41, but I feel like I’m 25.”

They opened their new 4EverYoung franchise in Wellington in March after becoming dedicated patrons of 4Ever Young’s services.

“We moved down to South Florida from New Jersey in 2019 with our two kids,” Stan said. “We settled in Boca Raton.”

In order to continue supporting their own long-established healthy and physically active lifestyles, they joined the 4EverYoung outlet in Boca Raton. Evidently, they tried it, and they liked. In fact, they loved it. They enjoyed the experience so much that they bought their own 4EverYoung franchise in June 2020.

With 4EverYoung having a South Florida presence in communities such as Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Plantation, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Jupiter, the Tolstunovs decided to place their franchise here in the western communities.

“We decided Wellington was the perfect place,” Stan said. “We signed our lease last July, and then started the buildout soon afterward.”

Their overall goal is to improve the quality of life of every person who walks through the front door.

“We will provide treatment for athletes who are rehabilitating from an injury and people recovering from surgery,” Stan said.

Polina is also committed to making the atmosphere at 4EverYoung positive and welcoming. “We will have a unique setting, which will be both hip and fun,” she said. “It will create a vibe that will improve wellness.”

As soon as any client leaves the premises at 4EverYoung, Stan and Polina Tolstunov hope that they are already planning and thinking about their next visit to the studio.

The foundation of 4EverYoung’s services is having each client’s bloodwork analyzed. That analysis will provide a roadmap for what services each patient will need to improve their overall health and, more importantly, their overall quality of life.

At 4EverYoung in Wellington, the professionally trained staff is able to provide clients with those necessary procedures, treatments and nutritional supplements.

The goal of this unique new business is to create a one-stop shopping health and wellness experience for its clients, which will help them save time, money and, without a doubt, add to the quality of their lives.

4EverYoung is located in Wellington Green Square at 10620 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 50, near the Fresh Market. For more info., call (561) 220-3771 or visit www.4everyoungwellington.com. Find the new business on Instagram @4everyoung_wellington.

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Looking For The Perfect Cheeseburger? Try The Ford’s Garage Signature Burger

Looking For The Perfect Cheeseburger? Try The Ford’s Garage Signature Burger

What do you get if you pair an upscale burger joint with nostalgic Americana? Ford’s Garage, of course. The Wellington location of this unique Florida chain has been making burger fans happy since opening in 2019 at the Mall at Wellington Green.

Ford’s Garage prides itself on cultivating a classic American atmosphere through Ford memorabilia and savory comfort foods. All burgers at Ford’s Garage are fresh-pattied and built with gourmet toppings, creating what the chain calls “Ultimate Burger Experience,” or “UBE” for short.

Nothing says “classic” quite like a juicy bacon cheeseburger. The Ford’s Signature Burger is a half-pound grilled Black Angus patty, topped with aged sharp cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, a bourbon barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onion on a toasted brioche bun — a simple, yet perfectly crafted “UBE.”

“What separates us from all the other burger companies out there are our half-pound Black Angus burgers, made fresh, never frozen,” co-owner Keith Ledsome said. “With our aged sharp cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon, along with the bourbon barbecue sauce, we are able to incorporate all of these different flavors. This really accommodates the palate and makes our Ford’s Signature Burger our best-selling burger.”

If that does not sound like the perfect burger experience to you, not to worry. The menu features more than a dozen other burger creations made from half-pound grilled Black Angus patties, from the Mushroom Swiss to the Black-N-Bleu, as well as some smaller burger creations as well.

The well-rounded menu also features salads, such as the Ford’s Chop Shop and the Grilled Chicken Cobb, and an array of comfort foods, like Beer Battered Fish N’ Chips and Hand Battered Chicken Tenders.

“It’s not just the craft beer and burgers,” Ledsome said. “We have something for everyone’s palate, including gluten-free options and our phenomenal salads. Our gluten-free Chicken Henry is another one of most popular items, and we also have our meatloaf. It’s called Mama Ford’s Homemade Meatloaf.”

Co-owner Kathleen Gannon-Ledsome, Keith’s wife, also has her favorite.

“My favorite thing on the menu is the Chili Garlic Salmon,” Gannon-Ledsome said. “The flavoring of it is amazing, and the salmon quality we get is unprecedented when compared with any other restaurant in Wellington.”

That popular dish features eight ounces of Norwegian Atlantic grilled salmon with a sweet chili garlic sauce and your choice of sides.

“Most people assume we are only a burger place, but we have a wide range on the menu, with great salads, perhaps the best in Wellington, and amazing other dishes,” Gannon-Ledsome added.

The appetizers also turn heads with their presentation. For example, the signature appetizer is the Giant Funnel Tower of Jumbo Piston Onion Rings, which is served on a real piston, tying into the 1920s service station vibe. Edsel’s Hot Pretzels and the Famous Firestone Shrimp are also popular on the appetizer menu.

Don’t forget to save some room! Desserts include throw-back style milkshakes, funnel cake fries, a brownie sundae and key lime pie.

The Ford’s Garage concept began in 2012 in Fort Myers, an area known as the vacation destination for Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone. The flagship restaurant opened just down the street from Henry Ford’s famous winter residence.

The restaurant’s décor is a step back in time to the dawn of the automobile age, feeding Wellington restaurant goers’ appetites by way of a Prohibition-era filling station. The scene is set from the moment you open the door at the entrance with its gas pump handles, flanked by two retro gas pumps.

Ford’s Garage continues this nostalgic feel with its throwback pieces of Americana. Several restored Ford Model Ts fill the 6,000-square-foot space for guests to admire as they enjoy a meal.

The main bar has a Model T hanging as a centerpiece, complete with a working horn and “smoke” that spews from the back. There’s plenty to enjoy at the bar, particularly if you are a beer lover. Craft beer is part of the restaurant’s flair. There’s a selection of 150 beers in all, in homage to the Ford F-150.

“We also have a variety of specialty drinks, such as the Lincoln Punch, which features Mount Gay Rum, as well as the Model Tea and the Ford’s Old Fashioned,” Ledsome said.

Happy hour is between 2 and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $3 premium well drinks and $2 off drinks and drafts. Also featured on the drink menu are several frozen drinks, such as spiked lemonades and margaritas.

The Wellington restaurant, which opened in June 2019, was the chain’s first southeast Florida location. There are 13 other Florida locations, with two outside Florida in Michigan and Indiana.

Ford’s Garage offers both indoor and outdoor dining, along with online ordering and curbside pickup. Home delivery can be arranged through Delivery Dudes.

“We also do catering,” Gannon-Ledsome said. “For example, we just did the catering for the World Championship Equestrian Triathlon, a benefit for the Boys & Girls Club.”

Ford’s Garage is located inside the Mall at Wellington Green at 10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 122, near the Patio Verde entrance. Hours are Sundays, noon to 7 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, noon to 9:30 p.m. For more information, call (561) 805-3673 or visit www.fordsgarageusa.com.

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Little Ranches Property Presented By Marcia Ann Lichtenwalner

Little Ranches Property Presented By Marcia Ann Lichtenwalner

Meet Marcia Ann Lichtenwalner

After 16 years working in sales and marketing for Marriott Hotels in the Boston area, Marcia Ann Lichtenwalner relocated to Wellington in 2001 with her family. Now, with 20 years invested as a local resident, she has gained a significant degree of community knowledge.
“Given my involvement in a number of our community’s schools, civic and sporting organizations throughout my time as a resident, I’ve had the benefit of building trusted relationships with residents and visitors alike,” Lichtenwalner said. “As a skilled Realtor, I bring my market knowledge, professional expertise and my dedication to truly delivering exceptional customer service to everyone I work with.”
These traits and values provide significant benefits to her clients, while also resulting in a high degree of success for both buyers and sellers. As an equestrian specialist and a Keller Williams Luxury International member, one of Lichtenwalner’s passions has been a focus on the local equestrian community.
“Success in this niche market requires a genuine understanding about what both year-round and seasonal equestrians need and look for, especially as it relates to real estate,” she said. “I have been extremely fortunate to serve many fellow equestrians while being immersed in this wonderful sport!”

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Private, Peaceful Home In Little Ranches Is An Equestrian’s Delight

Private, Peaceful Home In Little Ranches Is An Equestrian’s Delight

This private and peaceful home in Wellington’s Little Ranches neighborhood is an equestrian’s delight that has been well-maintained with beautiful grounds. The property is perfect for an equestrian family, trainer or investor to customize with a barn that has a long rental history. The home features five bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a three-car garage and a pool that affords a three-way split plan with separate access for flexibility. The eight-stall center-aisle barn with four satellite stalls offers exceptional air flow, a full apartment, multiple storage areas and outbuildings, plus a separate tack room with a bathroom. The property layout includes plenty of space for expansion of the amenities or the ring. It currently has a GGT regulation dressage arena and 11 paddocks, some with covered shade run-ins. The farm is only minutes from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on all paved roads.

Aerial View: The completely private 4.87-acre farm in Wellington’s Little Ranches community features an eight-stall center-aisle main barn and four additional shed stalls with 11 total paddocks.

Front Elevation: The custom-built CBS home has five bedrooms, 3.5 baths and a three-car garage featuring Royall Wall construction, built to the highest building standards with steel-reinforced walls, along with a fully gated and fenced property.

Barn Aisle: The eight-stall main barn features a center aisle with exceptional air flow year-round, a one-bedroom studio apartment, plus feed and tack rooms, and a separate rider bathroom.

Pool Area: The wonderfully private pool and screened patio overlooks the paddocks and the arena. The patio opens from three areas of the home, which offers a three-way split bedroom plan for optimal usage and privacy.

Interior: The light and bright home offers single level living with lovely features, such as soaring ceilings, large bedrooms, huge windows affording lots of natural light, crown moulding, ceramic tile and hardwood flooring throughout.

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Wellington Rotary Club Emphasizes The Importance Of Service Above Self

Wellington Rotary Club Emphasizes The Importance Of Service Above Self

By m. Dennis Taylor 

The importance of giving can never be overemphasized, and there’s always joy in acts of giving. This timeless bit of wisdom is taken to heart by the Wellington Rotary Club, which has been continually serving the community for 40 years.

Rotary International — of which the Wellington club is a local affiliate — is a service organization that spans the globe promoting peace and health. “It has promoted everything from polio vaccines to infrastructure and equipment for indigenes in South America,” said David Berns, the current president of the Wellington club.

The local branch is active in a range of activities, from helping hand out free food to those hardest-hit in the area by the COVID-19 pandemic, to supporting shelters for those less fortunate.

Ask any Rotarian, and you’ll get a litany of reasons to get involved with the group, but most of the explanations could easily fall into the category of bettering oneself by improving the local and worldwide communities.

The group has spent most of the past year partnering with the Village of Wellington, Feeding South Florida and others to provide weekly food boxes to some 900 local families.

“We provide six to 10 people each week to supply helping hands at the distribution point,” Berns said.

Every Tuesday morning, hundreds of cars line up at the Mall at Wellington Green for an efficient distribution of a week’s worth of supplies that have meant a great deal of difference in the lives of locals hard-hit by the present circumstances.

Another on-going project has been to get a “Buddy Bench” in each of the elementary schools in the village, with a program of peer “ambassadors” trained and set up to support anyone who feels isolated or bullied. Such a child is encouraged to merely sit on the designated, colorful bench and is soon met by another student to talk with them. The popular and successful program is being expanded.

The arrival of Santa in the end of the annual Wellington Holiday Parade is arranged by the group, as are gifts for children in hospitals and for healthcare workers. For decades, the club has supported the Back to Basics program to provide school uniforms for students returning to school each year and holiday gifts for children each December. People in times of trouble who need a place to stay are helped by the club’s longtime support the Lord’s Place, a program serving the local homeless population.

The club’s annual peace initiative and ceremony is considered by many to be one of Rotary’s signature events. Held at Wellington Rotary Peace Park near the Wellington branch library, this special event includes presentations, performances and awards presented to winning students. The events are organized and presented in honor of each United Nations International Peace Day by the Wellington Rotary Club.

Past president and 23-year club member Don Gross said the peace initiative is one of his favorite club activities. “It is held the third Sunday in September around the United Nations Peace Day, which is Sept. 21,” Gross said.

There are contests in all the schools with prizes awarded by the club. “We have a poster contest for the elementary students, poems from the middle schoolers and an essay competition for the high schools,” Gross explained.

Gross is also enthusiastic about the club’s annual dictionary giveaway to third graders.

“It has been going on for 20 years,” he said. “We give a dictionary to each student in third grade. Some people ask why we give a book when you can find everything on Google, but the kids love it. It is their book. They can hold it in their hands and flip through it.”

These are just some of the many acts of giving that the club participates in. “We primarily work in the background,” said Berns, who explained that the group doesn’t seek out publicity.

Gross said that the club works wherever it sees a need. “It is involved behind the scenes in every aspect of the community providing benefits,” he said.

That group has changed in complexion since its founding in 1980. “Originally, it was older retirees,” Berns said.

Then, when women began joining the previously all-male Rotary, the changes were marked. “Today, we are about a 50-50 mix of men and women, and the group of nearly 50 active participants itself has more younger people in their 30s and 40s,” Berns said.

Gross agreed that the shifting demographics have brought beneficial changes to the club for this era.

“Years ago, ‘supporting’ a program might mean writing a check. Today, it is the hands-on hours put in by the members, not just money,” Gross explained.

He said that members are a group of mostly businesspeople and professionals, and still many are retired. Since the chapter’s inception, even before the Village of Wellington was incorporated, the members have been and still are community leaders interested in the social good.

Community Services Coordinator Maggie Zeller joined the club some eight years ago. She pointed out that the original Rotary organization was founded in Chicago in 1905, and it wasn’t until 1987 that the all-male organization began accepting women members.

“I truly believe in the Wellington Rotary Club,” Zeller said. “I agree the club has changed with women joining… We helped it evolve from just the check writers who supported things in the past. I think we bring a humanitarian, caring and nurturing perspective of giving back to the community.”

While today’s Wellington Rotary Club is now an organization of men and women with spouses encouraged to get involved in the projects as well, “It is far from a mere networking or social club,” Gross said. “The mindset is on community service.”

That community mindset has been consistent over the years of growth in the Village of Wellington, the changing needs of its residents and the expansion of demographics in the club. Throughout it all, however, has been the simple joys contained in the act of giving.

For more information about the Wellington Rotary Club, visit www.wellingtonrotary.org.

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World-Famous Dressage Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén Enjoys Her Winters Competing In Wellington

World-Famous Dressage Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén Enjoys Her Winters Competing In Wellington

Aiming for a possible eighth Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo, Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén of Sweden has made Wellington her winter home for the past 10 years.

As one of the most respected and high-profile riders at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), Tinne has kept horses central to her life since childhood and has found happiness in the warm Florida winters.

Tinne’s mother Berit, also a dressage rider and a horse show organizer (including dressage at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm), got her daughter involved in the sport at a young age and had her learning from some of the best in the world, like Walter Christensen, who was the chef d’équipe for Sweden at the time.

While dressage wasn’t a foregone conclusion for Tinne, she does think that the sport, which requires patience and intricacy, suits her well.

“I’m the kind of person who likes to find a new solution to different problems,” she explained. “I can sit forever and try to figure something out, and that’s a little bit how dressage can be, too. The relationship with the horse can be like that, to figure out how they think and react and how I can get them to do it the best way. I think it’s really fascinating, so I think dressage suits my personality.”

Tinne turned professional and started her own business with dressage horses at the age of 23 and made it to two Olympic Games before a meeting with Antonia Ax:son Johnson of Lövsta Stuteri changed her life in 1999. Antonia had a four-year-old stallion and asked Tinne to ride him. Since then, Lövsta Stuteri has become one of the top equine breeding operations, offering stallion breeding around the world.

“We started to talk, and after an hour in the indoor schooling arena, I ended up going home with a new job instead, which was moving over to work for her,” Tinne recalled. “It was the best thing I ever could have done. It changed my life and my possibility to be a professional rider.”

Tinne and Antonia went on to incredible success on the world stage with top performances at eight European Championships, seven FEI Dressage World Cup Finals, five FEI World Equestrian Games and five more Olympic appearances.

The standout in Tinne’s long list of talented mounts was Don Auriello, a Hanoverian gelding that received the silver medal at the 2016 Gothenburg FEI Dressage World Cup Final in Tinne’s home country of Sweden.

But among the standout memories of Don Auriello for Tinne were his Friday Night Stars freestyle performances at the AGDF.

“It’s going to stay in my heart forever, I think,” she said. “The atmosphere and the feeling in the evening is a cool memory. Don Auriello loved the atmosphere and loved to be in front of people. That’s a great feeling to sit on a horse that enjoys it and wants to show himself. I think it’s going to stay my favorite memory. I have a lot of other fantastic horses, but he was very special.”

Tinne first competed in Wellington in 2010 at the World Dressage Masters at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. Together with Antonia and her daughter, Sophie Morner, who had already competed jumpers at the Winter Equestrian Festival in previous years, Tinne and Antonia still come to Wellington every winter, and Tinne shares stabling with Sophie at Lövsta South.

When she first came to Wellington, her first impression was one of awe.

“It’s like a dream world for a horse person to see so many stables,” Tinne said. “You think you are coming to a normal community, but it’s just horses everywhere, and I think it is just great. Almost the whole town is built for horses, so it’s an impressive thing to see first-hand. It’s fascinating, and it has grown so much since then as well, but even then, it was amazing.”

That favorable impression extends to the AGDF. Tinne credits the show for its international feel, professional management, fantastic footing, top judges, and safe, horse-friendly stabling.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to prepare my horses for the championships than being here in the winter,” she said. “The first year when we came home [to Sweden] in the spring, I was worried the horses would be tired because they [competed] all winter, but actually the horses that were here over the winter were more fit and more ready to work than the ones that had been home in the winter in the cold.”

Being a part of the Wellington community has developed over the years for Tinne and Lövsta. Lövsta was a major festival sponsor this winter and presented the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during AGDF 1 in January.

Last year, Tinne and Antonia, along with Louise Nathhorst, were instrumental in bringing the Lövsta Future Challenge, a concept that started in Sweden, to Wellington. The series gives young Grand Prix horses the opportunity to compete for valuable international experience at a major competition, prize money and recognition early in their careers.

Antonia also pledged that for every entry in the Lövsta Future Challenge, Lövsta would donate $250 to the local charity, Friends of Palm Beach, a nonprofit organization that cleans the beaches of Palm Beach regularly to remove incoming plastic, trash and unnatural debris, and to educate the community on the effects of this on the environment and marine life. They partner with other nonprofit job placement programs to help end the cycle of homelessness while also helping to end the cycle of trash in the ocean. Lövsta ended up giving $8,500 to Friends of Palm Beach in 2020.

Outside of the horse show, Tinne’s husband, Jan, who works for Garmin on sailing boat navigation, joins her every winter, and her son Lucas came to Wellington and attended school in the community. While Lucas is 19 now and stays in Sweden, Tinne still enjoys the opportunities that life in Wellington affords her.

“I think this combination of being able to compete and train and still be social with my family at the same time is a dream for me,” she explained. “If you’re in Europe, then you travel for days before you even get to the show, and then you are gone for a week. Here, I can compete and still be home, which is very different. I can make the horses my focus here and still keep up with my family. I get to have both.”

While Tokyo is on her mind, the fluctuating situation regarding major sporting events leaves the rest of 2021 up in the air. For Tinne, she will continue to do what she has always done — focus on her horses and her current situation. That focus on the details that drew her to dressage in the first place remains her driving force.

“With everything going on in the world right now, I am just happy that we can keep competing and that it is possible to even do this at the same time,” Tinne explained. “That we can keep going with our passion and our professional lives is great right now; many people can barely live. I just like to stay prepared and see what happens.”

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