A local favorite, the legendary Margie Engle is one of the most successful show jumping riders of all time, with hundreds of Grand Prix wins. She is a 10-time American Grandprix Association Rider of the Year. Between 1984 and 2005, Engle won six World Cup and 20 Nations Cup titles, as well as the team silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games and team gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games, where she also seized the individual bronze medal. Engle was part of the silver medal team at the 2006 World Equestrian Games. As Engle celebrated her 60th birthday in 2018, she proved once again that she remains a force to be reckoned when she was victorious with Gladewinds Farm’s Royce in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* in the final Saturday Night Lights event of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival. Engle and Royce were able to speed around the jump-off course to take home their second individual five-star victory in a time of 39.35 seconds. She and her husband, equine veterinarian Dr. Steve Engle, live in Wellington. Aside from her riding career, Engle holds a degree in business education from Florida International University.
World-class equestrian sport has returned to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival, which opened on Jan. 9 and continues until March 31. With more than 70 divisions of hunter-jumper competition featuring everything from short-stirrup up to Olympic-level show jumping, WEF is the premier winter equestrian destination for many of the world’s best horses and riders.
Managed by Equestrian Sport Productions, WEF is the largest and longest-running equestrian festival in the world, with more than 8,000 horses competing throughout the winter circuit and welcoming competitors of all ages to the venue to enjoy the temperate South Florida winter weather.
The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center has long been recognized as one of the finest equestrian venues in the world. Each winter, riders from 42 countries and all 50 states travel to Wellington to compete at PBIEC. The venue covers 500 acres of pristine landscape, with 80 acres of competition rings alone.
“The WEF circuit is truly an incredible experience for riders, spectators, owners and sponsors. It’s the highlight of our year annually, and our organization continues to strive to provide the best possible competition atmosphere throughout the season,” said Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions. “We are continually impressed by the numbers of horses and competitors each season and are anticipating another very successful circuit in 2019.”
The four CSI 5* Grand Prix classes, the highest designation of international show jumping in the sport, will take place on Feb. 9 (WEF 5), Feb. 23 (WEF 7), March 9 (WEF 9) and March 30 (WEF 12) in the International Ring at PBIEC. These competitions feature the top horse and rider combinations in the world and include four FEI World Ranking classes during each week. The final CSI 5* competition of the circuit (WEF 12) hosts the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, the most prestigious international class of the 2019 season. This year, the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* will once again take place on the final Saturday of the season.
The $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center kicked off the Saturday Night Lights series on Saturday, Jan. 12, pitting males against females in a battle to see which gender will come out on top. Always a crowd favorite, spectators were encouraged to support their favorite team by wearing either blue or pink.
WEF welcomes Equinimity LLC as a second-year title sponsor of the popular WEF Challenge Cup classes, Thursday’s weekly highlight competition. The Equinimity WEF Challenge classes began Thursday, Jan. 10 and continue through Thursday, March 28, with distributed prize money ranging from $35,000 up to $132,000.
The CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic classes are once again set to take place throughout the circuit at both PBIEC, Equestrian Village and on the Derby Field, culminating with a final class under the lights on Saturday, March 23 with the $132,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Classic Final, which takes place under the lights in the International Ring and offers a substantial prize for the overall series winner.
The season will also see a return of the prestigious Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series, showcasing the next generation of talent for five editions of competition. Hosted at both the main grounds of PBIEC and at Equestrian Village, the Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series is sure to impress, once again featuring many of the world’s top riders under the age of 25.
The Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, a major philanthropic event hosted annually at PBIEC, is set for the evening of Saturday, Feb. 3. The GCC has raised more than $12.2 million for more than 250 Palm Beach County charities.
The GCC is a pro-am style relay race between teams of riders in costume. This year’s theme is “We Are The World,” and teams will have the opportunity to represent countries and nations, along with their traditional customs in costumes and decorations. The winning team will claim more than $150,000 for their paired charity, while all participating charities receive at least $15,000.
A continual crowd favorite, the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO 4*, featuring team format competition between riders representing their home countries, will be part of Saturday Night Lights in 2019 and will be hosted on Saturday evening March 2 during WEF 8. In 2018, Great Britain claimed top honors with a relatively young team featuring Amanda Derbyshire, Emily Moffitt, Ben Maher and Emily Mason, who will look to defend their title once again this year. Spectators are encouraged to represent their favorite team and country, as prizes are given to the “most spirited spectator” throughout the evening. Grab your flags and bring the family!
The $100,000 USHJA/WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular during WEF 6 draws eyes to an evening of beautiful hunter display, as riders competing for one of the discipline’s yearly top honors take to the International Ring for an evening of traditional and classic hunter competition. WEF 6 also features a varying group of hunter divisions competing in the International Ring throughout the week, while FEI CSI 3* jumper classes will take place at Equestrian Village.
WEF concludes on Sunday, March 31, with the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the Derby Field to officially end the 12 weeks of the season. Top hunter riders will set out on the beautiful course in an attempt to capture the final major prize of the winter circuit. Spectators are encouraged to enjoy the final day of WEF from the berm on the Derby Field or on the adjacent grassy hill.
General admission is free to the public at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during the WEF circuit, which hosts competitions from Wednesday mornings through Sunday afternoons. Numerous vendors and shops are open throughout the circuit, showcasing items and products ranging from horse wear and tack to art, jewelry, fine clothing and emerging technologies.
The Saturday Night Lights competitions serve as the highlight class of the week for top international show jumpers and the most popular for spectators. They take place on each Saturday of the season beginning at 7 p.m. Family-friendly entertainment is offered throughout the evening, including live music, face painting, carousel rides, children’s activities and more.
The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 3400 Equestrian Club Drive in Wellington. For more information about PBIEC or WEF, visit www.pbiec.com or call (561) 793-5867.
The support and commitment to the Winter Equestrian Festival continues to increase each year, welcoming new and longstanding sponsors to Wellington for the highly anticipated winter circuit, greeting riders of different ages, demographics and origins alike for three consecutive months.
For WEF sponsors, presence at the competition offers the opportunity to further invest in the accelerated growth of equestrian sport in the United States, while simultaneously reaching the valuable equestrian market of competitors, enthusiasts, spectators and followers.
Over the years, new and innovative ways to incorporate sponsor messaging and branding have been woven into the overall development of sponsorship packages at the venue and throughout the season, which include arena presence with branded and distinctive jumps, branded signage, digital and social media marketing campaigns, and interactive activations, to name just a few.
The equestrian community is a tight-knit family, with many supporters and businesses continuing their involvement in the sport for many years, while fresh brands and businesses also are welcomed each season — an exciting development for the growth of the sport. Without committed and dedicated sponsors, the sport would not be able to succeed the way it has in recent years at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
“Sponsorship is a crucial component of our business model, and support is essential to the continued expansion and diversification of equestrian sport,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner and CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions. “We are honored to have the continued and established commitment from our loyal partners and are extremely motivated to continue introducing equestrian sport to new markets, as the opportunities within this domain are endless.”
With each new year, equestrian sport and the season at PBIEC continues to attract more riders, horses and enthusiasts, which is a positive sign for the trajectory of the equestrian market as a whole. Sponsors are a key reason behind PBIEC and WEF’s ongoing success.
The Winter Equestrian Festival would like to thank the following sponsors: Adequan, Alessandro Albanese, Animal Medical Center, Animo, Antares, Bainbridge Companies, the Business Development Board, Brazilian Court, Bruno Delgrange, Camping World, Captive One, Cargill, Champion Equine Insurance, Crown Family, Dever, Discover the Palm Beaches, Douglas Elliman, Dover Saddlery, Dutta Corp, Equine Tack & Nutritionals, Equinimity, Everglades Farm Equipment, FarmVet, Fidelity Investments, Gold Coast Feed, Griffis Residential, Gut Einhaus, Hampton Inn, Hermès, Hollow Creek Farm, Horseware Ireland, Hunt LTD, Karina Brez Jewelry, Keyes Art Gallery, Lugano Diamonds, Marshall & Sterling, Martha Jolicoeur, Maria Mendelsohn, Net Jets, Nutrena, Omega Alpha, Osphos, the Palm Beach Equine Clinic, the Palm Beach International Academy, the Palm Beach Sports Commission, Pegasus Builders, Perfect Products, Platinum Performance, Rolex, Rose Hill Farm, Rosenbaum, Rushy Marsh Farm, Solic, Sotheby’s, Sportfot, Spy Coast Farm, Triple Crown Custom, UHealth Miami, Vita Flex, Voltaire and Wellington Equestrian Realty.
The Winter Equestrian Festival began Wednesday, Jan. 9 and continues through Sunday, March 31. WEF features 12 weeks of top international show jumping, hunter and equitation competition at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The event features 11 weeks of FEI competition, concluding with the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, March 30.
To learn more about sponsorships at the Winter Equestrian Festival, visit www.pbiec.com or contact Whitney Stahl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Winter Equestrian Festival is the world’s largest and longest-running horse show circuit — an elite combination of competition, community, social activity and more, with the start each season bringing the horse world to Wellington.
The 12-week schedule offers a variety of competitions for all ages and experience levels in the hunter, jumper and equitation divisions. Beginning in January and concluding in March, WEF welcomes riders and visitors from around the world, distributing nearly $10 million in prize money throughout the three months. Simply put, there is a reason it has been named the world’s premier winter equestrian event.
WEF is not just an exceptional competition hub for athletes and spectators, but also provides a luxurious hangout, perfect for activities and events outside the show ring. From shopping and casual dining, to exhilarating entertainment and educational opportunities, WEF offers a unique experience for all those who come to visit. General admission to PBIEC is free and open to the public all season.
Looking to purchase a new top for your night on the town? Searching for the perfect gift for a friend to give them a little slice of South Florida heaven? Maybe you are a few minutes away from competing and forgot your boot socks. Whatever you are searching for, you’ll find it within the WEF shopping boutiques. More than 100 vendors occupy the show grounds each week and offer a wide variety of products, styles and sizes. The shops are spread over several locations on site, including on Hunter Hill, over the PBIEC bridge, on Vendor Row and around the many competition rings.
Vendor Row hosts the majority of vendors in the center of the grounds, but also check out the boutiques located by the International Arena. Both areas have shopping that cater to all equestrian and non-equestrian needs and range from luxury products to inexpensive merchandise. For those looking to commemorate their visit to the horse show, the WEF Boutique offers clothing, posters and souvenirs with the iconic WEF logo.
In addition to its multitude of shopping opportunities, WEF also has an abundance of food and drink, for a quiet lunch or a larger private event. If you are searching for a quick bite during the day, visit one of the on-site vendors that offer everything from burgers and fries to salads and wraps. One fan favorite is Tito’s Tacos, a Mexican-style eatery with tacos, burritos, chips and salsa, and, of course, margaritas. Another is the popular Oasis Café, which offers an assortment of fresh and light meals that can be ordered on-site or ahead of time by phone. You can also sit down at the Tiki Hut to eat a delicious meal while overlooking competition in the International Arena. The Tiki Hut menu includes a variety of burgers and sandwiches, customized salads, grilled chicken and fish, and more.
If you are looking for a more upscale dining experience, be sure to try out the White Horse Fashion Cuisine restaurant. Located by the main entrance to the show grounds, White Horse provides the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing and refreshing dinner with a wide range of food and drink choices. PBIEC also caters to special and corporate events throughout the season. No matter what type of food or experience you are craving, there is something for everyone on-site at WEF.
Of course, the main attraction to WEF is the high level of show jumping competition. And there is no better night to witness this exhilarating entertainment than on Saturday night. The Saturday Night Lights attraction has become a favorite for both competitors and spectators.
Beyond watching the best riders in the world, there are many activities for the whole family to enjoy. Pony rides, petting zoos and stilt-walkers are just a few of the many things you’ll see when you walk through the front gates at WEF on Saturday night — and it is all free to the general public. Saturday Night Lights is not just for the kids, because adults can also have fun at one of the many bars located around the International Arena both during and after the Grand Prix. You can also dance the night away at the Gallery after the conclusion of the class, the heartbeat of the venue after competition concludes. If you can only attend WEF one day a week, Saturday is the best choice.
Outside the ring, the Winter Equestrian Festival continues to offer several learning experiences and activities for everyone. Come take a tour of the world-renowned facility followed by a catered lunch. Explore all 12 of the competition rings, the stabling area where horses prepare for competition, and a stroll through Vendor Row.
Perhaps you’d like to forgo the tour and sit in and expand your knowledge at one of the popular Lunch & Learn classes. Hosted on Thursdays weekly during WEF, the Lunch & Learn series provides educational platforms for horse enthusiasts to learn more about a variety of equine-related topics, including management and maintenance, horsemanship and care, as well as emerging technologies and treatment methods available in the equine veterinary industry. Speak with experts in their respective industries and enter to win fun, end-of-season prizes.
Whether staying for the entire 12 weeks of competition or just passing through for a few days, there is plenty to do at WEF. You can witness the world’s best riders compete daily, dine at a variety of restaurants, shop until you drop, entertain the kids or enjoy an adults-only night out, and learn more about various equine topics — all without leaving the showgrounds.
For more information about the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, visit www.pbiec.com.
The 10th annual Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, will take center stage on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
With more than 360 applications received for the chance to participate in the 10th annual event, this year’s initial charity selection took place throughout Palm Beach County via a traveling lottery drum. At stake: a chance to share the purse of more than one million dollars. To date, the event has distributed $12.2 million to more than 230 Palm Beach County charities.
“We are very excited to see such a diverse group of nonprofit organizations join us for this 10th edition,” said Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the event. “The encouragements and true camaraderie witnessed on social media, between nonprofits during the selection process, was heartwarming. We hope that this year’s GCC will unite all involved, from the sponsors and riders, to the nonprofits involved and the community at large.”
Blending philanthropy and equestrian sports, the GCC is an exciting show jumping event that brings hope to Palm Beach County charities every year. The event will support a wide array of nonprofits, such as Speak Up For Kids.
“For a local charity, making a direct local impact, as we do through Speak Up For Kids, being selected for the GCC is a huge vote of confidence and exciting opportunity for increased impact,” said Shaw Thomas, board president of Speak Up For Kids.
Additional charity drawings were held during the first weeks of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival and the final two wildcard teams will be drawn the night of the GCC.
“We hold a strong belief that change happens through the power of united communities,” said Anne Caroline Valtin, executive director of the GCC. “From the amazing sponsors who make the event possible, the equestrians who donate their time, skills and horses to compete, to the passionate and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to better the community, attending the GCC will simply restore your faith in humanity.”
The 2019 GCC to be held on Saturday, Feb. 2 starting at 6 p.m. during the Saturday Night Lights series at PBIEC. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, this year’s theme of “We are the World” will focus on promoting unity and celebrating the cultural differences in the community.
As part of the Ringside Chalk Art Festival, each Wellington school will be provided with a 4-foot by 6-foot giant chalkboard and have three hours to bring their creation to life, showcasing what the charitable causes represented that evening means to them. A panel of judges composed of Carolina King and Leslie Pfeiffer of the Wellington Art Society, award-winning Florida artist Laurie Snow Hein and Art Cellar owner Jen Hernandez will facilitate the judging process and present the awards. The GCC guarantees a minimum of a $1,000 donation to each school’s art department for participating.
Furthermore, the choirs of Palm Beach Central High School under the direction of Scott Houchins and Wellington High School under the direction of Bradford Chase will join forces in an unprecedented performance that is sure to leave the public inspired.
For the latest event information, visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com or www.facebook.com/greatcharitychallenge.
Great Charity Challenge Initial Charity List
Back to Basics
Boca West Children’s Foundation
Children’s Home Society
Community Caring Center of Palm Beach County
Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
Danny & Ron’s Rescue
Friends of Foster Children
Friends of Palm Beach
Genesis Assistance Dogs
Habitat Housing Solutions
Holy Ground Shelter for Homeless
Hope 4 Mobility
Kids Cancer Foundation
Our Sister’s Place
South Florida Science
Center & Aquarium
Speak Up For Kids
Spirit of Giving Network
Wellington Public Schools
Each Saturday evening during the Winter Equestrian Festival season, the stadium lights click on, the cars — packed with families — begin to trickle into the venue and riders begin to warm their horses up before their biggest class of the week. Welcome to Saturday Night Lights at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center–.
The weekly evening competition begins at 7 p.m. with the first horse and rider combination entering through under the iconic bridge, but gates open at 6 p.m. for the public and spectators, with a multitude of activities for the whole family to enjoy. General admission to Saturday Night Lights is free, and parking remains $20 per car load, providing a perfect, inexpensive evening for family and friends.
Some of the PBIEC staple activities on Saturday nights include free rides on the Venetian carousel, a petting zoo, face painting and live music throughout the night. Occasionally, there are ponies on the grounds, some offering pony rides and others offering adorable photo opportunities with the kids. There are also a variety of performers in attendance, ranging from jugglers to men on stilts to the beloved bubble man. Many vendors keep their shops open for browsing during the evening hours, located around the International Ring. While exploring, spectators glancing into the ring and warm-up areas will be able to catch a glimpse of the riders walking the course, where they evaluate the jumps and create their plan for the evening’s competition.
After all the activities, everyone in the family is sure to be able to find something to eat with the large variety of dining options available. There are many food trucks on site, serving everything from pizza to popcorn to tacos. For those looking for a formal dining experience, White Horse Fashion Cuisine is always open in season, and there are a number of VIP options available. VIP seating options include the Tiki Hut, the Gallery, Beachside, the International Club, the Wellington Club and Central Park.
Each Saturday evening class features an elite Grand Prix competition, in which riders compete against one another, with entries ranging up to 40 combinations, as jumps can fluctuate in height from 1.50 to 1.60 meters, and the width can be measured up to 2.20 meters. Elements such as open water, liverpools, oxers, combinations of two or more jumps in a row, as well as decorated and themed jumps are all different components, which test the trust, communication and athleticism of the horse and rider.
The competitors are among the best in the world, and it is common to see Olympians and elite champions jumping each week. The ultimate goal for participating combinations is to leave all the jumps standing and cross through the timers within the time allowed, or be assessed time penalties, which will prevent riders from moving forward to the jump-off. Combinations who finish within the time and do not knock down any rails during their trip around the course will return for a second round against the clock, known as the jump-off.
The jump-off will have fans holding their breath, as riders navigate risky turns and dash at speed around a shortened course to determine the winner. When there’s a tight race to the finish, the crowd goes so silent you could hear a pin drop. An eruption of applause and cheering takes over when riders finish through the timers without incurring any faults, while the victor usually treats the crowd to an emotional celebration after crossing through the timers.
The top three finishers take to the podium for the well-known champagne shower before taking a victory lap with their equine partners, with many riders tossing their ribbons to lucky fans in the stands or signing autographs near the in-gate.
At the conclusion of the class, the evening continues at the Gallery with an exciting after party, which all adult guests are invited to join and celebrate the evening and its top finishers.
For more information about Saturday Night Lights at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, visit www.pbiec.com.
Martha Jolicoeur remembers when Wellington was a small community with big, equine-inspired dreams. It wasn’t always the winter horse show capital of the world, and Jolicoeur has witnessed its evolution. Even more, she has played a role in the growth.
An accomplished rider herself, Jolicoeur came to the crossroads of her amateur career in the competition ring and was drawn to a second passion. She obtained her real estate license in 1991 and is now a member of the elite Douglas Elliman Real Estate Sports & Entertainment Division with a distinguished reputation within the Wellington real estate market.
Q: How long has your real estate business focused on the Wellington market?
A: I have been coming to Wellington since 1979. I stayed at the Palm Beach Polo Club for the first time that year, and I haven’t missed a season since. When I stopped riding, real estate became my competitive sport, because that’s how passionate I am about it. But specifically, my real estate business has been focused on the Wellington market since 2005, after I got my license in Florida in 2004.
Q: How was the market different then than it is today?
A: When I started in Wellington, there was a boom in the market. You listed things, and they sold right away. I still feel that we have a very sound market, and more people are coming to Wellington than in 2005 because the horse show, dressage and the international aspects have all expanded. We are dealing with a larger base of people coming to Wellington looking to own property. The other thing that is positively affecting the market now are the tax advantages of being a Florida resident.
Q: What do you think the biggest change has been in real estate over the last decade?
A: Growth has been the biggest facilitator for a strong market in Wellington. The horse show has grown, and the array of people has grown. Before, people were renting more than buying, but today more people have bought because they realize the horse show is here to stay, and they spend more nights in Florida than anywhere else throughout the year. I would say that the majority of all equestrians have someplace to call home in Wellington.
Q: How have the types of properties changed over time?
A: There are always trends. For example, when I first started, I sold a lot of condos. The trend was, “What can you get for the least amount of money?” Then there were years where barns sold like cupcakes and large houses didn’t, as well as years where everyone wanted large houses independent of farms. Now, I feel like we have a nice mix. The market is good, and you have to price appropriately within the market if you really want to sell.
Q: How does the equestrian community within
Wellington make the real estate market unique?
A: The horses! Without horses, it would not be the same at all. Wellington’s equestrian industry was founded by Bill Ylvisaker when he brought polo here. Without the horses, it would be the same as anywhere else in South Florida. It truly is the winter equestrian capital of the world, where everyone who speaks the same language of horse comes together. That gives it a real sense of community.
Q: What has the Wellington sales climate looked like over the last several years and where do you see it going?
A: It goes with the economy, so we have seen ups and downs. From 2008 to 2011, we had a pretty big recession and people were investing in real estate like it was the stock market. I think the market is healthy right now, but everyone in horses seeks different things for what they need. It’s interesting, because we have the same core group of people moving around. Perhaps they start here looking for a condo in Palm Beach Polo, and then they decide they would like to have a farm. Then they have a farm for a few years, and it’s time to go to the beach or scale down. But it’s the same group moving to different phases of their lives and businesses.
Q: What’s the most popular trend you have seen recently in home design?
A: When I first arrived in Wellington in 2005, the Mediterranean look was very big and every kind of brown and beige was it. Now, we have a much more scaled-down, simplified, Restoration Hardware genre where less is more, and the colors are lighter and more neutral. Clean and simple with an equestrian style is always a good theme.
Q:. How do people best utilize the limited space on
smaller Wellington farms?
A: It’s completely different than farms you see in other parts of the country. The key is meticulous maintenance so that you can use every square inch.
Q: Do real estate offerings in Wellington span the gamut of price ranges, size, etc.? Is there something for everyone?
A: Yes, there is something for everyone, and the market is healthy for everything now. Because so many people are relocating to Florida as permanent residents, large houses are becoming more popular again. People are really living here! The season is a very strong six months now versus three months. Also, people who compete with children often move here because school starts in August and finishes in May, so the schedule can match up nicely with the horse show schedule.
Q: How popular are equestrian facilities with no residential space in Wellington?
A: Many people used to want a farm in Grand Prix Village and a home in the Polo Club. That’s still popular, but what I have found recently with a lot of the people from Europe or more urban areas is that it has always been their dream to live with the horses. In both cases it’s like trying to convince someone to drink French chardonnay versus California — you are never going to change their minds. They pretty much know after renting for a few years what they want, which is what most people do to get a feel for the area.
Q: What’s your best advice to someone looking to buy or sell
in the Wellington market?
A: To a buyer, I would say do the research. Take your time and watch the market to see what sells quickly. To a seller, I would say do as much homework as you can. Clean up, touch up, landscape, perfect your lighting and remove personal items from your space. A buyer wants to walk in and envision themselves there.
Q: What is one real estate trend that surprised you in Wellington during 2018?
A: It was a great year for farms! I was honestly surprised that as many farms sold.
Deeridge Farms, the world-class equestrian venue owned by Jeremy and Peggy Jacobs, is hosting three of show jumping’s biggest events in 2019 as part of its expanded Palm Beach Masters Series. New to the series this year is the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of the United States of America, which returns to Wellington after a brief absence.
The Jacobs family name has been synonymous with equestrian sports for decades. They have hosted events at their picturesque Wellington farm for the past three years. The 2019 Palm Beach Masters Series schedule will open with the Palm Beach Masters CSI4*-W (Jan. 30 – Feb. 3) featuring the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Wellington, one of the final two East Coast qualifiers determining which North American show jumping riders qualify for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April.
The closing event is the Deeridge Derby (Feb. 28 – March 3), a USEF nationally rated show where the nation’s most elegant hunter horses and riders will take center stage. The highlight will be the highly competitive $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Last year’s winners, Brad Wolf’s Private Practice and Victoria Colvin, went on to top the 2018 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships.
In between these events is the icing on the cake — the newly added Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of the United States of America (Feb. 14-17). A thrilling CSIO5* team competition, this Nations Cup will act as the only qualifier in the U.S. for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain next fall. The event will also include the FEI Jumping Nations Cup youth competitions for Young Riders, Juniors and Children, showcasing the next generation of elite show jumping talent. The Nations Cup will be hosted annually at Deeridge Farms through the year 2021, and previous events hosted by the Jacobs family leaves little doubt that it will be presented on a grand scale.
The show grounds at Deeridge Farms feature breathtaking scenery, unrivaled hospitality, custom-built jumping rings and world-class facilities. The grounds also feature diverse shopping boutiques to browse and enjoy, as well as the venue’s renowned VIP Club, an exquisite two-story destination for watching the classes in either of the two competition arenas. There, guests are offered culinary delicacies with an ample variety of beverages, all provided with attentive service tailored to every need.
“This is an amazing event,” said Irish show jumper Daniel Coyle, who won last year’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Wellington at Deeridge Farms. “The conditions could not be any better; the footing is perfect and being here is just a fantastic experience.”
Celebrating its 110th year in 2019, the FEI Jumping Nations Cup is equestrian sport’s oldest and most prestigious team competition. National federations from around the world assemble teams of their most talented horse and rider combinations, and the groups compete as a team, just as they do in the Olympics. The worldwide Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup series is split into six regions: Europe, North/Central America/Caribbean, South America, Middle East, Asia/Australasia and Africa. Canada, Mexico and the United States host only one qualifier each.
The first FEI Nations Cup competition held in the U.S. was in 1911 at the National Horse Show at New York’s Madison Square Garden. It continued there through 1998, with a brief stint at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, from 1989-1995. Other U.S. hosts have included Boston, from 1929-1932; the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, from 1948-1972; and the Washington International Horse Show, from 1973-2001.
A Nations Cup was first held in Wellington in 2002, but the only United States qualifier for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final moved to Ocala for 2015 through 2018. Now, thanks to the Jacobs family, that qualifier is back in Wellington.
The Jacobs family has a storied history in equestrian sport. Family patriarch Jeremy Jacobs was a highly successful rider in the hunter divisions, regularly winning championships at major horse shows. He and wife Peggy have also owned or part-owned several elite Grand Prix horses that have represented the U.S. internationally, including, among others, the legendary Authentic. The well-known bay won two Olympic gold medals with Beezie Madden and was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame last year.
Jeremy and Peggy’s children have earned many of their own accolades in the saddle. Lou Jacobs was a successful Grand Prix rider in the 1980s and 1990s. He was named Grand Prix Rookie of the Year in 1982 and rode on winning Nations Cup teams at some of the world’s biggest horse shows, including Aachen and Washington, D.C. Still active at the sport’s highest levels, Charlie Jacobs has similarly competed on several winning Nations Cup teams and has represented the U.S. in four of the last five FEI Jumping World Cup Finals. Also still active, Katie Jacobs Robinson competes on the big-league hunter circuit and, like her father, has won championships at virtually every major horse show.
“We are thrilled and honored to bring the prestigious Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup back to Wellington,” Lou Jacobs said. “From the outset, our goal with the series has been to ensure that Wellington is a favorite destination for the highest levels of equestrian sport, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to producing a world-class experience for all of our riders, horses and spectators. Above all else, we hope to engage and inspire future generations of riders and equestrian fans. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Wellington, the U.S. capital of horse sport, and in particular to Deeridge Farms, for the Nations Cup and for what we believe will be one of the most exciting equestrian events to be held here in a long time.”
For more information about the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of the United States of America and the Palm Beach Masters Series, visit www.palmbeachmasters.com.
Show jumping star Adrienne Sternlicht certainly had a summer to remember — and she is hoping to continue that success here in Wellington this winter.
The 25-year-old was the youngest rider on the U.S. gold medal show jumping team at the World Equestrian Games held in Tryon, N.C., this past September. It was her first selection to a senior U.S. national team.
Although she has had numerous outstanding results in her young career, including her first major victory aboard Toulago at the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix in May, her efforts at WEG stand out.
The FEI World Equestrian Games are the premier global championship for equestrian sports. WEG is held every four years and features riders from around the world competing in eight disciplines. The games alternate with the Olympics, which will be held in 2020 in Tokyo. Both have team and individual competitions for show jumping.
Sternlicht couldn’t pinpoint her most memorable win, but her performance at WEG is something she won’t soon forget.
“My favorite ride in recent memory was the final round of the individual final at WEG,” said Sternlicht, who finished 11th during the individual competition. “I was so relaxed, it felt like I was going for a Sunday stroll. In that moment, I felt more confident than I ever have in the saddle, and pure enjoyment of the experience in what was another pressure-filled ride.”
At WEG, Sternlicht competed aboard Cristalline, whose nickname is Stella. She is excited about the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, where she will be showing Cristalline at several of the major Grand Prix events later in the season.
Sternlicht began her partnership with Cristalline in 2016 and started to train with U.S. Olympic double gold medalist McLain Ward, a fan favorite at WEF.
Ward believes his students should set their own goals, instead of him setting them. But he has a good idea what Sternlicht is positioning herself for.
“I would say the World Cup final, a major Nations Cup in the summer and to be successful in major Grand Prix events with Cristalline,” said Ward, one of the most successful riders of all time, who was the No. 1 ranked U.S. rider at the end of 2018. “She has a new horse called Just A Gamble who we will aim toward the Pan American Games.”
It all adds up to a whirlwind of activity.
“I’m going to have a busy season,” Sternlicht said. “I have a few new horses for the season, and others coming back from time off. I’ll start showing Week 1 and gradually get my top horses going to peak them a bit later during season.”
Sternlicht doesn’t remember her first win on ponies, since so much has happened to her since she began competing.
“I find that in our sport, many of the most memorable moments are not necessarily wins, but instead pivotal rounds or competitions,” said Sternlicht, who turns 26 on May 9. “I’d say WEG has been my most meaningful riding experience, not because of the competition itself, but because of the road to getting there.”
Sternlicht, who finished 2018 as the ninth-ranked U.S. rider, is continuing an upward trend heading into the current season. Her passion for horses started in her friend’s backyard while growing up in Greenwich, Conn.
“My best friend growing up, [Amanda Shulman], had a 17.1-hand horse in her backyard named Samson,” Sternlicht recalled. “One day her mom let me ride him at a playdate, and I refused to get off. She and her sister, Sydney, are two of my best friends to this day, and it’s so great to get to share the sport with Sydney and their mom, Jill.”
Sydney Shulman is now 23 and remembers those days with good humor.
“It was an everyday ritual after school,” said Sydney Shulman, who is an up-and-coming rider and will be showing at WEF. “We would hang out and ride. It was hilarious. We had sleepovers, and we did anything we could to be in the barn.”
The fun didn’t stop there. It carried over to school.
“In second grade for the Halloween parade, Adrienne dressed as a pony, I was the dalmatian and Amanda was the rider,” Sydney Shulman recalled. “We would dress up in our costumes all year.”
On a more serious note, she is proud of her friend’s success.
“She’s very disciplined, super goal-motivated,” she said of Sternlicht. “It’s inspiring for me as a friend. She’s super competitive in everything she does, whether it’s running, playing squash or riding. She usually reaches or surpasses her goals. She’s like a sister to me.”
Sternlicht has become a serious competitor on the international circuit, also competing on U.S. Nations Cup teams and in major events around the world. There was a point where she cut back on riding and competing to concentrate on her education.
“I never stopped riding, but I rode as more of a hobby when I was in high school,” Sternlicht said. “During that time, a lot of my friends ramped up their riding and were homeschooled in Wellington during the winter circuit. I went to boarding school and rode once a week if I was lucky. I played varsity squash for my high school [Choate Rosemary Hall], so I would compete on my off weekends from squash tournaments.”
Ironically, while Sternlicht and the younger Shulman became professional riders, Amanda Shulman became a chef.
While a rider’s life is focused on training and showing, there is some downtime.
“I love to do yoga, run or cook,” said Sternlicht, who was also a competitive skier before becoming immersed in the equestrian world. “My cooking skills are coming! I mainly make vegetables. I like to eat really healthy, so I cook simple dishes. I love that we settle in Wellington for the winter and get into a routine. It’s very grounding.”
Sternlicht is also hoping that standing on the podium becomes routine for her as well.
The horse business runs through their veins. Maggie, Charlie and Haylie Jayne are sixth-generation equestrians. They were raised in the barn — and that’s a good thing.
They are part of a well-respected family of equestrians who grew up outside of Chicago but put down roots in Wellington during the Winter Equestrian Festival. They have contended at the elite levels in both the hunter and jumper divisions, earning titles at every level, from small ponies to Grand Prix.
Their father, Alex, and mother, Linda, run the highly successful Our Day Farm in Elgin, Illinois, and that’s where their three children were introduced at an early age to the wonderful world of horses.
Maggie is the first born and became a professional rider after graduating high school. Charlie, the middle child, has had a very successful show jumping career, highlighted by winning the $1 Million Grand Prix in Ocala in 2015 aboard Chill R Z. Haylie is the youngest and has made a name for herself as a top hunter champion.
They are competitors and trainers, who have dozens of clients participating in many classes representing Old Day Farm in Wellington. As riders, they are looking forward to the current season at WEF.
The 34-year-old Maggie is focused on preparing Arizona ODF in the 7-year-old young jumpers division and Kaptain Kirk in the pre-green hunters. Her biggest career victory was winning the prestigious International Hunter Derby at the Devon Horse Show — twice.
“I am gearing up for Week 2 and Week 4 on the grass [at WEF],” said the 32-year-old Charlie, one of the top riders in show jumping who travels to major events around the world. “I’m aiming my top two horses for the Thermal and Ocala millions at the end of circuit.”
Haylie, 30, is determined to continue her achievements from last season.
“I’m lucky enough to have a really exciting first year green hunter, Queen Celeste,” she said. “She was circuit champion last year in the greens, and I would love to repeat that.”
She is also enthusiastic about the prospects for Limini, an 8-year-old that she is pointing toward competing in the 1.40s.
Hardin Towell isn’t surprised at the Jayne family’s accomplishments together. Towell, 31, a successful Grand Prix competitor and trainer based in Wellington, met members of the family at the Washington International Horse Show in 1999 when he was about 10 years old. Charlie was on horses, and Towell was still on ponies.
“They are the best family,” Towell said. “I consider them as much my own family as my own. Mr. and Mrs. Jayne have always been the best. They, the three kids, work so well because they all have their own roles in the business.”
The experience and versatility of the Jayne family helps them produce winners at every level in the U.S. and globally. So does their own ability to ride and win. It is their business, and with dozens of customers, it can be daunting.
“Haylie and I mainly focus on preparing and developing our client’s horses to their full potential,” explained Maggie, who hasn’t tired of working so closely with her siblings. “Charlie plans his show schedule to peak his Grand Prix horses for success. Of course, working in a family business has its challenges, but the pros far outweigh the cons.”
Charlie attended Florida Atlantic University, getting a degree in business management while competing on the circuit.
“We all have our different places within the business and have been able to work really well in our spaces,” he said. “Maggie has always been the leader. Our parents have been great influences and continue to guide us every step of the way.”
Haylie graduated from the University of Georgia in December 2009 with a degree in classical cultures. She competed on the equestrian team and helped the team win three national titles and four SEC titles. She also won the individual national championship in equitation over fences in 2009. She met Nate Rolfe in college. They were married in 2010 and became parents five years later when Oliver was born.
“Maggie has the most discipline on and off horses,” Haylie said. “Charlie is very laid back and typically can relax any horse he rides. I think I’m somewhere in between. Maggie and Charlie are honestly two of my best friends. It’s always great to know I have an amazing support team around me. I think it was harder [to work together] when we were younger, but we’ve all really settled into our roles.”
They are dynamos around the barn and in the rings, but they leave time to relax away from the horses.
Maggie enjoys cooking and yoga and playing with her puppies. Charlie plays cards every Monday and plays basketball every Tuesday. Haylie reads and works out, using a combination of Orangetheory, Pilates and running.
“Nate is my best friend and the reason I’m able to balance everything,” Haylie said. “Oliver was born in November 2015, and he is a ball of energy and love. I wouldn’t say I have much free time, but I would say that working with family allows me freedom to spend every extra minute I have with Nate and Ollie.”
She also enjoys the diversity of it all.
“The best thing about my job is that no two days are same,” Haylie said. “Some days I ride all day and other days I’m working with students. There are new challenges every day, yet horses make it all feel peaceful.”
Maggie gets to work with people who share the same passion for the sport and drive for excellence that is the underlying concept with all her family members.
“Even though each member of my family may have a slightly different approach or way of explaining something, our methodology toward developing horses and riders to their fullest potential is the same,” Maggie said. “There’s a little bit of an imprint from each of us in every horse and rider we produce; we all bring something to the table.”
The Jayne family’s Our Day Farm has locations in Illinois and Wellington. Visit www.ourdayfarm.com to learn more.