Category Archives: Feature Stories

Wellington The Magazine, LLC Featured Articles

2018 Great Charity Challenge, Presented By Fidelity Investments, Celebrates The Stars Of The Community

2018 Great Charity Challenge, Presented By Fidelity Investments, Celebrates The Stars Of The Community

Palm Beach County charities will get a chance to showcase what it truly means to be a star this coming February when the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, returns to Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

For the past eight years, equestrians and their mounts have been captivating the local community at this event. These teams of riders have one goal in mind: to give Palm Beach County charities a chance to shine and win up to $150,000.

Through an open application process, the Great Charity Challenge invited all Palm Beach County-based charities to apply to participate in the ninth edition of the pro-amateur relay show jumping competition.

Thirty-four of these randomly drawn charities will meet their “lucky star” on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, to receive a share of the $1.5 million purse.

The Great Charity Challenge, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions, and their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $10.8 million from the equestrian community to 220 nonprofits in Palm Beach County. All of the money raised gets distributed to local nonprofits every year, with first place receiving $150,000 and all participating charities being guaranteed a minimum amount of $15,000. Staying true to its roots, a minimum of seven charities, out of the 34 participating nonprofits, are guaranteed to be Wellington based.

Over the last three years, the event has brought team spirit to a new level by incorporating themes. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses decked out to match them, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center welcomed “Superheroes,” “Fairy Tales Characters” and “Animated Characters.” This year’s theme will be “Hollywood Feature Film: A Night When Everyone’s A Star.”

“This ninth year honors the local stars of our community,” Mark Bellissimo said. “We hope to give them an opportunity to shine and let them redefine what ‘stars’ are truly made of. This event is truly the legacy of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the sponsors involved. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”

Paige Bellissimo, who is actively involved in the community, agreed.

“The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community,” she said. “We hope that this year’s edition will help future generations see what stars are truly made of! We are very grateful for our rider teams, sponsors and partners who support the effort.”

The drawing to select the 34 charities that will participate in the 2018 event will be held Dec. 2 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

For the latest event information and application guidelines, visit www.greatcharity or charitychallenge.


Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s 2018 Season Expected To Be Largest Yet

Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s 2018 Season Expected To Be Largest Yet

Since launching in 2012, the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) has matured into one of the largest dressage circuits in the world. The festival will rise to the occasion once again in 2018, setting the stage for top horse and rider combinations, and laying the stepping stones leading up to the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C., next September.

The 2018 AGDF will once again take place at the Stadium at Equestrian Village in Wellington, from Jan. 4 through March 31, 2018. The winter circuit will provide indispensable opportunities for riders seeking scores for the World Equestrian Games (WEG). The festival will host four qualifying events throughout the circuit.

“We are incredibly excited for this upcoming dressage season,” AGDF Director of Sport Thomas Baur said. “This year, we will see riders from all over the world coming to Wellington to prepare for the World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018. We are presenting a new structure of classes at the Grand Prix level as well as Small Tour levels, and will welcome top judges that will also be featured at the WEG.”

The 2018 AGDF season features four CDI-Ws, a CDI 4* and CDI 5*, as well as a CDIO3* and two CPEDI competitions. Local spectators are welcome to come out and enjoy world-renowned competition. The show is always open to the public with free general admission. The weekly Friday Night Stars events take place every Friday evening during CDI events and present the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle class, where combinations ride to choreographed musical routines. The nights also bring musical acts and various forms of outside entertainment.

The season will begin on Thursday, Jan. 4 with the first Para-Equestrian Dressage CPEDI 3* competition. Week 2 will also play host to a CPEDI 3*, beginning on Thursday, Jan. 18. Para-equestrian sports allow athletes with physical and visual disabilities to excel in equestrian events and competitions designed for the able-bodied, and do so by creating a structured and highly competitive environment. Para-dressage is conducted under the same basic rules as able-bodied dressage, but with riders divided into different competition grades based on their physical abilities. There is no greater evidence of the incredible bond, trust and communication between horse and rider than in para-dressage. This Paralympic sport is a humbling reminder of the strength and determination of the human spirit.

The AGDF will welcome the first CDI-W competition of the season on Thursday, Jan. 11, as well as a national show for competitors looking to fine-tune their skills outside of the FEI arena. AGDF 3 commences on Wednesday, Jan. 24 and will bring the second CDI-W and national competitions.

The circuit takes a break on Friday, Feb. 2, when some of the top event riders in the world are welcomed to Equestrian Village to go head-to-head in the fourth annual Wellington Eventing Showcase. The showcase hosts a two-day format of the sport of eventing, including dressage, show jumping and a condensed cross-country course, designed by renowned course designer Capt. Mark Phillips.

International dressage competition reconvenes on Thursday, Feb. 8 with the season’s only CDI 5*, featuring the very best riders in the world, and producing some of the most thrilling test execution of the season. Week 6 will begin on Friday, Feb. 16 and host three days of national competition. Week 9 also promotes national competition from March 9-11. The third CDI-W will commence during Week 7, on Thursday, Feb. 22.

AGDF Week 8 begins on March 1 and welcomes the final CDI-W and the historic Palm Beach Derby, an exciting event that features riders competing at Small Tour level with unfamiliar horses to see who can ride to the best score.

Week 10 is set to showcase the only CDI 4* of the 2018 season, while the final week of the season plays host to the FEI Nations Cup CDIO 3*, as well as the final Friday Night Stars competition of the circuit. The FEI Nations Cup CDIO 3* is the only non-championships CDIO 3* in the northern hemisphere and is a staple of the season for competitors from around the world.

“We are very excited about the upcoming Adequan Global Dressage Festival,” said Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions. “With the FEI World Equestrian Games coming to Tryon, N.C., in September 2018, there will be many talented riders from all over the world attending, with the main focus being qualification for the biggest equestrian event in the world. This year will truly be a chance for everyone in Wellington to see the world’s best, and we are looking forward to seeing these equestrian athletes preform on our global stage.”

With the 2018 WEG looming on the horizon, the 2018 AGDF is sure to be the most exceptional one to date.

For more information about the AGDF, visit




AGDF 0 – January 4-7



AGDF 1 – January 11-14

CDI-W and National Show


AGDF 2 – January 18-21

CPEDI 3* and National Show


AGDF 3 – January 24-28

CDI-W and National Show


AGDF 4 – February 2-3

Wellington Eventing Showcase
and National Show


AGDF 5 – February 8-11

CDI 5*/3*/1* and National Show

AGDF 6 – February 16-17

National Show


AGDF 7 – February 22-25

CDI-W and National Show


AGDF 8 – March 1-4

Palm Beach Derby CDI-W/1*
and National Show


AGDF 9 – March 9-11

National Show


AGDF 10 – March 15-18

CDI 4*/3*/1* and National Show


AGDF 12 – March 27-3
CDIO 3*/3*/1* and National Show

Tentative schedule, subject to change. Sponsors listed at time of print. Friday Night Stars freestyles are held on Friday nights of CDI competition with the exception of AGDF 8.
The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Stadium is located at 13500 South Shore
Blvd. in Wellington. For more info., call (561) 793-5867 or visit


International Polo Club Looks To Build On Success In Upcoming High-Goal Season

International Polo Club Looks To Build On Success In Upcoming High-Goal Season

The International Polo Club Palm Beach, the premier polo destination in the world, will host the largest field of high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States during the 2018 winter season.

Polo enthusiasts descend upon Wellington each winter to enjoy their love of the sport at the nation’s most prominent and well-equipped polo facility.

The 2018 high-goal season opens on Sunday, Dec. 31, and will conclude 16 weeks later with the USPA 114th U.S. Open Polo Championship final on Sunday, April 22. Polo matches are open to the public, with a wide range of hospitality and guest seating options that includes elegant grandstand viewing, field tailgating, stadium seating, field-side champagne brunch at the Pavilion, and exclusive sponsor boxes.

To enjoy polo in style, the luxurious brunch in the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion is back this season, featuring delicious breakfast and lunch options, a full bar and field-side seating on the patio. Guests will also be able to attend a meet-and-greet with some of the world’s top polo players throughout the afternoon. Each week, a different pair of players will be available for photos and autographs. The fun continues after the match with an after party at the Pavilion. Live entertainment and cocktails will be served to celebrate the winning team.

General admission is also offered for all of the Sunday afternoon games, and includes access to many of the food and drink options that IPC has become known for. The fun-filled Kids Zone will return for children to enjoy each Sunday afternoon. Bounce houses, games, face painting and more will be available to any child attending the 3 p.m. polo match. Multiple vendor areas and retail spaces are also accessible to all spectators while they are on-site Sunday. During half time of each Sunday match, spectators are invited onto the field for a complimentary glass of champagne and ice cream during the ever-popular divot stomp.

IPC offers a collection of nine polo fields accumulating 248 acres of pristine land, as well as the main grandstand, a croquet facility, meeting and breakout rooms, 7,000 square feet of indoor usable floor space, a private health club, a pool, tennis courts and sufficient parking options.

In addition to polo, the facility has proven to be an ideal site for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, rugby and a variety of other sports. Just last June, IPC was selected as the Large Market Sports Venue of the Year by the Florida Sports Foundation. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has utilized the venue to host some of the largest sports events in the nation, including the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) National Games, USA Field Hockey’s National Hockey Festival, the Florida United Lacrosse Cup Series Palm Beach Blast and the Florida Draw Lacrosse Classic.

Several updates have been made to the facility to continue IPC’s tradition of distinction. Five of the playing fields, including the main Engel & Völkers Field, have undergone major renovations in recent months to improve the quality of play during the season. Each of the fields were sprigged with a one-of-a-kind strain of durable Bermuda grass, which will lengthen their longevity and durability. These characteristics of field grass are crucial when hosting high-goal polo for a prolonged season and will benefit both the players and the venue looking ahead.

“The challenge is that over the years, the fields were overrun with common Bermuda grass. After two years of working with this grass, we decided to make a significant investment to make sure that these are the best polo fields in the world by replanting five of our primary fields with the best grass technology in the world,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of IPC owner Wellington Equestrian Partners. “We’re eagerly awaiting the start of the 2018 season and believe that the significant changes happening at the venue will positively impact the overall atmosphere and experience for our players, members and spectators.”

In addition to improving the grass fields, IPC has also begun developing a new field surface that will create high availability and dramatically lower relative cost of ownership per polo practice. The special mixture of sand, felt, fiber and a unique binding agent allows for a safe surface for players and horses, while reducing cupping and divots created by horse movement that may impede the travel of a traditional grass polo ball. This approach has the potential to offset limited field access and the high cost of renting practice fields.

Whether one prefers a low-key match on the backfields during the week or on Sundays during the impressive 3 p.m. featured stadium game, IPC has options for all levels of polo enthusiasts. Ring in the New Year at the opening match on Sunday, Dec. 31 and enjoy all that IPC has to offer.

The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. For more info., or to purchase tickets for matches or the Pavilion brunch, visit



2018 High-Goal Tournament Schedule


Herbie Pennell Cup Final



Joe Barry Cup



Joe Barry Cup



Joe Barry Cup Final



Ylvisaker Cup



Ylvisaker Cup


Ylvisaker Cup



Ylvisaker Cup Final



C.V. Whitney Cup



C.V. Whitney Cup Final



Gold Cup



Gold Cup



Gold Cup Final



Butler Handicap Final



U.S. Open



U.S. Open



U.S. Open Final

Tentative schedule, subject to change. Sponsors listed at time of print.


The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. For tickets and additional information, visit or call (561) 204-5687.


Top Equestrian Competition Set To Return To Wellington For The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival

Top Equestrian Competition Set To Return To Wellington For The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival

With each passing year, the global reach of the renowned Winter Equestrian Festival expands, luring riders from Europe, South America and Asia to Wellington, the bustling hub for winter show jumping, hunter riding and equitation competition in the heart of South Florida.

The 12-week-long event serves as the largest and longest-running horse show in the world and features talent, both rising and veteran, throughout its duration, which will begin in 2018 on Wednesday, Jan. 10 and continue through Sunday, April 1.

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), longstanding home venue of the Winter Equestrian Festival, is free and open to spectators from Wednesday through Sunday each week, highlighted by the Saturday Night Lights competition each Saturday evening. The most popular night of the week features top riders of the sport competing at the highest international levels. Free entertainment and activities including carousel rides, face painting and crafts, creating a family-friendly atmosphere for equestrian and non-equestrian enthusiasts alike.

Equestrian Sport Productions is once again at the management and operational helm of WEF, producing a competition unlike any other in the world, welcoming Olympians and world champions, while simultaneously providing opportunities for any level of competitor, pony level to Grand Prix.

“While WEF is a massive undertaking, we feel that each year we continue to expand interest in equestrian sport and introduce and engage new audiences,” said Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners. “We’re looking forward to welcoming back many of the world’s top competitors to the venue this year and hope that citizens of the Palm Beach County area will come out to enjoy the season and experience horse sport at PBIEC.”

Last year, WEF saw an increase in number of participants, representing more than 35 countries and all 50 states, a testament to the quality and impact of the competition on a global scale. Riders of all ages, competing in more than 80 divisions, will descend upon the show grounds in early January to begin the winter season.

The 2017 season debuted renovated footing and riding surfaces in the major arenas, including the International Ring, the massive main stadium, used for a variety of classes, but most commonly for international FEI show jumping competitions. The growth of competition has triggered the expansion of the show grounds, and now 18 arenas provide ample competition space for the three variations of the English discipline hosted at the show: show jumping, hunter riding and equitation.

Just across Pierson Road is an additional extension of the PBIEC facility, Equestrian Village, which is home to the Van Kampen Arena, the largest covered arena in the world. Equestrian Village also boasts its massive grass Derby Field, once used for elite polo competition and now host to top show jumping and hunter competition throughout the season.

While many come to immerse themselves in the equestrian competition, there is much to do at PBIEC during the high season. Hundreds of vendors set up shop at the venue, offering everything from high-end clothing to hand-worked leather, jewelry, antiques, art, horse and rider wear, and more. Vendors are located around the grounds and can be found on Vendor Row or surrounding the exterior of the International Ring.

PBIEC also caters to night life and entertainment. The Suites in the Special Events Tent offer the perfect space for large parties to enjoy Saturday evening classes and include buffet dining and bar service. The Gallery, Central Park and the Wellington Club all host social activities and gatherings, and can be reserved for private event space, but most popularly shape into a dancing and after party atmosphere following the main class on Saturday nights.

Food and beverage options are plentiful. The Tiki Hut and Tito’s Tacos are perfect stops to grab a quick drink and a bite to eat with a group of friends, or specialty food vendors offering pizza, kettle corn, ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers and crepes can be found throughout the night.

The season will begin once again with the Battle of the Sexes, now an intense tradition to kick off the WEF season, on Saturday, Jan. 13. The evening pits top female riders against top male riders to see who will reign supreme. The ladies have topped the competition for years and always have the crowd’s support.

The Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, which has raised more than $10 million for more than 200 charities in Palm Beach County since its inception, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 3 with an exciting pro-am relay race under the lights. It will be themed after notable feature films this year.

The Nations’ Cup CSIO 4* will be held Friday, March 2, as nations compete on teams against each other in a unique and exciting format.

The venue will once again play host to four elite CSI 5* competitions, the highest designation of international show jumping competition anywhere in the world, offering major prize purses for the winner. Only the best of the best are able to qualify for these impressive competitions, which will be hosted this year on Feb. 12, Feb. 14, March 10 and conclude with the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix on March 31.

Join in on the fun this season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. To learn more, call (561) 793-5867 or visit




2018 Winter Equestrian Festival Weekly Schedule


WEF 1: January 10-14 USEF Premier and Jumper Rated 6, $75,000 Battle of the Sexes (Saturday, Jan. 13)


WEF 2: January 17-21 CSI 2* and USEF Premier


WEF 3: January 24-28 CSI 3* and USEF Premier


WEF 4: January 31 – February 4 CSI 4* and USEF Premier Hunters, Wellington Eventing Showcase,
Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments (Saturday, Feb. 3)


WEF 5: February 7-11 CSI 5*/CSI 2* and USEF Premier Hunters


WEF 6: February 14-18 CSI 3* and USEF Premier Hunters
USHJA/WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular (Saturday, Feb. 17)


WEF 7: February 21-25 CSI 5*/CSI 2* and USEF Premier Hunters


WEF 8: February 28 – March 3 CSIO 4* and USEF Premier Hunters


WEF 9: March 7-11 CSI 5*/CSI 2* and USEF Premier Hunters


WEF 10: March 14-18 CSI 3* and USEF Premier Hunters


WEF 11: March 21-25 CSI 4* AND USEF Premier Hunters


WEF 12: March 28 – April 1 CSI 5*/CSI 2* and USEF Premier Hunters
500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* (Saturday, March 31)


Tentative schedule, subject to change. Sponsors listed at time of print.


The Palm Beach  International Equestrian Center

3400 Equestrian Club Drive Wellington, FL 33414.

For more information,  visit or call (561) 793-5867.


GLADIATOR POLO SERIES New Equestrian Entertainment Awaits Spectators During The Winter Season

GLADIATOR POLO SERIES New Equestrian Entertainment Awaits Spectators During The Winter Season

Gladiator Polo is about to return to its birthplace of Wellington after a successful summer series in North Carolina. The concept originated in the heart of Wellington last January as a way to expand the reach of equestrian sports to fans of action-packed sports like hockey and football.

Gladiator Polo combines elements of both field polo and arena polo, and in just under a year has garnered both a national and international following.

Unlike traditional equestrian competitions, where audience participation is encouraged only before and after a rider competes, Gladiator Polo is fueled by a rowdy crowd. Spectators are encouraged to cheer on their favorite team throughout the match.

Two teams of three players are pitted against each other in a small, enclosed arena, giving spectators an up close and personal look at the action, similar to sitting on the boards at an ice hockey game.

In this Roman-era themed event, horse and rider teams wear distinctive colors covering the players’ helmets all the way down to the horses’ leg wraps, making it easy for spectators to follow the game and cheer on their favorite side.

“We have been thrilled with the support and engagement of the fans and spectators surrounding Gladiator Polo this year at the Tryon International Equestrian Center and have been thoroughly impressed with the level of play we’ve seen across the board from each of the participating players,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of the International Equestrian Group, management entity of Gladiator Polo. “Our goal is to expand this game on both a national and international level. We feel that these players and this atmosphere translates well anywhere in the world. We’re looking forward to the future of this game and are already planning the return of the series to this venue in 2018.”

The match is played on a 300-foot by 150-foot space, enclosed by walls of four or more feet in height. The game consists of six chukkers of five minutes each. Riders change horses at the end of each chukker. Gladiator Polo does not require the large number of horses to play that outdoor grass polo demands, making game participation easier for players.

The game ball is similar to a mini soccer ball, larger than the small and hard plastic ball used outdoors. While the larger size gives the new player confidence in learning to hit the ball, proper technique is still necessary, since the game is played on a dirt surface with the ball bouncing on the uneven surface and off the arena wall.

Gladiator Polo can be played either indoors or outdoors, day or night under lights and weather permitting, all year round. In its inaugural season, Gladiator Polo hosted seven games in Wellington, hosting four teams and offering over $250,000 in prize money. It then continued throughout the summer at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C.

The Battle for the Carolinas series consisted of four matches with four teams of professional polo players. Presented by Coca-Cola, the series awarded $120,000 in prize money and was witnessed by more than 30,000 spectators. Fans enjoyed entertainment before the match with a player meet and greet, a live band, kid gladiator games and an authentic Argentine asado buffet for dinner.

“We wanted to create a concept that will re-energize polo in this country, and ultimately bring new participants, spectators and sponsors into the sport,” Bellissimo said. “We are excited to launch this exhilarating sports initiative, highlighting the tenacity and speed of polo in an engaging and spectator-fueled atmosphere, and look forward to growing the sport over the next year.”

Gladiator Polo will resume in Wellington in January 2018, featuring 13 league games and concluding with a series final in April, with an official schedule planned for announcement in November. Plans for the return of Gladiator Polo to the Tryon International Equestrian Center and additional locations will be announced in early 2018. For more info, visit


Rolex Central Park Horse Show Fourth Annual Event Impresses Behind The Bright Lights Of New York City

Rolex Central Park Horse Show
Fourth Annual Event Impresses Behind
The Bright Lights Of New York City

The 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show held Sept. 20-24 dazzled spectators in the heart of New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumping, eventing and hunter riders vying for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues.

In its fourth year, the Rolex Central Park Horse Show featured five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and arena eventing to hunter riders and show jumping. Central Park Family Day, presented by Mars Incorporated, a free event open to the public and designed to promote the benefits of child-pet interaction, featured dog agility demonstrations, performances by the Pompeyo family from America’s Got Talent and multiple opportunities for the public to interact with both dogs and horses.

Aljassimya Farm presented the third annual U.S. Open Arabian competition, showcasing the beauty and athleticism of one of the world’s oldest breeds. Classes throughout the night included under saddle competition featuring Hunter Pleasure Pro/Am, Western Pleasure Pro/Am and Country English Pleasure Pro/AM, as well as in-hand and halter competition. The Arabian Mounted Native Costume class featured horses and riders galloping in traditional dress used centuries ago. Classes alternated between performance classes and in-hand competition. In-hand competition saw junior and senior mares and stallions presented to a panel of judges. Gold, silver and bronze medal champions for each division were honored throughout the evening.

Show jumping was highlighted by the U.S. Open $216,000 Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, captured by current world number one rider Kent Farrington aboard Creedance. The U.S. Open $25,000 Hollow Creek Farm U25 Grand Prix saw Jennifer Gates guide Alex to victory, while Hardin Towell’s win in the U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class aboard Lucifer V kicked-off FEI competition. A crowd favorite, the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance competition saw Emanuel Andrade, Kama Godek and Todd Minikus split the victory three ways after each cleared the traditional brick wall at a height of 6’9” inches. The $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Class was topped by Mimi Gochman aboard Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s entry Avoloma BH.

U.S. Open Hunter competition at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show was presented by the Gochman Family and Dr. Betsee Parker, and featured the $1,000 Pony Hunter Classic, which earned Annabelle Bozzuto a victory aboard Our Song, owned by Robin Bozzutto, as well as the $2,500 Junior/Amateur Owner Classic, which saw Stella Styslinger and Cassanto ride to the top of the field with a score of 83. The U.S. Open $50,000 Duchossois Cup, presented by the Gochman Family and Dr. Betsee Parker, saw Liza Boyd and O’Ryan return to the Wollman Rink this year to claim the winning round by half a point after finishing in second place last year.

Arena eventing jumped into the Wollman Rink for the first time this year and was a sellout crowd favorite, featured in the U.S. Open $50,000 Arena Eventing, presented by the Fite Group Luxury Homes. Many of the world’s top three-day event riders tested a tough and technical track set by Capt. Mark Phillips in the Wollman Rink, but ultimately Ryan Wood and Dominic Schramm topped the class, besting 22 other riders to capture the win in the inaugural event.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show is hosted in the heart of New York City in Central Park and is managed by International Equestrian Group, led by Wellington’s Mark and Katherine Bellissimo.

For more information about the show, visit


Generations Of Doctors Bring A Family Element To The Center For Bone & Joint Surgery

Generations Of Doctors Bring A Family Element To The Center For Bone & Joint Surgery

The Center for Bone & Joint Surgery of the Palm Beaches has been serving the western communities for more than two decades, and there’s a unique family element to the practice now that the son of the one of the founders has joined the team.

CEO Dr. Harvey Montijo Sr. and his original partners Dr. Garvin Yee and Dr. Mark Waeltz have grown the practice since 1994, allowing it to mature into a firm bringing expert orthopedic care here in the western communities and throughout Palm Beach County.

Today, there are multiple offices at Wellington Regional Medical Center, and offices in Belle Glade, Boynton Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and a new office that will bring the Center for Bone & Joint Surgery into Martin County. The largest location is in Royal Palm Beach and has six orthopedic offices, physical therapy centers and an MRI center.

“We’ve been pretty much here since 1998,” Montjio Sr. said of the flagship office on State Road 7. “It started with just a building in the rear, and the parking lot was here in the front where this building stands. As we expanded, we moved the parking lot to the back of the surgery center building. We built this 36,000-square-foot facility. It houses most of our surgeons at this point.”

The Center for Bone & Joint Surgery has had the ability to grow in locations in part because it continues to welcome new surgeons to the practice, bringing on board top orthopedic surgeons that have trained and specialized in areas of surgery that are often new to the practice.

About a year and a half ago, one of those new surgeons was Harvey Enrique Montijo Jr., Montijo Sr.’s son, who brought his specialty in foot and ankle surgery to the family practice.

“I think everything I’ve trained for, and all the training that’s been done, is definitely going to use here,” said Montijo Jr., who attended Duke University Medical School in North Carolina before continuing his studies with a residency in Charlotte, N.C. “[At OrthoCarolina], we had a very heavy trauma presence, and it has been very surprising the amount of trauma we have here, even being treated at Wellington Regional, Palms West and Palm Beach Gardens. Things that would usually go to a level-one trauma center, I’ve been surprised that we’re using them so much here.”

For Monijo Jr., returning to a place he grew up and joining his father and new colleagues has been a small-town surprise.

“The one thing that has really surprised me about the community is how small it is,” he said, explaining there’s an inter-connectedness that often leads to referrals. “There are cases where I’ve done a hip fracture on somebody’s mom, and then all of sudden you are getting five or six people who are coming to see you… I think when you grow up here, you kind of know it, but Palm Beach County, no matter how big it is, it’s pretty well-connected.”

Not only is there family now at the Center for Bone & Joint Surgery, but Montijo Sr. has worked with some of his employees for 20 years. The more than 250 employees today serve the patients as much as the orthopedic surgeons at the practice, he said.

“We are an integral part of the western communities as a business. We have been involved with the community on multiple levels and multiple events, supporting a lot of the charity events that the community has,” Montijo Sr. said. “We have a very strong retention rate in our employees, and that has been part of our success. We have these individuals who have weathered the storms with us, and they’re like family.”

Montijo Sr. and his partners have been able to continue to grow the practice and stay current, updating to new technologies as they have developed through the years.

“Thanks to technology and integration of computers, it’s easy to have the same information for any particular patient. You have access in any particular office,” Montijo Sr. said. “So, if it’s in Boynton Beach, and the skillset of the surgeons there don’t match, but they do see the initial orthopedic surgeon there, and they get referred here, they don’t have to redo everything. It’s already integrated into the system. We just have to pull it up.”

Montijo Sr. is still very much involved in his craft as a total joint replacement specialist. He continues to be active as a surgeon in artificial hip, artificial total knee and arthroplasty. But Montijo Sr. said that unless it’s completely necessary, many surgeons like himself are conservative in the approach to various injuries for patients who come to his offices.

“We’re not just surgeons. Most of what we do is take care of the patients without the blade, without the surgical approach,” Montijo Sr. said. “Physical therapy, bracing, injections, different modalities that you can have short of surgery, and at the same time give you some options or advice with the physical therapist to modify your training, so you don’t get hurt but still reach your goals as an athlete, or as a weekend warrior, or as a geriatric person who just wants to stay fit.”

Montijo Sr. also embarks on international projects to educate surgeons overseas. He recently returned to the practice after a trip in Vietnam, where he has been visiting since 2011. He goes there once a year to train surgeons at an orthopedic and trauma hospital in Da Nang.

“Some of their surgeons have come to be trained here. It has been a two-way street, where they come for training here, and I go over there and do some interesting procedures and surgeries,” Montijo Sr. said. “I’ve also been to Cambodia, training surgeons there. But it has mostly been Vietnam, and now my first experience in Nigeria, in Africa, will be next month.”

As he goes to other countries to instill knowledge, his practice here is ready to see the next generation of patients with the next generation of medical professionals and the latest technology.

“We have a new generation of surgeons coming on board, and we’re excited to see that,” Montijo Sr. said. “What we built 25 years ago still has an opportunity to continue to be part of the community, so I really consider myself blessed to have my son in the practice. I’m looking forward to seeing him grow. I’m looking forward to see what this brings down the road.”

The Center for Bone & Joint Surgery of the Palm Beaches has seven offices across the county. For additional information, call (561) 798-6600 or visit


Busy Year Ahead For Dressage Star Kasey Perry-Glass

Busy Year Ahead For Dressage Star  Kasey Perry-Glass

Top dressage rider Kasey Perry-Glass was five years old when she hopped on her first horse. The steed was kept at a local barn, which her mother visited as a getaway from the kids. It was not quite an escape, however, since the 5-year-old, along with her brother and four sisters, followed their mother to the stable. Soon after, Perry-Glass got her first pony, and she has been making history ever since.

Dressage competitions dot the globe, and as elite equestrian competitors, the Olympic bronze medalist and her horses are international travelers.

“I’ve been over in Europe for the last three summers now, competing on Nations Cup teams, Olympic teams and events like that for selections,” Perry-Glass said.

The winter months signal a calmer time for her horses, which have earned a well-needed travel break when Perry-Glass settles down in Wellington.

Though “settles down” isn’t quite an accurate description of her time here.

Neither Perry-Glass nor her bay, Dublet, rest on their laurels, but rather take advantage of the milder temperatures and top local competitions to prepare for the next big, international event.

“In the coming winter months, I will be competing to, hopefully, get a spot on the World Equestrian Games team,” Perry-Glass said.

Tryon, N.C., is the site for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, where Perry-Glass hopes to gain a little bit of a home-court advantage when the equestrian world heads to the United States next September.

“[Tryon is] known for having great facilities, and now it’s just about preparing them for the WEG and being able to accommodate all the horses and grooms and riders,” Perry-Glass said. “I think that they really have a good layout there to make our country look really good.”

As a young girl, Perry-Glass learned to ride western style and went on to hunter/jumpers. As she grew, so did her love for horses and her desire to compete. An introduction to Pony Club, the equestrian educational organization, fueled her affection.

“It is a great organization that helps kids get involved with horses in a healthy way; to really learn the basics about anatomy, the care, the riding part,” Perry-Glass said. “They really go over a large spectrum of the horse and the discipline.”

Over the course of her career, Perry-Glass has been under the tutelage of top professionals in the field of dressage. She connected with Carmela Richards’ Oak Creek Training Stables in California. It was there that Perry-Glass gained many friends with the same interest, including many competing at high levels of eventing.

Richards introduced Perry-Glass to her first dressage trainer, Gina Duran. Under 10 years of Duran’s watchful eye, Perry-Glass competed extensively, increasing her desire to compete on a higher level.

“It kind of spiraled into me wanting to be international and really push for a career in it,” Perry-Glass said.

At the level at which she would go on to compete, Perry-Glass would require an incredible horse with which to partner. Dressage coach and trainer Christophe Theallet traveled to Europe with her to find that perfect horse. They came back to the United States with Dublet.

The gelding proved to be the right choice, as he and Perry-Glass forged a winning partnership at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The pair were further established as a force in international dressage with a seventh place dressage Grand Prix finish at the 2017 FEI World Cup Final in Omaha, Neb., in March — one of only three Americans to land in the top 10.

Olympian Debbie McDonald has been Perry-Glass’ coach for the last three years and is credited with getting the now 30-year-old to the Olympics last year. They met the prior year in Europe, where Perry-Glass was on the Pan American Games selection team. Unfortunately, she didn’t make the Pan Am team but confesses to begging McDonald for the chance to train with her in Sun Valley, Idaho.

“I knew that the next year was going to be pretty intense, and she welcomed me in,” Perry-Glass said. “Within a year, training really hard, she got me on the Olympic team. It’s pretty impressive to say that someone can do that, coach-wise.”

Lots of kids dream of competing in the Olympics, but it’s hard to comprehend the cost until it happens for you.

“It is a lot of sacrifice,” Perry-Glass said. “It’s nice for people to know that these athletes who go to the Olympics are in everyday training, whether it means physical training, emotional training. You know, all the psychology around it. We’re training constantly, and it’s also a lot of sacrifice for a family.”

Surprisingly, in her formative years, Perry-Glass was a homebody. She never relished going too far away from her parents. Nevertheless, she was the first of the six kids to leave home and now travels around the world. She knew this had to happen if she was to achieve her goals, and as a result, she moved to Spokane, Wash.

“I loved the idea of a new place,” Perry-Glass said. “Something inside me just clicked.”

Still, leaving home was a sacrifice for both Perry-Glass and her family. She only saw them if they were able to attend a show, or on the off occasion when she would make it home for Christmas.

“It’s a lot of sacrifice to train for that goal, but it’s well worth it,” Perry-Glass said. “It pays off in the long run. Any dedication like that pays off.”

She speaks glowingly of her family, referring to them as “Team Believe,” a motto they adopted when she first started competing. The family’s focused attention over the last four years has been on her. According to Perry-Glass, there’s no question in her mind that “Team Believe” shares the same goals.

“We really push ourselves as a family. We push ourselves to be better people and to really fight for what we want and to really believe in ourselves.” Perry-Glass said.

The dedication and sacrifice required to succeed was passed down from her parents. Her mother is a constant champion for the importance of believing in oneself, and her father, a psychologist, once played Major League Baseball.

“It’s a little bit different in this sport, because a lot of people don’t really have that, and I feel really lucky,” Perry-Glass said of her family’s involvement. “They keep me balanced.”

Her parents and siblings aren’t her only cheerleaders. Married two years ago, Perry-Glass said that her husband, Dana, keeps her grounded.

Glass also works with horses and helps to run a family business in Colorado where the couple met. “He knows the idea around the sport and the discipline,” Perry-Glass said. “He gives me an outside perspective of what life is like outside of the sport.”

The newlyweds are also combining their talents into a new business. Two Worlds Equestrian will encompass both the dressage and western disciplines.

2018 will be Perry-Glass’ fourth season in Wellington, where she lives close to the show grounds.

“I can get into a class or just get some extra training there,” she said. “It sets you up very nicely for other venues and gets you the mileage that you need.”

Perry-Glass expects to compete in four shows this winter, two in February and two in March.

Her long-term goals are more personal. “I really want to have a family. It is very important for my husband and I,” Perry-Glass said. “We want to have at least two kids. As of right now, that’s my other dream and goal.”

Learn more about Kasey Perry-Glass at


‘Modern Essayist’ J.C. James Wellington Man Creates Art Through Unique Wordcraft

‘Modern Essayist’ J.C. James
Wellington Man Creates Art Through Unique Wordcraft

There are times when something so momentous has happened, so joyous or so devastating, that we find it difficult to put into words. We want to commemorate the event but don’t know where to begin.

That’s where Wellington resident J.C. James comes in. James is a modern essayist — perhaps the only one of his kind. He will interview you, research the event, draw upon artistic inspiration, compose the story in a style he calls “sophisticated rhyme,” then present you with a “Gift of Authenticity” — his words on a gallery-quality display.

James has written more than 1,000 tributes, some of them for notable names such as golfers Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els, the late women’s polo pioneer Sunny Hale, and even Arrogate, the Louisiana racehorse that won the Dubai World Cup last March. Sometimes, the tributes are for public display but, more often, they are intensely personal, destined to remain in the family as treasured heirlooms.

Writing other people’s stories wasn’t originally James’ calling. Born in Brisbane, Australia in 1969, he came to the United States in the summer of 2000 as a youth soccer coach. Over the next 10 years, he also did some playing, and that meant a lot of travel. When he wasn’t on the field, James found himself waxing philosophical.

“I got reflective,” he said. “I began writing a few little things, and they started coming out in rhyme with a level of sophistication to them. I continued on from that point. Little stories would enter my mind. One turned into two, two turned into four, and pretty soon I had a collection. A few people I shared them with were very supportive and encouraging. They liked the perspective and introspection.”

In those early days, he was writing material from his own head — personal experiences and observations. He was encouraged to publish a collection of those short stories and short rhymes. His first book was published in 2004 by Publish America.

“It was a traditional book, marketed and distributed by them,” James said. “Make no mistake, it was a little cutesy book, but it kept me encouraged. Around 2007 to 2008 is when I started writing stories that were more specific for people. It took the focus off me having to invent things. Fortunately, I had a few private collectors. It wasn’t big rewards or large money, but it got me thinking, ‘Perhaps I have something here.’”

Clearly, he did. James’ work has gotten so popular that he has formed a company around it, Expressional Galleries, with his wife and publicist Mysdee Middleton. “It’s an interesting thing that has happened to us in the last few years,” Middleton said. “We are utilizing J.C.’s gift in a purposeful way to honor others. He captures moments, writes in sophisticated rhyme, puts an artistic spin on it.”

Clients explain their story, and James will take it from there.

“The tribute becomes a permanent reminder of a major event, because it’s a real story about real people in a real moment,” he said. “The quality of the story, coupled with the sturdy mounting system, is designed to last many, many years.”

Because each essay is a one-of-a-kind original, James copyrights the work.

“We do our research,” James said. “It’s a combination of watching visually if it’s a high-profile event, along with research done by my lovely wife.”

The Sunny Hale tribute was a good example. Composed after the top female polo player’s death last February, James said he tried to write it through the eyes of a young girl, because Hale was “a true trailblazer, a pioneer to be sure, and an inspiration to all women. She was extremely memorable and died far too young.”

Hale’s untimely death was a great loss for the polo community, he said.

“I think they lost a woman who had not yet finished her mission,” James said. “What I came to learn [through research for the essay] is that she gave so much. Her legacy continues because she established [record-keeping] bloodlines for ponies through DNA and genetics. What polo lost was her further development. Yet it was well and truly balanced out by what polo gained.”

But you don’t have to have achieved international fame to warrant a tribute by James.

“When it’s a more private tribute, for neighbors or the members of our community, I sit down with them and they relay their story to me,” he said. “The fact that we are able to make them comfortable enough to express themselves freely is the key to our success. Everything has to come from a place of honesty in order to create their ‘Gift of Authenticity.’ We interact with people on a very personal level.”

Especially if the piece is to be read aloud, James also sends an audio file of himself reading it, so people can get the pacing right. “This way they have my interpretation of their story as it was written,” he explained. “I get a lot of mileage out of the Australian accent, too. People are fond of it. And I’ve worked to develop a very steady and comfortable voice. All of my work sounds similar. There’s a rhythm and melody.”

James is comfortable growing his business slowly, primarily through word-of-mouth and his Facebook page.

“We ask our clients to pass us along in their network of friends. Growth has gone slowly, by that’s by design,” James said. “I want to develop my profile as an essayist. I’m an artist; it really is that simple. Like someone who paints original artwork, there are no reproductions. This is the medium and the method we use. The essay is written for you, about you, using a propriety method that transfers it into a finished product that we haven’t seen anybody else do. It’s a narrative of substance, written in this specialized method of sophistication.”

James enjoys living in Wellington, which he regards as a small community that appreciates good quality art, which is important to him.

Learn more about the artist at “JC JAMES Modern Essayist” on Facebook. For further information, contact Mysdee Middleton at (561) 843-4161 or


GIT Barn Solutions Helps Equestrians Keep Horse Waste Under Control

GIT Barn Solutions Helps Equestrians Keep Horse Waste Under Control

Everyone involved with horses knows that dealing with horse waste is part of the lifestyle. In fact, the more involved in the industry, the more manure there is to manage. There are glamorous facets to being an equestrian, but waste management is not one of them. Luckily, Wellington-based GIT Barn Solutions is there to help.

As they say, what goes in, must come out. And if you’re a horse owner, you know that horses can consume a huge amount of food. All that food leads to a lot of manure.

The amount of total stall waste per horse averages between 60 and 70 pounds per day — or approximately 12 tons of stall waste per year. Given that many equestrians own more than one horse, sometimes a dozen or more, you’re talking about a big problem. What do you do about that pile of waste? You call in the experts.

GIT Barn Solutions will travel to your barn and relieve you of the problem. They have the shovels, the containers, the trucks, conveyor belts, gigantic troughs and transport vehicles. They have everything you need to properly dispose of equine waste without the hassle. Best of all, they’re just a phone call away.

And when it comes to horse waste, GIT Barn Solutions is one of the leading players in the industry, offering a new manure solution with closed, non-leaking containers that are better looking and keep flies away.

Beginning in November 2015, GIT was contracted to remove manure from the thoroughbred racetrack Gulfstream Park West and its associated training center Palm Meadows which, together, attract 1,500 horses each winter. The owner of the company, Giuseppe Iadisernia, an Italian-American breeder of Thoroughbreds headquartered in Ocala, visited Wellington later that year and saw loose manure piled in bins, attracting flies and other insects.

As a horseman himself, Iadisernia could calculate the significant amount of waste the Village of Wellington needed to manage in order to protect the water and the land from contamination. He found himself asking, “How is it that such splendid properties do not have a better system to take care of livestock waste?”

By January 2016, GIT Barn Solutions was operating in the Wellington area, setting up new administrative headquarters on Fairlane Farms Road. To allow for its future development, the company recently acquired the entire property.

Three managers keep things running smoothly — Freddy Sanchez (general manager), George Falcon (sales) and Brad Smith (operations).

Also integral to the business are its four Mack garbage trucks, capable of handling 12 tons of manure; two delivery trucks for containers and shavings; and one dump truck. Their service area of 225 clients extends from Miami-Dade north to Palm Beach County. But that’s in human terms. The number of horses served is 1,200 in July, soaring to 2,500 in the March high season. An expansion into equestrian-friendly Palm City is next on the radar screen.

As an essential part of its business plan, GIT Barn Solutions also recently developed a shavings factory in Leesburg, located between Orlando and Ocala. By offering both clean shavings and manure removal, the company has been able to reduce prices — and headaches — for clients who need both services.

GIT Barn Solutions is also sure that the manure is disposed of properly. The company works closely with U.S. Sugar and McGill, but a transfer facility project will soon enable them to ship a vast amount of manure to Ocala for recycling.

After all, it turns out that one man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure.

GIT Barn Solutions is located at 3080 Fairlane Farms Road, Suite 1, in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 600-3407 or visit