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Wellington The Magazine, LLC Featured Articles

Behind The Tournament

Behind The Tournament Many Sponsors Help Propel The Gay Polo League Event To The Next Level

While the organizers and participants are a key part of the International Gay Polo Tournament, it is the sponsors that help to elevate the event to what it is. When the battle cry “the slightest difference makes all the difference” was called, these allies stood up. They invested dollars to support the work that is creating an atmosphere of understanding. They join the organizers, players and fans in looking forward to the largest Gay Polo League tournament to date, with more than 3,000 players, attendees and enthusiasts expected from around the world.

This year’s sponsors include:

Lexus — One of the top ten luxury car brands in the world, Lexus epitomizes class, luxury and imaginative technology. Lexus vehicles have uncompromising style, unmatched potential, and marry intensity with elegance. A priority for Lexus is community equality, which is why the company enthusiastically returns each year to sponsor the tournament.

Douglas Elliman Real Estate — Known for its vast reach, a portfolio unmatched by any other company and one that aligns with the vision of the Gay Polo League, the cause-based brand of Douglas Elliman Real Estate has been a longtime sponsor of the event. The company proudly supports diversity and equality in a meaningful way with an impact that is recognized around the world.

Baccarat — Known for its luxury goods, Baccarat has undergone an exciting rejuvenation over the last few years and bridged the gap between “look don’t touch” philosophies and creating new ways to use the coveted crystal. The company will serve as the GPL Polotini sponsor during the 2022 tournament, which will benefit the onePULSE Foundation. The foundation’s defining mission and healing initiative aligns perfectly with the GPL, including the mutual wish of preventing targeted tragedies and hate from occurring again.

Cherry Knoll Farm — Recognized for excellence in the sport of international show jumping and dressage, CKF is a strong and valued ally to many causes. For years, CKF has sponsored the GPL VIP Pavilion, which creates a world-class experience to spectators attending the International Gay Polo Tournament. CKF’s philanthropy is widely known for supporting childhood education, para dressage athletes and more.

Additional sponsors who propel the event forward include First Republic Bank, Bethesda Hospital, the U.S. Polo Association, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, Passport, Discover the Palm Beaches, McKenney Media, the Tackeria, Woodford Reserve, Marshall & Sterling, Emerald Elite, G Racing, RBC Wealth Management and Palm City Polo.

These 18 new and returning sponsors have stepped up in supporting the Gay Polo League’s goal of creating a safe, connected community for LGBTQ athletes and fans.

“Our sponsors proudly share our vision to support and advance equality and diversity for LGBTQ+ athletes and allies. It is because of these sponsors, brands and supportive companies that we continue to create a community of individuals coming together for a fun, light-hearted yet impactful event that is changing the world as we know it,” said Chip McKenney, GPL’s founder and president.

Tickets are available now for the 2022 tournament and may be purchased by visiting www.gaypolo.com.

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Champions In Every Sense Of The Word


Champions In Every Sense Of The Word Gay Polo League Wins Prestigious Award From The Palm Beach County Sports Commission

A champion can be defined as a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else. While many understand the definition of a champion in relation to “the big game,” this form of champion is someone who truly fights for what they believe in every way, every day. Fighting the fight for equality for more than a decade is the team behind the Gay Polo League. Recently, the community has taken notice.

On April 3, the Gay Polo League will receive the prestigious Palm Beach County Sports Commission “Champion of Equity & Diversity Award” for its work on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes through the game of polo.

Since its inception, the league has worked tirelessly to create an atmosphere that affirms and supports the understanding and acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, sexual preference, sexual identity or gender. The Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, is the only LGBTQ+ sporting event in Palm Beach County and remains so even after more than a decade.

While the Gay Polo League proudly has teams that participate in other leagues and tournaments, there is still much growth on the horizon. The league will continue its work to promote goodwill and camaraderie that extends throughout the game of polo and transcends into other sports and aspects of life.

“We have come such a long way,” Gay Polo League founder Chip McKenney said. “This award speaks volumes to the work we are doing for our friends, neighbors and allies. This means that our sleepless nights and bravery are truly making a difference. We are creating safe spaces, ruffling feathers in the best way possible and inciting positive change!”

The award will officially be bestowed during the 45th annual Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame Awards Celebration at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. The Gay Polo League will be the second polo entity recognized by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and will proudly continue its work as change agents advocating understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people.

McKenney believes that “differences are teachers” and values embracing, celebrating and elevating the benefits of diversity. He encourages the community to continue serving as allies for LGBTQ+ communities and working together to advance equity. While the league’s work is “changing the sport of polo one chukker at a time,” there is still much work to be done.

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

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Rönner Is A Lifestyle Brand Inspired By Everything Equestrian

Rönner creates classic equestrian-style collections with a unique, feminine twist. One of the brand’s main focuses are timeless and whimsical prints, all created for passionate people who love horses.

Rönner is a family-owned business, founded by Ines Rönner and her two daughters, Jessica and Carin. It all started with Ines, who instilled a love for horses in Jessica and Carin. They grew up around horses, and this was the background for their initial inspiration.

“The idea was to create something fresh and innovative to everything we saw in the equestrian apparel market,” Ines said.

Horses and everything equestrian are the main inspirations behind the collections. From Sunday polo events, to classic dressage, to the noble-yet-powerful nature of a horse: these are all the canvases to the Rönner collections.

All the prints are hand-drawn, created by artists, blending feminine elements like florals and blooms with classic equestrian motifs.

The brand has three main lines: ride-leisure, lifestyle, and home and gifts.

Ride-leisure focuses on pieces for optimal performance, such as training tops, polo shirts and show shirts created for riding and sport activities, but also for casual outfits, barn to lunches, and leisurely weekends.

The lifestyle line showcases blouses, dresses, shoes and more for a unique and elegant equestrian style.

The home and gift line features a selection of thoughtful options that make perfect presents for the whole riding family and friends, such as tablecloths, stationery, pouches and more.

Rönner is a female-founded company, by women-for women, and it is very important for the company to have an ethical manufacturing process and a meaningful purpose. The craftmanship is socially and environmentally responsible. All the pieces are made with love, care and sensibility by women head of their homes in Colombia. Most of the textiles and materials used by Rönner are upcycled, and the packaging is eco-friendly.

“This is because we care about who makes our designs just as much as who we make them for,” Ines said.

The brand just launched a special collection in collaboration with noted equestrian Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. In unison, they created two main prints, one inspired by Meredith’s horse Shutterfly, and the other a classic equestrian icon with tack and florals. The pieces of the collection are classic and elegant silhouettes with unique prints.

“It was very inspiring to design a collection with such an inspiring and talented woman as Meredith,” Ines said. “Her career as a female rider was the perfect match to our philosophy and believes as a brand.”

Rönner hopes to continue growing the business and working to reach passionate people who love what they do and feel identified with a brand that matches their passion.

“With our pieces and prints, we want to make people feel unique and special, and connected with one common ground: the love for horses,” Ines said.

Discover the Rönner collections at www.ronnerdesign.com.

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Young Equestrian Riders

Young Equestrian Riders
Up-And-Coming Stars Winter In Wellington, Honing Their Skills For Their Future Careers

Each year during the winter season, we look to highlight some of the amazing young equestrian riders who bring their future star power to Wellington. Across the next few pages, you are invited to meet some of these talented riders.

With a record number of young equestrians becoming prominent throughout the industry, we are just touching a small handful of this elite group. After rebounding from the challenges over the last two years, many of the up-and-coming rising stars came to Wellington this winter to win at every level of competition and in a wide range of disciplines, from jumping to dressage and polo.

Although young, these riders put in an amazing amount of the time and effort to show with the confidence needed to succeed. It has been great to watch some of these riders grow up right here in Wellington, as well as those who travel from around the globe to compete at the amazing venues that Wellington has to offer.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the four riders profiled here, and many others, as they continue to advance in their arena and hopefully onto the world stage one day.

Avery Glynn
Story and Photo by Tori Bilas/Phelps Media Group

Junior Hunters, WIHS medals and the USET/Platinum Performance Talent Search 3* are just a few of the many prestigious classes that Avery Glynn of Petaluma, California, has topped as she aimed for more wins at this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival. At just 17 years old, the young rider is making a name for herself on both coasts, sweeping junior hunter and equitation classes in every ring she steps foot in, and in the best of company.

Daughter of professional equestrian trainer Hope Glynn, Avery has been surrounded by horses since a young age and is now learning the ropes of the sport from professionals all over the country, including the Ingram family, based in Wellington for the winter, and Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run, all of whom hired Avery as a working student during her time in Wellington.

This young equestrian rider is building a foundation for a profession in the equestrian world, already teaming up with major brands she believes in, including the BEMER Horse-Set, marking the first equitation and junior rider that the prominent brand works with.

Sarah Tight
Story by Sydney Jones  |  Photo by Georgie Hammond

With young riders pioneering the future of equestrian sports, it is paramount that these athletes are in an environment that supports their development as riders, as well as people to propel them into the next phase of their career. This is true for Sarah Tight, a 13-year-old athlete who trains with Carriage Hill Farms. Sarah has had her sights set on competing at a high level from the early age of four years old.

Currently competing in the 3’-3’3 equitation, Sarah has goals to continue her growth and get to the top of the equitation divisions. Although still a young rider herself, Sarah hopes to encourage and inspire both current and future young riders in the sport. “A piece of advice I would like to share with other young athletes is to take the time to build a relationship with your horse and always have fun no matter what the outcome of your round is,” she said.

McKayla Langmeier
Story by Allyson Lagiovane | Photo by Sportfot

Born and raised in East Granby, Connecticut, into a family of equestrians, McKayla Langmeier has been fully immersed in the equestrian scene her entire life. McKayla has followed in the footsteps of her parents, Linda and Kenny Langmeier, to garner many achievements by the young age of 21.

McKayla attended Auburn University, where she competed on the Auburn Equestrian NCEA team from 2018-21. Approaching the end of her junior year, she made the decision to take her riding career to the next level and turn professional. Some of her top wins include the 2015 ASPCA Maclay National Championship, marking the first time a mother and daughter have both held the coveted title.

McKayla has also held top titles at events such as HITS Saugerties, Spruce Meadows in Calgary, the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals-East, the Traverse City Horse Shows and many more. McKayla continues to ride as a professional, making a name for herself as she travels across the United States with her parents and the Kelianda Farm team.

Charlotte McLaughlin
Story by Olivia Airhart | Photo by Phelps Media Group

18-year-old Canadian show jumper Charlotte McLaughlin of Perth, Ontario, began her riding career in 2011 in the hunter ring, moving quickly through the ranks aboard It’s Coolman, finishing with her team as reserve champion in the Children’s Hunter Division at the Royal Winter Fair.

McLaughlin transitioned to the jumper ring in 2017, and just one year later she had the opportunity to represent her home nation at the 2018 FEI North America Youth Championships at Old Salem Farm, where she won team gold and individual silver. In her breakout year, she was also named the 2018 Canadian Champion at the Royal Winter Fair.

Since making a splash in the show jumping world, McLaughlin has continued to develop as an athlete under the tutelage of both Millar Brook Farm and Millar Brooke South here in Wellington. As a recipient of the Equestrian Canada Jumping Youth Bursary in 2020, McLaughlin was praised for her dedication to both the classroom as an honor roll student and as a serious competitor in the show ring. Most recently, the up-and-coming rider represented Canada yet again at the 2021 FEI North American Youth Championships in the 1.40-1.45m Junior Jumper division aboard Vantastico.

Just this past winter, McLaughlin achieved one of her lifelong goals of becoming a Tiger, making a verbal commitment to ride on Auburn University’s NCAA Division 1 equestrian team. She prides herself on being a well-rounded athlete devoting her time to both the show ring and the classroom, as well as volunteer work. McLaughlin is excited to ride for Auburn and will continue to train and show with the Millars.

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Life In The Doghouse

Life In The Doghouse
Children’s Book Series Hits Shelves, Based On Real Life Dogs From Danny & Ron’s Rescue

By Emma Miller

For lifelong animal lovers Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta, the work of dog rescue is never-ending.

The couple, who met through a mutual love for equestrian sport, shifted gears to begin focusing their efforts on the other four-legged friends that needed their help in 2005. Though the two were passionate about saving dogs long before, Danny and Ron’s Rescue truly saw its inception during Hurricane Katrina.

Their rescue mission began in earnest as they saved more than 600 dogs from the national disaster in Louisiana.

For their efforts during Hurricane Katrina, they were named the 2008 ASPCA Honorees of the Year.

Since then, Robertshaw and Danta have used their personal home for Danny & Ron’s Rescue, forming as a nonprofit organization that has saved more than 12,000 dogs, placing them in loving homes.

With roots both here in Wellington, and in Camden, South Carolina, Danny and Ron’s Rescue has been widely recognized and loved in both areas of the country for years. Following the release of an award-winning feature documentary, Life in the Doghouse on Netflix in 2018, they were given a new platform to spread the word about their mission to fans from all over the world.

With this new, eager audience in mind, Robertshaw and Danta released their new heartfelt chapter book series “Life in the Doghouse” published by Simon & Schuster in February 2022, inspired by the stories of real dogs from the rescue featured in the popular Netflix documentary. The newly released books, co-written by Crystal Velasquez and illustrated by Laura Catrinella, are now available at multiple locations, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

“We hope that our ‘Life in the Doghouse’ children’s series will help spark a love for animals in the younger generations, because they are the ones who will carry on our mission of dog rescue in the future,” Danta said. “Whether the books encourage someone to spread the word about adopting, help others in need or just put a smile on their face, they are doing what we hoped they would.”

The first book in the series, Elmer and the Talent Show, features an older dachshund that doesn’t quite fit in. Elmer forms a slow-to-start friendship with Benny, the boy in his new family, as they prepare for a big talent show. The second book, Moose and the Smelly Sneakers, follows the adventures of an ornery puppy and industrious Jeanie who manages to merge her science homework with Moose’s training. The third book in the series, Millie, Daisy and the Scary Storm, will be released on July 12. Millie and Daisy are best friends who’ve been through a lifetime of challenges together. Finally finding safety at Danny & Ron’s Rescue, Millie settles in easily and looks forward to finding her forever home, while Daisy still feels anxious about thunderstorms and leaving the rescue.

With the fun new children’s book series, Robertshaw and Danta hope to both inspire and entertain young dog lovers, educating them on the importance of dog rescue and giving all dogs a second chance at love.

The pair held a book signing on March 12 at their adoption booth at the Winter Equestrian Festival’s Palm Beach International Equestrian Center to meet and greet some of their fans in the Wellington area and promote some of their adoptable dogs at the venue.

Danny and Ron have been featured on “The Today Show,” the CBS Evening News, the Hallmark Channel, “Pickler & Ben” and several other TV shows. Their mission is a lifetime promise of love and care to every dog they take in.

Visit www.dannyronsrescue.org to learn more about the nonprofit. Learn more about the documentary at www.lifeinthedoghousemovie.com. It is now available to stream on Amazon.

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U.S. Dressage Olympian Sabine Schut-Kery Finds Many Opportunities In Wellington

U.S. Dressage Olympian Sabine Schut-Kery Finds Many Opportunities In Wellington

By Jennifer Wood

There is nothing simple about making a 3,000-mile trek from Napa, California, to Wellington, Florida, every winter with horses, but for Tokyo Olympic Games team silver medalist Sabine Schut-Kery, it’s a trip she does gladly for the opportunity it affords her to progress in the international sport of dressage.

Sabine is one of the world’s best dressage athletes, and she has regularly attended competitions during South Florida’s winter season, from its early beginnings at the White Fences Equestrian Center in Loxahatchee, to recent years at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).

Sabine, who is 53 years old, first came to Wellington in 2000, two years after she made the move from her home country of Germany to Proud Meadows in Texas. She brought with her two Friesian stallions, Tinus PM and Jorrit PM, and a career of not only classical dressage, but training and performances in a traveling horse theater in Germany, similar to the Cavalia show in the United States. She continued these special exhibitions in the U.S., including shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City, but despite having traveled the world, she was still awed by the equestrian scene in Wellington.

“I was blown away,” Sabine recalled. “I had never seen anything like Wellington. It was quite special. It does get better and better. I think the community is growing so much more and improving.”

When asked about her favorite memory of Wellington, a big smile lit up her face as she recounted when she brought Jorrit PM, the Friesian stallion that was the first horse she owned, to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle when dressage was held at the Winter Equestrian Festival show grounds in 2001. At the same event, she also won the Prix St. Georges with Tinus PM.

“It’s just a neat story for myself, personally, because I bought him when he was just a green three-year-old back then in Germany, I was competing at Second Level,” she recalled. “I bought him, and I remember my dream was, ‘Oh my God, if I could ever ride Third Level.’ And here I am winning the Grand Prix Freestyle in Wellington with a Friesian against the warmbloods!”

While Sabine did not come every winter since 2000, she made a point to make the trip when she could to advance her competition career. When her top horse and Olympic partner Sanceo was ready for international competition in 2014, she decided to attend AGDF each winter to give him the experience and exposure that the circuit brings.

“The concentration of the opportunity to compete, that is why I come. I don’t think that’s the case anywhere else in the world,” she explained. “You have the opportunity and the option of showing on an almost weekly basis for all the horses you’re bringing: your students, clients, young horses and your top horses. The atmosphere is one of the biggest in the country, as well. It’s so concentrated and a bigger stage. It’s so competitive, so I think you can measure up and be your best against the best in the country. That is always very encouraging, that you stay on the top of your own game. It’s also inspiring to see other amazing horse-and-rider combinations. It’s all-around really wonderful and positive.”

Unlike many riders in Florida, Sabine doesn’t come for the pleasant weather — “It’s actually better at home!” — but she finds that she can take advantage of the competition and help train others while she is in Wellington for the three-month stay.

Watching others and learning is something Sabine has always considered important in her quest to always be a better horsewoman than the day before.

“I really learned a lot here from the availability of having top-notch farriers and veterinarians, just horsemen and horsewomen in general,” she said. “Seeing colleagues, riders I look up to, I get inspired and get ideas. You learn a lot from watching other riders compete, or training even. Here it’s easy to go watch someone work with their horses.”

Yet it isn’t all horses, all the time, for Sabine. She has made an effort to check out more of the area and takes an occasional “Sabine Day” to the Four Seasons Resort for the spa, pool, restaurant and walks on the beach. She has also started to explore Miami. “I’m very interested in learning about different cultures and seeing different cities,” she said. “My dream was always to go around the world with a backpack. But with horses, maybe this occurred; it’s my little version of that.”

Sabine has a strong string of mounts that she is working with this winter, including Alice Womble’s 16-year-old Hanoverian stallion Sanceo, with whom she won the team silver medal in Tokyo last summer and took the team gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games. Sanceo has competed in 18 classes at AGDF since 2015 and won 11 of them. In 2018, they helped the U.S. team take the silver medal at the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* at AGDF, and Sabine and Sanceo took home the individual silver medal as well.

She is also excited about four other young horses that she has in Wellington this winter, including six-year-old stallions Gorgeous Latino, owned by Sandy Mancini, and the Andalusian Fuego TG, owned by Bridget Walker, who made the trip from Spain. Her personal horse Falou is five years old, as is a “very, very exciting” gelding Mr. Spielberg, a horse owned in partnership with her friend Adriana Popovich of Castle Rock Wines in Napa.

Sabine and Adriana recently announced a new line of wines called “Dressage” that includes a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay, which is Sabine’s personal favorite. Both wines are carried in Wellington, as well.

Sabine is competing once again with Sanceo in the main international arena at AGDF in 2022 with the goal to make the U.S. Short List to compete in Europe this summer and represent the American team at the World Championships in Herning, Denmark, in August.

Bringing along young horses is close to Sabine’s heart — she found Sanceo as a three-year-old and has cultivated that winning partnership over the past 13 years — and she will aim to move her young horses through the pathway of young horse, developing horse and high-performance programs.

“I’m always pushing myself to be a better rider and mentor for my horses and my students,” she said. “I want to develop the horses into beautiful athletes that will showcase classical dressage on a competitive platform.”

To learn more about Sabine Schut-Kery, visit www.sabineschutkery.com. Visit www.globaldressagefestival.com to find out more about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, including the schedule, riders and horses competing this season.

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Husband-And-Wife Team Jaimey And Tina Irwin Have Grown With Wellington’s Dressage Circuit

Husband-And-Wife Team Jaimey And Tina Irwin Have Grown With Wellington’s Dressage Circuit

By Jennifer Wood

Canadian dressage riders Jaimey and Tina Irwin grew up riding in Ontario, Canada. As a husband-and-wife team, they have each been successful in the dressage world and are familiar faces at Wellington’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).

Tina’s sister, Sarah, and Jaimey ended up on the same Young Riders championship team, and Tina connected with Jaimey immediately when they met at a horse show.

Their partnership began nearly 20 years ago, and a business relationship at Stoney Lake Equestrian began soon after.

Jaimey and Tina were both born into families involved with horses and quickly took to the sport themselves. Jaimey’s family ran the Irwin Inn resort on Stoney Lake in Lakefield, Ontario, where Jaimey got his start teaching lessons and leading trail rides. Tina’s mother, Ute Busse, was a successful dressage rider in her own right, so Tina competed at local shows around Ontario from an early age.

The Irwins first came to Wellington in 2006 after a client found the young couple a six-stall barn in Palm Beach Point to operate out of for the winter. They brought with them six horses to train and compete and lived in the barn’s small apartment. With no support staff, the Irwins did everything themselves.

“We knew about Florida, but we just didn’t think it was possible for us until a client pushed us and said, ‘You can do this,’” Jaimey recalled.

At the time, the Winter Equestrian Festival hosted both hunter/jumper and dressage competition, and additionally there were dressage shows at Littlewood Farm and the White Fences Equestrian Center. Wellington was still evolving toward what it is today. But even then, Wellington’s grandeur was a lot for the Irwins to take in. As Jaimey noted, it was “like Disneyland for horse people.”

“It was a little overwhelming at first,” Tina added. “Our first experience was very eye-opening.”

Wellington has grown dramatically in the past 15 years, and the Irwins’ careers and Stoney Lake Equestrian business have as well. They balance their own competition schedules with the training of clients and the marketing of sales horses. From Canada, they arrive with a full barn of 20 horses, their own as well as horses belonging to clients in training with them.

Being in Wellington allows the Irwins to simultaneously operate their business, continue toward their personal goals, and keep an eye out for new, promising equine talent. In addition, the mild Florida climate helps keep the Irwins and their horses in the best possible shape, giving them valuable months of making progress and advancing their careers.

AGDF itself provides seven international events during the three months of their stay in Wellington, giving them the opportunity to earn scores to be considered for championship teams.

“We wouldn’t be able to qualify for some of the major competitions like the World Cup Finals and the Pan American Games. I don’t think our careers would be where they are without Wellington,” Tina explained.

“It’s unfortunate we don’t have indoor competitions at home at the beginning of the year, and the deadline for qualification happens so early in the year. It’s not really possible most years to qualify only in Canada,” Jaimey added. “If you are trying for a team, then you do have to come to Florida. Without AGDF, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we’ve done.”

In 2011, Tina represented Canada at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, riding Winston and brought home a team silver medal.

In 2013, Jaimey qualified for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he and Lindor’s Finest made their overseas debut representing Canada.

After a remarkable 2016 for Tina and her mount Laurencio, a then 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding the Irwins owned themselves, Equestrian Canada — the national governing body of equestrian sport — named Laurencio the Horse of the Year. True to his title, Laurencio and Tina achieved a world-record score at WEF in the small tour, a 78.708 percent. Then, in 2019, Tina and Laurencio competed at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, where Canada won the team gold medal, and Tina took home the individual silver. With the exception of 2021 due to the pandemic, the Irwins have made Wellington their winter home every year since 2006.

Many riders from around the world have also realized the benefit of being in Wellington, and consequently, the equine professional community here has boomed. The community has become a great business resource for the Irwins, who rely on the connections they make in order to buy and sell horses both for themselves and for their clients.

Since the birth of their children, the Irwins have made Wellington a family affair. With the support and aid of their own parents, Tina and Jaimey have been able to bring Gavin, 11, and Marlies, 8, to Wellington every year. They recognize that traveling each winter has the potential to be jarring for their kids, so it was important that Wellington was a place the children could also enjoy. As a family, they are able to enjoy the beaches, nature preserves and other local activities such as visiting Lion Country Safari. Sometimes, however, it’s equally as nice to just be at home together by the pool.

“They feel really at home here,” Tina said. “We work hard all year to make Florida a go, so when we come here, we want to really immerse ourselves and enjoy the whole experience.”

For the 2022 AGDF circuit, Jaimey and Tina are very enthusiastic about the horses they have in their string. Tina has younger developing horses, as well as her trusted, longtime partner Fancy That, a 16-year-old Oldenburg mare. Tina and Fancy will be working on a strong return to international competition, after COVID-19 disrupted their plans to aim for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Jaimey has a coming-seven-year-old named Flirtfaktor, a horse he brought to Wellington for the invaluable experience. He also has Stiletto, a 14-year-old Oldenburg mare co-owned by Tina’s mother, Ute, and Ute’s friend, Patricia Scherrer, that Jaimey is competing in the national Grand Prix and building toward the international level.

Perhaps most exciting is Simsalabim, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Kimberly Wynd. While Simsalabim has not shown at the Grand Prix level yet, Jaimey competed her in small tour classes last year and Intermediare II at home in Canada. Based on what they have seen of the mare, Jaimey has his eyes set on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Amid all the moving parts, Jaimey and Tina have found it easy to work together, despite their kids telling them they have incompatible astrological signs. “There’s an exception to every rule,” Tina laughed.

Though they each have mostly their own horses and students to train, they are always collaborating to run a successful business and communicating about any issues.

“It’s great to have the support emotionally, and to have that other person to bounce ideas off of,” Tina said. “I feel lucky to have Jaimey as my business partner.”

“And I feel lucky to have Tina,” Jaimey added.

While luck may have played a part, it has been the Irwins’ hard work that has paid off in a successful business, dressage careers and the ability to make Wellington their winter home for the foreseeable future.

To learn more about the Irwins, visit www.teamirwindressage.com. For more information about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

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Faces of Dressage

Faces of Dressage
The unique elegance that is the sport of dressage has returned to Wellington once again with the 2022 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, where some of the best horse-and-rider combinations can be seen in action. While classes exist for all levels, the most popular are the top-level Grand Prix events to the amazing Musical Freestyle classes. Dressage is often called “ballet with horses.” This comparison helps people understand the extraordinary level of dedication, training and effort it takes for a rider and horse to become one in a sport dating back centuries. Many of the top dressage riders are here this winter, including Adrienne Lyle, Sabine Schut-Kery and Steffen Peters, who won the silver medal last summer in Tokyo. From elite, international dressage to the sport’s more introductory levels, to the uplifting sport of para-dressage, all levels of this unique discipline are on display here in Wellington. In Faces of Dressage 2022, we highlight just a few of these riders.

Steffen Peters
German-born Steffen Peters, who competes for the U.S., began riding at age 7, and by age 15 was competing at the international level. After receiving his first horse, Udon, at age 16, he began seriously training in dressage. It was aboard Udon that Peters won the team bronze when he represented the U.S. at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Peters has represented the U.S. at numerous other international competitions, including the World Equestrian Games in 2006 and 2010, when he secured bronze medals, and 2018, when he took silver. He returned to the Olympics in 2016 and helped the U.S. to the bronze medal in team dressage. At the Olympics last summer in Tokyo, Peters and Suppenkasper helped the U.S. win team silver. He is a regular at the AGDF in Wellington.

Adrienne Lyle
Adrienne Lyle was raised on a small cattle farm in Whidbey Island, Washington. She originally rode western, then switched to English at age seven. She tried eventing before dressage became her calling. Lyle was a member of the silver medal team at the 2002 Cosequin Junior Dressage Championships and the bronze medal Region 6 team at the 2004 North American Young Rider Championships. Career highlights include competing in the 2012 Olympics in London and contributing to a fourth-place team finish at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France. Lyle and her mount Salvino qualified for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, where the U.S. team won the silver medal. At last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, Lyle and Salvino again led the U.S. to the team silver.

Nick Wagman
Nick Wagman is a California-based rider with big wins on the Wellington circuit. He represented the U.S. at the 2019 FEI Dressage Nations Cup in the Netherlands and the FEI Dressage Nations Cup France with his longtime partner Don John. Also in 2019, Wagman won the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix National Championship with Ferano and the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with Don John at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. With Don John, Wagman collected second-place finishes in the CDI3* Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special during week five of the 2020 AGDF. Wagman also collected victories during the 2021 AGDF, including the CDI3* Grand Prix during week five and the CDI3* Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special during week eight.

Yvonne Losos de Muñiz
Born to Canadian parents in Nigeria, Yvonne Losos de Muñiz rides for the Dominican Republic, her home since 1990. She became the first Dominican rider to participate in the Olympics when competing at the 2016 games in Rio. Her career began early with support from her parents before formal training in Germany. Listed among the best riders in Latin America, Losos de Muñiz won bronze at the 2007 Pan-American Games in Rio, repeating the feat of the 2003 Pan-American Games in Santo Domingo. Prior to that, Losos de Muñiz won individual gold and bronze as a team in the 2002 Central American Games in El Salvador. A regular on the Wellington circuit, she was back representing the Dominican Republic at the Olympics last summer in Tokyo.

Kevin Kohmann
Kevin Kohmann grew up around horses in Germany. His success started with ponies, where in 2002, he won the pony regional championships. After that, Kohmann was regarded as a talented young professional and recruited to the U.S. to work under top trainers. This gave him the opportunity to ride more difficult horses. It was soon apparent that Kohmann could take even the most difficult horses and turn them into successful and willing partners. During this time, he managed to show several horses at the Grand Prix level. Kohmann joined the Diamante Farms training team in 2014, and he remains based in Wellington. He was part of the winning German team in the 2021 AGDF Nations Cup CDIO3*. Now an American citizen, he plans to ride for the U.S. in the future

Camille Carier Bergeron
Camille Carier Bergeron is a talented Canadian dressage rider. She has been a regular at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington since 2015. That year she rode in the FEI Pony with Monte Carlo and the FEI Junior with Lowelas. In 2018, she was part of the Canadian team that won the North American Young Rider Championship. Bergeron, riding Acouer, served as the anchor rider for Team Canada, which won 2021 CDIO-U25 Nations Cup at last year’s AGDF in Wellington. Also last year, she claimed the 2021 Florida International Youth Dressage Championship and earned the overall high point combination with a score of 73.629 percent riding Sound of Silence 4, a horse she has been working with since 2017.

Alice Tarjan
Alice Tarjan, a dressage rider from New Jersey, has had a stunning few seasons, both at the AGDF and elsewhere. She capped last year’s season by winning the Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix Series Final, making it the second year in a row that Tarjan won the prestigious honor. The 42-year-old has a history of success competing her own young horses through the levels. In 2020, she took home multiple titles from the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, including the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with Donatella M. She was reserve in the same class with Harvest. Last summer, she won the 2021 U.S. Grand Prix Championships, undefeated aboard her mounts Candescent and Donatella M.

Beatrice de Lavalette
U.S. Paralympian Beatrice de Lavalette was born in France but now lives in Wellington. Growing up in a horse-loving family, she started riding early, studying both dressage and equitation. Her entire life changed on March 22, 2016, when, at age 17, she was critically injured in a terror attack at the Brussels airport. Suffering massive internal injuries, burns, a spinal cord injury and the amputation of both lower legs, she worked her way back into the saddle of her beloved mare, Delegada X. She has since become an accomplished para-dressage rider, competing in her first show in April 2017. As a member of U.S. Para Dressage Paralympic Team, de Lavalette represented her adopted home country at the Paralympic Games last summer in Tokyo aboard her mount Clarc.

Rebecca Hart
Rebecca Hart was born with a progressive genetic disease that causes her muscles to waste away, but this disability hasn’t stopped her from becoming an elite dressage Paralympian. Hart, who has hereditary spastic paraplegia, has competed in Wellington and around the world, including four Paralympics and three World Equestrian Games. She won the bronze and silver medals at the 2018 WEG in Tryon. Hart, who lives year-round in Wellington, is a regular in the para-dressage classes at the AGDF. She frequently represents the United States at top para-dressage events, such as the Perrigo CPEDI3* at the Tryon International Equestrian Center last October. Last month, Hart was on the team sent to compete at the CHI Doha in Qatar with her mount El Corona Texel.

Kelly Layne
Kelly Layne is an elite Australian dressage rider based out of Wellington who competes regularly at the AGDF. She is an international competitor with dozens of CDI starts at the Grand Prix level in Australia, Japan, Germany, Austria and here in the United States. Layne is the daughter of Helen Anstee, a Grand Prix rider, FEI judge and breeder of dressage horses. Her riding career started before she could walk, and by the time Layne was 12 years old, she was the Under 12 National Dressage Champion twice on two different horses. Layne rode in her first Grand Prix at age 18. She has worked with a number of top trainers, including Ulla Salzgeber. Layne represented her native Australia at the Tokyo Olympics and is back in action this winter in Wellington.

 

 

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Party For A Cause

Party For A Cause
Brooke USA’s White Party Goes Green For St. Patrick’s Day

By Kendall Bierer

This year, St. Patrick’s Day is about more than green beer and bar crawls. Locally, attention is turning to a celebration for the Brooke USA Foundation, a charity near and dear to the hearts of many Wellington residents.

Brooke USA’s annual signature event will be held Thursday, March 17 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Wellington National Golf Club. The coveted event is a special edition of the annual Brooke USA’s Sunset Polo & White Party series, returning in 2022 with a twist, as Brooke USA’s White Party Goes Green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The event boasts a Las Vegas-style casino under the stars, where guests will enjoy an evening of fun while raising funds for working horses, donkeys and mules, and the people who depend on them for survival worldwide.

Brooke USA’s White Party Goes Green with St. Patrick’s Day Casino Night is planned to be a spectacular affair as guests fittingly test their luck. Appropriately, Wellington National will transform into a Celtic-themed extravaganza, including décor, food, drinks and entertainment. Upon arrival, partiers will be greeted by Irish River Dancers from the Kelly Irish Academy of Dance, sure to set the mood for the St. Patrick’s Day-inspired event. Guests will also be able to meet miniature horses and donkeys brought to the party by Millar Brooke South. The equine ambassadors are an icon of the annual event.

Upon entering, guests will secure their play chips and arrive at the grand patio, where they will experience the sights and sounds of a real casino as players roar with every roll of the dice at the craps table or try a hand at outhustling the blackjack dealer while sipping on the signature drink of the night, sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

The roulette tables are sure to be popular as participants decide on what to bet only moments before the dealer flicks the ball into the spinning wheel.

When taking a break between bets, guests are encouraged to take part in the fabulous silent and live auctions, as well as the luxury travel auction provided by AmFund. Music will fill the air as guests move to the rhythm of acclaimed DJ Adam Lipson, who has played some of the most prestigious parties and events in South Florida and is brought to the event by entertainment sponsor, Celebrity Cruises, Hotels at Sea and the International Polo Tour. The March Madness games will also be shown throughout the night, so guests won’t have to miss a beat.

This event is yet another milestone in Brooke USA’s remarkable journey, raising more than $2 million to date from the annual signature event series, Brooke USA’s Sunset Polo & White Party. What began as a humble nonprofit just six years ago has turned into an inspiring tale of what board members, donors and volunteers can do for those who are less fortunate, human and equine alike.

General admission tickets are $100 per person, while children’s tickets are $50. The price of tickets increases March 1. Each ticket includes an Irish-themed buffet dinner, a welcome drink for those over 21 (soft drinks and water for children), as well as admission to the party; casino chips need to be purchased separately. VIP Poolside Lounges and VIP Tables are also available, taking the experience up a notch, with 2,500 gaming chips for each guest to kick off casino play. The casino gaming tables are provided for entertainment purposes only by Casino Party Nights Florida Inc. Guests must be 18 years or older to play.

Do not miss the opportunity to purchase your tickets to the soiree of the season and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day for a great cause. All donations and proceeds go to the Brooke USA Foundation.

For more information about Brooke USA’s White Party Goes Green, visit www.brookeusaevents.org.

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The Perfect Fit For Every Occasion

The Perfect Fit For Every Occasion Wellington-Based Parlanti International Leads The Market For Show Jumping Boots And Is Expanding Into Dressage Products

By Lily Yampolsky

Walking the showgrounds anywhere in the world, riders can be seen wearing Parlanti boots at any level and in every discipline. After becoming a household name in Europe, Parlanti International brought its boots to North America.

Headed by President Francesco Iannelli and CEO Alan Greenstein, Parlanti continues to extend into all spheres of the equestrian community, making it the No. 1 show jumping boot in the sport.

Basing their headquarters in Wellington has given Parlanti International the opportunity to grow exponentially. With both a storefront in Wellington and a booth at the Winter Equestrian Festival, Parlanti has become an integral part of Wellington’s renowned equestrian community and the village itself. Wellington is the epicenter of all equestrian disciplines during the winter months, giving the brand the ability to quickly integrate into the North American market.

“There’s no other city in the world that attracts so many riders,” Iannelli said. “You have three different disciplines from show jumping and hunters, to dressage and polo. Parlanti is very famous for hunter and show jumping boots, and now we are expanding into the dressage market as well.”

Parlanti International’s brand is a well-known name in nearly every hunter and jumper barn. Iannelli has headed the Parlanti brand for many years, starting in Italy and then expanding to all of Europe and Asia. Iannelli saw an opportunity in North America for Parlanti to expand further, and he spearheaded Parlanti International in 2015.

Greenstein and Ianelli joined forces in 2016, and with Greenstein’s vast business experience, they quickly made Parlanti the top show jumping boot in the sport. Greenstein’s daughter, Leah, competed on the Wellington equestrian circuit, while Greenstein and his wife owned a law firm in Palm Beach that represented many equestrian athletes, giving him both the industry and equestrian experience to help grow the Parlanti International brand.

“It has just been a great friendship and partnership with Francesco,” Greenstein said. “Francesco focuses mainly on the sales front, and I’m really focused on the administrative and marketing side of the business. Our goal is to remain in the forefront of innovation and technology, resulting in the most comfortable and durable boot.”

Recently, Parlanti decided to expand its dressage offerings by creating the Evo ready-to-wear dressage boot, in addition to the company’s established custom and semi-custom dressage offerings.

Ridden in by top dressage athletes like Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medalist Steffen Peters and Rio 2016 bronze medalist Kasey Perry-Glass, the Evo boot is quickly becoming a go-to for dressage riders across all levels. Peters likes the quality of Parlanti dressage boots. “They provide the best combination of comfort and rigid support for both the competition arena and daily training,” he said.

After more than a year in research, Parlanti International has taken the dressage world by storm in combining the tradition of a stiff dressage boot with the comfort the Parlanti brand is known for, culminating in the Evo ready-to-wear dressage boot. While Parlanti has specialized in the show jumping arena for more than 30 years, the creation of the new dressage boot is completely different than developing show jumping boots.

When producing a dressage stock boot, Iannelli explained the need to create a totally different fit and style than the show jumping models. “The legs, the muscle, the structure of the dressage rider’s boot is totally different from a jumper rider’s,” he said. “The fit is totally different.”

Established as a leader in the hunter/jumper circuit, Parlanti boots are being worn by the very best athletes on the hunter and jumper circuit. Two-time Olympian Kent Farrington, Tokyo silver medalist Jessica Springsteen, and world champion hunter rider and trainer Scott Stewart all choose the Parlanti International brand as their steadfast boots.

Top professionals trust that Parlanti boots will be made with the highest standards of craftsmanship and detail, while also enjoying the right-off-the-rack perfect fit. Parlanti boots are made to have virtually no break-in time, so riders can enjoy their new tall boots right away with no pain. Parlanti constantly experiments with new materials and technologies, so riders know they are getting the best possible boot design on the market. Athletes from pony divisions all the way to the international Grand Prix level feel confident in and trust Parlanti to manufacture tall boots with the best quality materials — from the leather, to the zipper, to the sole.

Generations of athletes recognize Parlanti International for its show jumping boots. With the addition of the new ready-to-wear dressage Evo boot, the firm is ready to dominate the dressage market as well. In 2022, Parlanti will continue to research new technology and styles, while keeping the traditional look of the beloved tall boot. Parlanti is perfectly situated to remain as the preferred choice for top athletes around the world, no matter the discipline.

For additional information about Parlanti International products, visit www.parlantiinternational.com.

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