As a lifelong Floridian and horse enthusiast, the decision to move to Wellington was an easy one for 28-year-old Grand Prix dressage rider Micah Deligdish. Sunshine and palm trees were only an additional perk to the equestrian community that has become Deligdish’s year-round home.
With a vast amount of educational opportunities to expand her professional riding career, while maintaining a balanced social life within the community, Wellington has played a key role in the strides Deligdish has made toward her future in and out of the equestrian world.
Growing up riding in Central Florida, Deligdish and her family were somewhat familiar with the Wellington area. Frequenting the community for occasional activities, the one thing Deligdish never had the opportunity to do was compete in one of the many prestigious Wellington shows. However, it was a dream she would one day accomplish.
After studying political and broadcast journalism at American University in Washington, D.C., Deligdish worked in a corporate environment in the nation’s capital, but ultimately, the equestrian industry is where she felt she belonged. She gained experience as a working student before realizing that she would need to have year-round access to the best in the sport if she wanted to excel in dressage.
Trading the historic buildings and cherry blossom trees for outdoor arenas and ocean breeze, she made the move to Wellington to open her own business, Gemini Dressage, in 2014.
“I chose Wellington as my home because I wanted to pursue my professional career, and if I was going to be fully committed, I wanted to be surrounded by the best in the sport,” Deligdish explained. “From year-round training opportunities to the proximity to high-quality international shows — Wellington is perfect for me.”
It is no secret that Wellington is a mecca for all things horse related. With several of the largest competitions in the world set on its local stage, Wellington attracts the best riders in the world, with many athletes basing their businesses year-round instead of the typical seasonal stay.
This mecca for equestrians has created unlimited opportunities to learn and grow within the industry due to the access to top professionals and competitions. Wellington would be difficult to pass up when choosing a location for an equine-related business.
Today, Deligdish is celebrating four years of calling Wellington home. The USDF bronze, silver and gold medalist runs her training operation year-round from Wellington, where she sells horses and trains students of all levels of experience.
Deligdish made her international competition debut representing the country of Israel at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in the small tour on her horse Santos and has goals of competing in the European Championships later this year on her Grand Prix mount Destiny.
Although the equine focus is a large draw for Deligdish, she also enjoys other aspects of living in South Florida. “It’s nice to be living in a community where you can enjoy equestrian as a sport and lifestyle without losing opportunities outside the industry. I’m a Florida girl! I love being by the pool or at the beach, and being outdoors as much as I can be,” Deligdish said.
When she isn’t riding or working in her barn, you can find Deligdish watching polo at the International Polo Club Palm Beach on Sundays, spending time near the water and attending events to benefit various organizations.
“The USPRE week is one of my favorite events of season. As a rider who trains many Spanish horses, I always support this exciting event focused on promoting the breed with amazing performances and live entertainment,” Deligdish explained. “The equestrian community is very supportive, and I enjoy attending as many fundraising events as I can, like the Lucchese 40-Goal Polo Challenge, and my favorite, which is the Buck Off, benefiting the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.”
Not only does Deligdish enjoy supporting the Vinceremos event for its fundraising efforts, but the event holds a special place in her heart, since she met her fiancé, Shahmir Quraeshi, at the charity event. Quraeshi, a polo player for Escue Polo, grew up in Wellington. In November 2018, at the International Polo Club, Quraeshi proposed to Deligdish by writing “Will You Marry Me?” on Field One and flying her over in his airplane.
“Shah and I have been able to support each other in our equestrian lifestyles, whether I’m grooming for him at a polo game, or he’s videoing one of my tests at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, we are there for each other,” Deligdish said.
Looking down the line, Deligdish is excited to continue her life in Wellington. As her business expands with her goals of high-performance international competition, she is proud to call this small slice of equestrian heaven her home and where she plans on starting her family.
Down the road, her sights are set on making it to the 2019 European Championships and in future international championships, where she is sure to represent Wellington well.
Learn more about Micah Deligdish at www.geminidressage.com.