World’s Top Jumpers Among Thousands Expected To Participate In The 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival

World’s Top Jumpers Among Thousands Expected To Participate In The 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival

The Winter Equestrian Festival once again returns to the prestigious Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington from Jan. 9 through March 31, 2019, featuring 12 straight weeks of top equestrian competition.

The 2019 WEF is set to host 11 weeks of competition sanctioned by the Fédération Equestre International (FEI), the highest level of international jumping competitions available in the sport, alongside 12 weeks of top-rated hunter and equitation competition for many of the best riders in the world.

The annual start of WEF also signals the return of the highly popular Saturday Night Lights evenings, which are free and open to the public each week. Offering an array of family activities, including face painting, entertainment, carousel rides and more, Saturday Night Lights has become a pinnacle for the community during the winter season.

Each Saturday night features the highlight competition of the week, the Grand Prix, which regularly includes Olympians, world champions and the sport’s top talents jumping obstacles at the 1.60m height.

“We’re anticipating another fantastic season at PBIEC, as we welcome back riders from around the country and the globe to what has become a home base for many,” said Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions, which produces WEF and manages the PBIEC show grounds facility. “Each year, we see more competitors, and the strength of the circuit continues to grow, solidifying it as one of the most elite competitions in the world.”

WEF will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 9, with the first week of competition of the circuit, featuring national-level competition for hunters, jumpers and equitation riders, and will welcome back the annual Battle of the Sexes competition on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. The Battle of the Sexes pits a team of male riders versus a team of female riders to see who will reign supreme after completing several different variations of jumping competition.

The fourth week at PBIEC will bring together excitement and philanthropy, as the Wellington Eventing Showcase is scheduled to return to the venue after a year of absence, bringing the world’s top eventing athletes back to Wellington, alongside the community-driven Great Charity Challenge.

The discipline of eventing, one of the three equestrian Olympic competitions, combines three different phases of competition: dressage, cross-country and jumping. The dressage and jumping phases will take place at PBIEC’s Equestrian Village site, while the cross-country course, will run across the grounds of the polo fields and the historic Derby Field at the venue.

The Great Charity Challenge has raised more than $10 million for Palm Beach County charities since its inception by Mark and Paige Bellissimo over a decade ago. In a professional-amateur relay race, participating teams, dressed in themed costumes, are paired with a locally based charity, for which their placing in the competition delineates the amount of money donated to the charity’s cause. The winning team will earn $150,000 for their partnered charity, while all participating charities will receive at least $15,000.

Four weeks of FEI CSI 5* competition, the highest designation of jumping competition available in the sport, will highlight competition during the WEF season. Each CSI 5* Grand Prix offers $380,000 in total prize money and will be hosted during WEF 5 (Feb. 9), WEF 7 (Feb. 23), WEF 9 (March 9) and WEF 12 (March 30).

The CSI 5* competitions continuously see the top riders in the world go head-to-head in a two-round format, with an exciting jump-off finishing against the clock determining the ultimate winner. The likes of Beezie Madden, Margie Engle, McLain Ward, Steve Guerdat and Lorenzo de Luca have all graced the top podium in years past.

The conclusion of WEF will feature the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* as the final evening competition of the season and the most highly anticipated class of the entire circuit.

“The CSI 5* classes at WEF are some of the greatest competitions seen all year in shows around the world,” Stone said. “It’s truly incredible to have this caliber of sport available to enthusiasts and fans during the winter here in Wellington. The crowds make the atmosphere electric for the horses and riders, and you can see that reflected in their performances in the arena.”

The historic FEI Nations Cup CSIO 4* is set to take place during WEF 8 (Feb. 27 – March 3), and for the second year in a row will take place on Saturday evening, bringing out fans and supporters of countries from around the world. Teams of three or four represent their home nations in a thrilling double-round battle in front of an always-packed house.

Hunter competition will be on display weekly and feature two major international hunter derby competitions during WEF 6 (Feb. 13-17) and WEF 12 (March 27-31), alongside some of the nation’s top equitation competition for children, juniors and adults.

The Winter Equestrian Festival will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 9, and continue through Sunday, March 31. Events are free and open to the public from Wednesday through Sunday.

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 3400 Equestrian Club Drive. For more information, visit or call (561) 793-5867.\


Palm Beach International Equestrian Center

2019 Winter Equestrian Festival Weekly Schedule



Premier AA

January 9-13



Premier AA/CSI 2*

January 16-20



Premier AA/CSI 3*

January 23-27



Premier AA/CSI 4*

January 30 – February 3



Premier AA/CSI 5*/CSI 2*

February 6-10



WCHR / Premier AA/CSI 3*

February 13-17



Premier AA/CSI 5*/CSI 2*

February 20-24



Premier AA/CSIO 4*

February 27 – March 3



Premier AA/CSI 5*/CSI 2*

March 6-10


WEF 10

Premier AA/CSI 3*

March 13-17


WEF 11

Premier AA /CSI 4*   

March 20-24


WEF 12

Premier AA/CSI 5*/CSI 2*

March 27-31


ESP Spring I

Premier AA/USEF Jumper 4*

April 3-7


ESP Spring II

Premier AA/USEF Jumper 4*

April 10-14


The Palm Beach International

Equestrian Center

3400 Equestrian Club Drive,

Wellington, FL 33414

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