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Stars Align At The 2019 Adequan Global Dressage Festival Winter Circuit

Stars Align At The 2019 Adequan Global Dressage Festival Winter Circuit

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival, located at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, has started the 2019 season off with a bang, welcoming top combinations from around the world to the iconic venue in the heart of Wellington’s equestrian community.

As one of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines, dressage has become a staple of the horse show circuit in South Florida from January to March. The AGDF has steadily grown into one of the most competitive proving grounds in North America, as established combinations and rising stars showcase their talents across the 10-week international circuit.

The Friday Night Stars series has become one of the most popular competition evenings in Wellington during the winter, hosting FEI Grand Prix Freestyle competition under the lights at Equestrian Village. Beginning at 7 p.m., Friday Night Stars offers spectators the opportunity to watch some of the world’s top combinations compete their choreographed routines to music variations of all genres. General admission is free to the public each Friday evening, and parking is $10 per car.

The 2019 AGDF season began Thursday, Jan. 10 with the first FEI World Cup Qualifier (CDI-W) of the season, which saw Team USA’s top combination of Laura Graves and Verdades take top honors. This iconic duo is currently ranked second in the world and was a major catalyst in the United States winning the team silver medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018, which qualified them for the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020.

“The 2019 AGDF season is one that we anticipate will be very competitive for the riders and their horses, as we’re seeing many combinations return to the competition ring after some time off following their successes at major championships last year,” explained Thomas Baur, director of sport at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. “Each year, we’ve seen tremendous growth in the popularity of the circuit, and the projections are showing a continued increase in participation, which is very exciting for our management team. We are looking forward to welcoming more spectators and attendees to experience the talents of these incredible riders.”

The second week of the circuit hosted CPEDI 3* competition, which served as one of two international competition weeks for para-equestrian riders. These spectacular athletes compete across five different grade categories, based upon the degree of their physical disabilities. Para-equestrian athletes complete pre-designated tests, the same as able-bodied riders, which range in difficulty based on the grade of competition. Team USA had a very successful para-equestrian showing at the WEG, medaling for the first time in program history, as Rebecca Hart captured a bronze medal individually. The second CPEDI 3* week of the 2019 season will take place during AGDF 9 (March 7-10).

The third week of the circuit welcomed the popular US PRE-sponsored week of CDI-W classes at the venue for international competitors, pushing the main stretch of the internationally sanctioned competition. The week honored the presence and popularity of the Spanish-bred horse within the dressage community in the United States and around the world.

National-level competition took center stage during AGDF 4 (Feb. 1-3), before the start of the highly anticipated CDI 5*, the highest and most prestigious designation of competition offered during the 2019 season at the venue. The CDI 5* entertained audiences throughout the week, as the first-ever clinic with star Isabell Werth was hosted on Thursday, Feb. 7, in addition to the elite competition featuring both Large Tour and Small Tour competition. The clinic featured five different horse and rider combinations, who received personal and engaging feedback and instruction from Werth, the most decorated equestrian Olympian of our time. The clinic was one of the major highlights of the week, and also the season at Equestrian Village.

“It was the first time in the history of AGDF that we had the opportunity to host a clinic with Isabell Werth, one of the most iconic riders in the history of dressage,” Baur said. “We are incredibly honored to offer a clinic like this to the loyal dressage community here in Wellington and are hopeful that this will become a standing event at AGDF annually.”

The season continued forward with AGDF 7 (Feb. 20-24), featuring CDI-W competition presented by Helgstrand Dressage, which once again hosted a week of top Large Tour and Small Tour competition, and highlighted the Grand Prix Freestyle on Friday, Feb. 22.

AGDF 8 (Feb. 28 through March 3) follows directly after, welcoming the historic Palm Beach Dressage Derby, a staple of the South Florida dressage scene for nearly four decades. The week will feature CDI-W competition and includes the final round of the entertaining Palm Beach Dressage Derby competition during the midway point of the Friday Night Stars Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W.

The Palm Beach Dressage Derby is a highlight for spectators, as four top-level riders compete against each other on horses they’ve never ridden before in a knock-out style format. Riders who receive the highest scores will advance to the final round, taking place under the lights in an electric atmosphere at Equestrian Village during the Grand Prix Freestyle, where the 2019 winner will be crowned.

CDI competition continues with AGDF 10 (March 14-17) as the FEI Nations Cup CDIO 3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm, which has been traditionally held during AGDF 12, begins.  Serving as the only non-championship CDIO 3* in the western hemisphere, this competition is one of the pinnacle weeks of competition at the AGDF. Riders represent their countries on teams of three or four and compete for top honors in one of North America’s premier competitions.

The AGDF is set to conclude with AGDF 12 (March 28-31) with the final international competition of the season, the CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm. The CDI 4*, which will be hosted for the first time during AGDF 12, providing riders with their final opportunity to take to the international arena in 2019. AGDF 12 will mark the final Friday Night Stars FEI Grand Prix Freestyle of the season on Friday, March 29.

Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 13500 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington. To learn more about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, and to view a full weekly and daily schedule of competition, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.


Sponsors Contribute To Success And Growth Of AGDF Season

Sponsors Contribute To Success And Growth Of AGDF Season

Since the inception of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, the venue has seen riders, trainers and spectators flock from around the world to the winter heartbeat of the international dressage circuit.

As one of the only outdoor circuits available to riders in the world from January through March, the AGDF has become enticing not only for riders, but an array of sponsors who continue to ensure its success.

The sport of dressage has a loyal and dedicated following, paralleling the passion of sponsors who are motivated to see the sport continue on its upward trajectory of popularity in the United States and around the world. Sponsors have been a driving factor in the rapid expansion of the circuit. Their presence and support have created a safe haven for both amateurs and professionals to perfect their skills at PBIEC’s Equestrian Village during the dressage season.

“The growth of the AGDF circuit over the past several years has been tremendous, and that is very much in part to our sponsorship portfolio and their encouragement of our vision for dressage in Wellington,” said Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions, the company that manages the dressage circuit. “Without these sponsors, it would be impossible to create the atmosphere we have for our competitors, and we are incredibly thankful for their continued support.”

The AGDF was founded by a fervent group of dressage enthusiasts, who approached Mark Bellissimo, the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and the managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners, with the idea of creating a legacy for the sport in the heart of Wellington, alongside its sister discipline of show jumping.

Bellissimo, eager to continue expanding the equestrian footprint in Wellington and create an environment for all riders to compete and succeed, immediately began planning and consulting. The result is the now massive AGDF circuit, which is the largest dressage circuit to date, distributing more prize money than any other competition in the world and sporting the envious backdrop of palm trees and sunshine.

The AGDF thanks the following sponsors for their continued support of the circuit:

Major Sponsors — Adequan, Brooke USA, CaptiveOne Advisors, Diamante Farms, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Fair Sky Farm, Harmony Sporthorses, Havensafe Farm, Helgstrand Dressage, Mission Control, MTICA Farm, Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Peacock Ridge, Rolex, Stillpoint Farm, the Dutta Corporation, the US PRE Association, Wellington Agricultural Services, Wellington Equestrian Realty, Wellington Regional Medical Center and Yellow Bird Farm.

Corporate Sponsors — Alessandro Albanese, Custom Saddlery, Dever Golf Cars, Discover Dressage, Dressage Today, the Footing Factory, Gold Coast Feed, Horse of Course, Horseware Ireland, Iron Spring Farm, Nutrena, Omega Alpha, Platinum Performance, Premier Equestrian, ProElite, Show Chic, The Chronicle of the Horse, Triple Crown Feed, Triple Crown Custom, Vita Flex and the Wanderers Club.

Visit www.globaldressagefestival.com for more information about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, and to learn more about AGDF sponsorships.


Celebrated Equestrian Susie Humes Launches ‘The Winning Edge’

Celebrated Equestrian Susie Humes Launches ‘The Winning Edge’

Since its inception as the winter equestrian capital of the world, Wellington has boasted national and international competitors in all disciplines. Like many equestrians who make Wellington their seasonal home during the winter, renowned trainer and judge Susie Humes has made the trip to Wellington from her hometown of Old Westbury, N.Y., for more than 30 years.

“There are so many positive things about having many equestrian disciplines based in one place,” Humes said of Wellington. “It’s an opportunity for the professionals and the clients to watch the best riders in the world train and compete. I think that’s a rare thing to find unless you go to Europe.”

Humes began riding at just three years old, and today she is a celebrated trainer and USEF “R” rated judge with a professional career spanning four decades. Her judging résumé includes many of the country’s top-rated horse shows, such as the National Horse Show, the Devon Horse Show, the Los Angeles National Horse Show, the Hampton Classic and the Winter Equestrian Festival, to name just a few. She has trained top hunter, equitation and jumpers, and has coached students to win all of the major national equitation finals and many championships at the Devon Horse Show, the Winter Equestrian Festival and in the prestigious indoor circuit.

No stranger to the winner’s circle herself, Humes’ success and passion for the sport inspired her to seek out new opportunities to give back to the community. In January, Humes launched her newest business venture, “The Winning Edge.”

The Winning Edge is an online educational tool that grants exclusive access to judging critique and advice from Humes, as well as a collection of top trainers in North America as guest professionals. Customers have the opportunity to purchase judging evaluations for hunter or equitation rounds, conformation critiques or pose questions to “Ask the Experts.” Humes’ panel of experts offers thoughtful and constructive feedback to competitors who want to significantly improve their chances of winning in the show arena and correcting training difficulties.

“The important thing for me is reaching a broader audience of equestrians, not only in Wellington, but throughout North America, and give them the opportunity to have access to high-quality experts at a lower cost,” Humes explained. “People will be able to get an idea of what a judge is thinking when they watch them ride, which is helpful if you show regularly. People will also receive training tips and suggestions to go along with the round’s critique. Even if you’re not showing and you’re just training, you can always work toward keeping your horse more balanced and focused.”

The Winning Edge guest professionals have judged some of the nation’s most prestigious horse shows and will customize their feedback to improve riders’ performance in the ring. Humes, along with the featured guest professionals, will send a detailed evaluation of a submitted round or horse’s conformation with helpful tips and suggestions to give riders the added edge that will help them stand out in the show ring.

“The guest professionals we’re featuring on our site are longtime colleagues of mine, and I have judged with all of them throughout my career,” Humes explained. “Right now, we have two, Ken Smith and Kathy Newman, who are in Wellington, and one based in California, Karen Healey, with many exciting professionals hopping on board in the future. I have great respect for all of them, and each one is an expert in the field. For each video we receive, I read what my guest professionals write, and we talk it over. I think it’s crucial to have different points of view for our customers.”

Humes’ primary goal of training is to improve horse-and-rider performance, followed by quality horse care and safety. Her insightful observations, along with her advice and guidance, have given her students the winning edge in the show ring for decades. Fueled with a passion for horsemanship and education, Humes is dedicated to giving back to the sport that has given her so much.

“I’m really excited about The Winning Edge because I want everyone in the sport, wherever they ride, to have access to quality information that they need to improve their riding,” Humes said. “Whether you’re schooling or showing, there is always something that you can learn and something that you can improve upon. I think this will be a great tool for juniors, collegiate riders and adult amateurs to take advantage of to give them an added edge to be the best rider they can be.”

To learn more, or to submit your video for critique, visit www.thewinningedgeeq.com.


Busy Year Ahead For Dressage Star Kasey Perry-Glass And Dublet

Busy Year Ahead For Dressage Star Kasey Perry-Glass And Dublet

The future is bright for Kasey Perry-Glass and her 16-year-old bay gelding Dublet. Three years ago, the pair won their first major dressage competition at a Nations Cup in Compiegne, France, and consequently earned a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, which captured the bronze medal. They continued their ascent and were a member of the World Equestrian Games silver medal squad last fall in Tryon, N.C.

Now, after breaking into the world’s Top 10 for the first time in January, Perry-Glass and Dublet have their sights set on qualifying for the World Cup in April and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“My plans for March and April will vary depending on how my last two World Cup qualifying shows go,” said Perry-Glass, who grew up in northern California. “If I qualify for the World Cup, I will be spending March as a training/preparation month. In addition, I have two other horses that I would like to focus on in the competition ring in Wellington while Dublet prepares for, hopefully, the World Cup. In addition to the World Cup, my goal is to compete at Aachen [Germany] for one summer show in Europe before giving Dublet a nice rest for the big push for 2020.”

Perry-Glass has been training with Olympian Debbie McDonald for almost four years.

“There are many things that make a rider good, but it is something special for a rider to be great,” said McDonald, who splits time between her farms in Wellington and Idaho. “She is great. She is beautiful on a horse to start with. Her effortless look as they go through the test is just a pleasure to watch. But she also has that something special that you can’t describe — it just is in a champion. The partnership her and Dublet have is so inspiring.”

The 31-year-old Perry-Glass, who has a degree in business entrepreneurship from Cal State-Sacramento, said the key to her success is being patient.

“I have had some major setbacks that have taught me to take this sport and passion one day at a time,” said Perry-Glass, the youngest of six sisters. “You can’t rush your training and relationship with your horse. The one thing you can do is believe. Believe in yourself, believe in your horse and believe in your team.”

That’s a mantra that Perry-Glass and her family have carried from childhood.

“We are a family of believing in yourself and fighting for and reaching for your goals,” Perry-Glass stressed. “The name ‘Team Believe’ came from when my mom was running triathlons and got us girls to start running with her. We eventually started entering into races, 5Ks, half-marathons and marathons, and formed our group name as ‘Team Believe.’ The name stuck with us through my Olympic journey and reminded me to keep believing in myself even when things got hard.”

Perry-Glass believes in many things, but she doesn’t have any special routines before shows. She does believe in trying to make things as organized and put together as possible in her life to reduce her stress level.

“The more cluttered or messy my schedule, or home, or barn is, the more overwhelmed I get and can’t focus correctly on my training and show,” said Perry-Glass, who has a special unicorn rubber duckie that comes to all the shows. “It was a gift from my sisters and mom prior to a major event in Rotterdam and has turned into my lucky charm.”

Perry-Glass spends a lot of time at the barn, where it is serious business, but she also believes in having some fun, too.

“Kasey is the most thoughtful and real person you would ever want to meet, genuine through and through,” McDonald said. “She wants everyone to be happy. She always manages to make us all laugh. She has a true friendship with all her teammates.”

One of those teammates is U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle, who also earned a spot on the 2018 WEG team. They became friends before becoming teammates, getting to know each other when Perry-Glass joined her in Idaho to train with McDonald.

“Kasey is probably the most compassionate person I know, second only to maybe my own mother,” Lyle said. “She cares deeply about everyone around her and always wants everyone to feel appreciated, included and happy. She also has a great sense of humor about life, and we have shared many a laugh to get us through some of the more stressful team situations we have been in.”

Perry-Glass and Lyle share the same zest for life and adventure and the outdoors.

“We spent our days at the barn, but we took many excursions up into the Idaho wilderness as well,” Lyle recalled. “I think having friends as teammates is incredibly helpful when you get down to the wire in important competitions and are under a lot of stress. You can always count on your friends and teammates to get you through the most stressful times. They understand the pressure you are under and know when you need to be surrounded by support and when you just need some alone time. Unless you’ve been under that kind of pressure, it is hard for people to understand. I think that creates a bond between high-performance riders.”

Perry-Glass created another bond when she married Dana Glass in 2015 at her parents’ ranch in Orangevale, Calif. Together, they have 16 nieces and nephews. “I would consider me and my husband as the fun aunt and uncle,” Perry-Glass said. “Unfortunately, with our travel schedules, we don’t get to see our families [enough], especially Dana’s family. So, when we do, we try to have as much fun with them as possible. I hope I am that adult my nieces and nephews can talk to.”

In Wellington, Perry-Glass lives on the same property as her horses and always seems to make her way to the barn to check in on things.

“I try to give myself one day off a week,” she said. “The key word is try. I am very involved and keep a close eye on them. When I am not in the barn, I try to do something that helps me relax. Lately, that consists of either a mani/pedi or just lying on the couch with my husband and puppies. During the week, I am busy and active, so when I get the chance to do nothing, I have to take it.”

Those chances have become rare as she and Dublet continue their rise as one of the top dressage pairs in the world.


Gold Coast Dressage Association Turns 35 With Noreen O’ Sullivan At The Helm

Gold Coast Dressage Association Turns 35 With
Noreen O’ Sullivan At The Helm

The Gold Coast Dressage Association turned 35 this year and kicked off its Coral Anniversary by cooking up an asado hosted at the Palm Beach Equine facility in Wellington.

The event also marked a milestone for longtime GCDA President and Show Manager Noreen O’Sullivan, who has not only seen the amazing transformation of the sport of dressage in the community, but has personally been a catalyst for the advancement of dressage in South Florida.

O’Sullivan has served as the GCDA president for more than a decade after pitching in at almost every position. Early on, she served as a volunteer, a runner (who literally runs the score sheets from the judges’ box to the scorer), a scribe (the person who puts the judges’ comments and scores on the test sheet), the scorer (who tallies the scores on the tests) and a competitor.

When O’Sullivan was sidelined from competing for a year after a car accident, she wanted to stay involved in dressage even though she couldn’t ride. “The club probably benefited from me being sidelined because I still wanted to be involved with the sport, and that spearheaded my movement into management,” she explained.

O’Sullivan served in many additional roles, including the newsletter editor, overseeing sponsorships and publications, show manager, then vice president and eventually president.

Her commitment to the sport has had a profound ripple effect in making Wellington known around the globe for world-class dressage. In fact, while spearheading the GCDA, and holding down her full-time job as a financial planner, O’Sullivan and her husband, John Flanagan, started Wellington Classic Dressage, a show management company that would work side-by-side with the GCDA to further the sport of dressage and attract more riders from around the world.

In her capacity as show manager for both GCDA and WCD, O’Sullivan hosted dressage shows at a number of Palm Beach facilities, including the Winter Equestrian Festival show grounds, Sunshine Meadows in Delray Beach, the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, the White Fences Equestrian Center and the Horse Park at Equestrian Estates in Loxahatchee.

“Hosting shows in so many different venues was a big learning curve,” she explained. “When Stadium Jumping was sold to Equestrian Sport Productions, we moved to Jim Brandon. Back then, we hosted three to four shows a year.”

But the community craved dressage, and the demand for education and dressage competitions was increasing rapidly. Today, GCDA and WCD host as many as 16 shows and educational events a year, and Equestrian Sport Productions hosts an additional 11 dressage shows in the high season at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, which O’Sullivan also had an influence on.

Back in 2013, Equestrian Sport Productions approached Wellington Classic Dressage with their vision for the Global Dressage Festival and negotiated to purchase several of WCD’s high season show dates to facilitate the startup of the Global Dressage Festival. “Equestrian Sport Productions saw the high level of interest in dressage, and I saw it as an opportunity to again further our sport,” O’Sullivan explained.

The result is that Wellington became a world-renowned mecca for dressage at the highest level, something that thrills O’Sullivan. “Wellington is known all over the world for dressage, and I take great pride in that. I have friends in the dressage community worldwide, and we all share a common thread — the love of our sport,” she explained.

But O’Sullivan is quick to note that the GCDA is much more than just dressage competitions. “We are about a sense of community and advancing the sport through education as well,” she said.

The GCDA’s track record in the education arena is equally as stellar. O’Sullivan beams when she talks about the many social and educational events that make the GCDA such a great organization for the sport.

“We host adult camps, unmounted events, symposiums and ride-a-test events throughout the year as well,” she explained, noting the recent Stephen Clarke symposium held Feb. 11-12. “FEI 5* Judge General Stephen Clarke is one of the most sought-after horsemen in the world.”

O’Sullivan is proud of her role in the GCDA and the organization’s contribution to dressage, but also thanks many other people who played key roles. “It takes a village. We have an outstanding GCDA board, and everyone brings new ideas and energy to the club,” she said.

This year, that board has worked together to launch the Gold Coast Dressage Education Scholarship Program for amateurs and professionals. Her goal is that the GCDA, despite the increasing level of talent, “never lose the sense of community and friendly welcoming atmosphere that has been the cornerstone of the GCDA for 35 years.”

So, what would O’Sullivan like to see for the future? “Quite honestly, I hope to live to see the perfect 10 score,” she said. “A test performed to score a 100 percent.”

And with the caliber of horses and judging in Wellington today, thanks to organizations like the Gold Coast Dressage Association, it might happen here.

The GCDA is committed to education and promoting good sportsmanship, along with high ethical and moral standards in horsemanship and equestrian sport. Its mission is to organize and operate educational activities while fostering local and national amateur dressage competition.

To learn more about the Gold Coast Dressage Association, or to become a member or sponsor, visit www.gcdafl.org.  


Focusing On Clients Is Key At The Keller Williams Luxury International Team

Focusing On Clients Is Key At The Keller Williams Luxury International Team

For the people who live, work and play in the many different sectors of Wellington’s vast and diversified equestrian industry, real estate agents with equestrian expertise are among the key professionals supporting the village’s horse community. After all, everybody needs a place to call home.

Keller Williams Wellington is the real estate agency that makes a point of targeting the equestrian industry with specific services catering to the housing needs and demands of polo players, show jumpers and dressage riders, as well as the individuals who own, feed, bathe, groom and exercise the horses, plus the people who organize, administer, sponsor, publicize, promote and chronicle the activities of Wellington’s world-renowned horse industry.

Keller Williams Wellington has established a special unit catering specifically to the equestrian community. It’s called the Keller Williams Luxury International Team, according to Keller Williams Broker Nancy Jennings.

The Keller Williams Luxury International Team includes Karen Allen, Adrienne Carruthers, Paula Castro, Jennifer Drahan, Sophie Ghedin, Hadar Goldberg, Bill and Jody Jorgensen, Marcia Lichtenwalner, Anna Niehaus, Maria Raspanti, Luis Rodriguez, Robert Ross, Heather Suarez and Nappy Tranter.

Jennings and her colleagues realize that any home-purchasing experience must be as rewarding as the excitement of winning a Sunday afternoon polo match, being victorious during Saturday Night Lights at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center or perfecting your dressage freestyle at Friday Night Stars.

“We understand that buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction. It’s a life-changing experience,” said Jennings, a 34-year real estate veteran. “That’s why our team of highly seasoned real estate professionals is dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service for all our clients.”

After more than three decades in the real estate business, Jennings’ passion for her profession continues to drive her to be the best that she can be. It is a feeling shared by the members of the Keller Williams Luxury International Team.

“My extensive experience as a professional equestrian is a huge asset to all my clients, equestrian and non-equestrian,” Realtor Jennifer Drahan said. “The work ethic, efficiency, attention to detail and time management that I learned growing up with horses has served me equally well in real estate. KW Luxury allows me to merge my two passions in life, real estate and horses.”

The team includes several bilingual members, comfortable working with an increasingly international clientele.

“As an agent with many European clients, especially from German-speaking countries, the Keller Williams Luxury Division is a great venue to reach the high-end market of my equestrian and European home and farm buyers,” Realtor Anna Niehaus explained. “KW Luxury Team members heavily network with each other, as we understand the needs of our clients best.”

Each member of the team shows up to work every day with a commitment to excellence and a positive attitude.

“As a luxury agent, it is my job to make real estate dreams come true,” Realtor Karen Allen said. “I strive to achieve the very best for my clients and treat each one with the same level of energy and professionalism. Being part of the luxury division has been a truly rewarding experience for me.”

Attention to detail is crucial in an industry as competitive as real estate.

“Whether working on a luxury residential, farm listing or a condo sale, I’m dedicated to providing an attentive, luxury level of service throughout the process,” Realtor Marcia Lichtenwalner said. “Personalized service is my dedicated business model. This commitment insures that I’m focused on local conditions to provide current competitive market knowledge, maintain a vast network of professional service providers who operate on the same level to assist my buyers and sellers throughout the real estate transaction, and to always conducting myself in a confidential and discreet manner on behalf of my clients to assure a positive outcome for all.”

Members of the team also bring decades of experience on the local real estate scene.

“With more than 20 years in real estate that transcends nearly every aspect of a transaction, I have developed a reputation in Palm Beach County as one of the most trusted service-oriented professionals for helping clients achieve their real estate aspirations,” Realtor Maria Raspanti explained.

Jennings said that her team’s top goal is to stay in touch with clients and to realize that every detail matters.

“We pledge to be in constant communication with our clients, keeping them fully informed throughout the entire buying or selling process,” she said. “We believe that if you’re not left with an amazing experience, we haven’t done our job. We don’t measure success through achievements or awards, but through the satisfaction of our clients.”

Focusing on client satisfaction makes sure that the Keller Williams Luxury International Team maintains a leadership position in the Wellington market.

“Our team of experts represents the best and brightest in the industry, and we’re always striving to lead the field in research, innovation and consumer education,” Jennings said. “Today’s buyers and sellers need a trusted resource that can guide them through the complex world of real estate. With our extensive knowledge and commitment to providing only the best and most timely information to our clients, we are your go-to source for real estate industry insight and advice.”

This expertise is why many clients return time and again to the agents of Keller Williams Wellington.

“We take great pride in the relationships we build and always work relentlessly on the clients’ behalf to help them achieve their real estate goals,” Jennings said. “Our philosophy is simple: clients come first.”

The Keller Williams Wellington office is located at 12008 South Shore Blvd., Suite 201. For additional information, visit www.kwwellington.com or call (561) 472-1236.


Keeping Focused The Key To Success For Wellington’s Ebeling Family

Keeping Focused The Key To Success For Wellington’s Ebeling Family

Before sitting down to a home-cooked meal of pasta Bolognese and green beans at Tierra Contenta, their comfortable Wellington farm, Amy and Jan Ebeling were on Facetime with their son, Ben.

The Ebelings are a well-known family in the dressage world. Jan was on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in London, riding Rafalca, a mare co-owned by Ann Romney, wife of the 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He was also on the 2003 Pan American Games gold medal team and in four World Cup Finals. Their 19-year-old son, currently attending Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, is making some noise on his own, competing in Grand Prix classes in both dressage and jumping, a rare accomplishment.

Jan Ebeling continues to compete at a high level and hopes to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo aboard Indeed V. He trains and competes in Wellington during the week, and most weekends he is giving a clinic out of town.

Amy Ebeling is the CEO of Team Ebeling. She is a successful businesswoman managing their farms in Wellington and California, taking care of their clients as well as being a horse owner herself. She is also a terrific cook.

“We have a very busy life, and one of the biggest goals that I have with supporting my family is to make sure to stay in touch with our main objectives,” she explained. “There are lots of tasks that we do each day to help inch our way toward our individual goals, so helping to facilitate those things is a role of mine in helping these two guys.”

Ben Ebeling is a weekend competitor, flying down when he can, usually several weekends a month. He plans to pursue both disciplines while continuing his education where most of his mother’s Pittsburgh-based side of the family attended school.

“Dressage is technical; each step counts, and precision is extremely important,” said Ben, who has not outgrown his Star Wars fascination. “The feeling of being in harmony with your horse, asking them to perform movements that you yourself trained, is something truly special. Show jumping is similar to dressage in that it is very technical, but in a whole other way. I love jumping because of the rush, having to think on the fly while in a course of jumps, and, of course, the speed.”

His parents are not pushing him to decide between either discipline and marvel at the success he’s had in both, considering the fundamental difference in balance that creates quite a challenge for the rider.

“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how Ben would cope with such a drastic difference, especially when the jumps got bigger,” said Jan, who turns 61 on Sept. 9. “Turns out it seems to have made him more agile in both dressage and jumping. I’m not sure how he pulls it off, but he seems to just do it. He rides a dressage horse, hops on his jumper, and gets right back on another dressage horse without any problem. So athletically, it has helped him for both disciplines. The biggest challenge seems to be to make it from the dressage show to the jumping competition on time.”

Many people have told Ben that he will have to choose one over the other at some point because it is too hard to transition between the mindsets of higher-level dressage and jumping. But he disagrees.

“One of the integral parts of my training that is different from other riders has been learning how to transition from discipline to discipline, even multiple times in a day,” explained Ben, who was also an amateur magician when he was younger. “Not many other riders have to deal with this aspect of the sport, but I’ve worked hard on it, and usually it only takes a few brief minutes of visualization to transition between calmness (dressage) and intensity (show jumping). I do not think I will ever choose one over the other; I love both sports so much. In my opinion, they balance me as a rider. I’ve certainly been extremely blessed with the opportunities that my family makes available to me, so I would like to always take advantage of both sports.”

Ben’s routine before a major competition includes eating a protein-filled breakfast cooked by his father. He also visualizes each movement for about 30 minutes, whether it’s a rollback turn in a jumping course or transitioning from piaffe to passage in dressage. And he always wears his yellow Pittsburgh Steelers bracelet for good luck.

“I think as long as riding is a hobby for him, it doesn’t really matter if he does both disciplines at the same time,” Jan said. “However, our sports have become so specialized that as a professional, you would have to choose one or the other. That, of course, would be his decision. I have a feeling that his true love is the jumpers.”

His mother also has some ideas for her son and his future. “Be happy, get good grades, do his best in school, experience a different life other than horses,” Amy said. “Find a passion and pour yourself into it. Achieve your goals with horses by taking tiny steps toward them, be realistic about the journey and getting there to avoid big letdowns, and love every moment of this amazing life with horses and cherish all that they give to us.”

If Ben chooses horses as a career, he certainly has the background to succeed, as riding and managing horses are second nature to him.

“He has seen his father and I work very hard from the ground up in the sport to the Olympics, and I hope that life lesson will take Ben many places,” Amy said. “Understanding the successes and the failures, learning along the way how to handle each of these in a very humble and gracious way, has been a lesson I have always tried to teach him. I hope that his father and I have been wonderful role models in working hard.”

When they are together, they relax by playing cards or Monopoly or Scrabble, and it’s gets very competitive.

“The biggest challenge is keeping everyone focused,” Amy said. “I am particularly focused, and it’s hard for me to relate to those who become unfocused; that’s my downfall.”

But it’s one of the keys to the success of her husband and son.


Palm Beach Equine Clinic Helps Keep The Horses Of Vinceremos In Top Form

Palm Beach Equine Clinic Helps Keep The Horses Of Vinceremos In Top Form

The horses at the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center perform miracles every day. Whether by carrying a person coping with a physical disability to a sense of independence, providing comfort to a soul suffering from emotional trauma or teaching a child beyond the confines of a classroom, the Vinceremos horses are heroes. But they aren’t the only ones wearing capes. A local group of dedicated and passionate equine veterinarians share in the magic.

The veterinarians of the Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC), based in the heart of Wellington, have been caring for horses in South Florida for decades. Founded by Dr. Paul Wollenman in 1981, PBEC has grown to include a staff of 40 veterinarians, five boarded specialists and the most state-of-the-art facility in the country. Situated in the winter equestrian capital of the world, PBEC treats the top-performing show jumping, dressage, polo and racing athletes throughout the year.

In addition, the clinic is a saving grace for the horses of Vinceremos. The 23 specially selected horses stay true to the nonprofit’s mission of conquering disability and hardship in people of all ages. Founded in 1982, Vinceremos, based in Loxahatchee Groves, serves people from all stations in life with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities through the power of equine therapy. The treatments they offer include therapeutic riding and carriage driving, hippotherapy, equine-assisted learning and equine-assisted psychotherapy.

PBEC does its part by keeping the horses healthy and happy with pro-bono veterinary care.

“We have the people and, most importantly, the horses, of South Florida to thank for the success that PBEC has enjoyed over the years,” said Palm Beach Equine Clinic President Dr. Scott Swerdlin, who spearheaded the clinic’s involvement with Vinceremos in 2011. “It is our honor to give back to that community through our work with Vinceremos. The whole team is dedicated to each and every horse we treat, as well as to the riders who love them.”

While their commitment to the nonprofit is extensive, it’s not about the hours spent or the cost of time and supplies. Swerdlin and his team focus on a bigger goal; healing horses so they can heal people. “There’s no greater reward than seeing how the horses of Vinceremos benefit their riders,” he said. “You see the riders light up and how excited they are to be on those horses.”

Swerdlin is proud of the clinic’s work with Vinceremos. “I continually remind my team that it is a privilege to treat the caliber of horses we have in Wellington and that should compel us to give back to the community,” he said. “The response from Palm Beach Equine Clinic veterinarians has been overwhelming. The entire team has volunteered to be involved.”

From routine treatments and services such as vaccinations and health exams to emergency care, PBEC veterinarians are available to Vinceremos night and day. Last summer, such emergency care was called on, and one Vinceremos horse got a second chance at life thanks to a group of devoted veterinarians.

Vinceremos favorite Clark Kent — a sturdy black mount with an eye as kind as they come — suffered an injury to his right front leg. The laceration extended into his tendon sheath, which is a layer of membrane around a tendon on the back of the lower leg. What could have been a simple cut on the surface was much more serious.

Initially treated on-site at Vinceremos by Dr. Marilyn Connor, Clark Kent was then transported to PBEC for surgery to repair the injury. The case turned into a team effort and involved the work of surgeons Dr. Weston Davis and Dr. Michael Myhre, as well as Dr. Janet Greenfield.

After surgery and a recovery period at PBEC’s onsite equine hospital, Clark Kent returned to Vinceremos to recover and was back to his therapy work by fall, giving riders a sense of independence and confidence with his skill on the lunge line and his forward way of going.

“This treatment was no easy feat, but the veterinarians and staff of the Palm Beach Equine Clinic took a tragedy and turned it into a miracle. Clark Kent was surrounded by extraordinary veterinarians and technicians throughout his care,” Vinceremos Director of Development Susan Guinan said. “The diligence of this team makes miracles happen every day. We are so appreciative of Palm Beach Equine Clinic and their team of veterinarians. They give so much support to Vinceremos and the horses here. They keep them in top shape so we can impact our community in such a special way through equine therapy.”

For Connor, it’s cases like Clark Kent’s that convinced her to pursue veterinary medicine. Growing up around horses, she spent time volunteering with a therapeutic riding program before attending veterinary school at Texas A&M.

“It was a very rewarding experience to be able to give back to a cause that is important to me, and even more so now that I can do that in a different capacity as a veterinarian,” said Connor, who has worked at PBEC since 2017.

She can often be found checking on the horses of Vinceremos while on the job. “Being able to help horses as special as the ones at Vinceremos and the people who love them is what ultimately made me realize I wanted to be an equine veterinarian,” Connor said.

To find out more about the Palm Beach Equine Clinic, visit www.equineclinic.com or call (561) 793-1599.


Southeast Florida Honor Flight To Host Buck Off Challenge March 15 At Wellington National Golf Club

Southeast Florida Honor Flight To Host Buck Off Challenge March 15 At Wellington National Golf Club

The Southeast Florida Honor Flight has its own band of brothers. Before the sun rises on April 24, more than 80 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans will board a jet at Palm Beach International Airport for a memorable flight to Washington, D.C., to visit several sites dedicated to their bravery, service and sacrifices.

The veterans, some of whom are in their 90s, are the heart and soul of the Southeast Florida Honor Flight. With a police escort, four motor coaches transport the veterans to the U.S. Air Force Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery for the Changing of the Guard ceremony, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial. They return home that same night to hundreds, if not thousands, of flag-waving, cheering family, friends and supporters to welcome them home at PBIA.

Pete Granata of Wellington served in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He went on an Honor Flight about a year ago. “It was a wonderful afternoon,” Granata said. “I met others from the area, and we still regularly keep in touch. For me, it was a way of saying, ‘Welcome home.’”

The Southeast Florida Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization, is hosting a major fundraiser in Wellington to help this worthy organization to continue to fly veterans for free on this day of honor.

The Buck Off Challenge, a mechanical bull-riding competition, will be held on Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m. at the Wellington National Golf Club (400 Binks Forest Drive, Wellington).

The competition consists of four-person teams with an entry fee of $100. Costumes are encouraged but not mandatory and usually receive extra points from the panel of celebrity judges. The top three highest scoring team will receive prizes. Several veterans are expected to attend the fundraiser.

“The veterans are treated like rock stars on their Honor Flight,” said Janet Hoose of Wellington, who has been on several Honor Flight trips as a guardian. “I’m honored and privileged to help honor these heroes. The Buck Off Challenge is a fun way to raise money to help our veterans.”

For Buck Off Challenge sponsorship information, contact Bobbi Rottman at (561) 436-1165 or e-mail bobbi@eqessolutions.com. Learn more about Southeast Florida Honor Flight at www.honorflightsefl.org.




From January through April, the world’s top riders and their amazing horses return to Wellington to take part in the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The crowds will be on hand to watch the steady beat of hooves and the graceful movements as horse and rider head over jumps, aimed for the history books. Olympic-caliber riders will join up-and-comers, children, juniors and adult amateurs in the ring to take part in a horse show series that offers something for every age and skill level. Over the next few pages, you’ll get a glimpse at just a handful of the impressive riders competing this season in our annual Faces of WEF feature. Make plans to spend some time at the show grounds this season to learn more about why Wellington is known as the “winter equestrian capital of the world.