Last year’s inaugural Wellington Eventing Showcase generated plenty of buzz when the event announced a $50,000 prize pot, making it one of the richest eventing competitions in the U.S. For this year’s event, Wellington Equestrian Realty has upped the ante even more by stepping in to boost the prize money to $75,000.
Matt Varney and Craig Martin of Wellington Equestrian Realty said the decision to support the showcase was an easy one, and they are proud to be involved as presenting sponsors of the event, which will be held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida this weekend, Feb. 5 and 6.
Rob and Chris Desino, founding owners of Wellington Equestrian Realty and Ocala Horse Properties, already have a strong presence in the Florida horse community. The Desino brothers originally relocated to Ocala to compete during the winter season. Their equestrian roots ultimately became the reason they decided to move permanently to Ocala, and their passion for the Florida horse community evolved into a thriving real estate venture.
Today the Desino brothers support multiple riding disciplines by remaining extremely active in horse show sponsorship and community events. Their support is well known in eventing, when the company sponsors competitions such as the Ocala Horse Properties Winter Series and the Ocala Horse Properties International CCI2* held each year in April.
“Wellington Equestrian Realty wants to see that same level of exposure and support for eventing in Wellington so we can see the sport continue to grow,” Matt Varney said. “We want event riders, owners and spectators to feel at home in Wellington the way they do in Ocala.”
The showcase entry list has been officially confirmed, and 35 horse-and-rider combinations representing four different countries are slated to compete for the $75,000 in prize money. Last year’s winner, Boyd Martin, said he enthusiastically supports the showcase concept for the sport of eventing.
“Last year’s event was a roaring success, and this year’s promises to be even more exciting with increased prize money and a more competitive international field of event riders,” Boyd said. “The quality of the competitors representing the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia really raises the bar.”
Liz Halliday-Sharp will compete both of her top mounts, Fernhill By Night and HHS Cooley, in the showcase. She first met Rob and Chris Desino in 2013 when she and her husband, Al, were searching for a winter training facility in Ocala, and Liz said she’s thrilled to see increased support for the event, which offers top notch hospitality to owners, sponsors and riders.
“It’s great for our sport to offer competitors serious prize money while treating sponsors and owners to a higher profile scene,” Liz said. “It’s a huge deal that Wellington Equestrian Realty is supporting this.”
Jennie Brannigan, who placed fourth in last year’s showcase with Cambalda and will compete both Aspire R and Catalina this year, spends the winter season in Ocala and echoed that the riders are all grateful for the support shown by Wellington Equestrian Realty and Ocala Horse Properties.
“The Desino brothers are synonymous with horse sport in Florida, and they’re very supportive of our industry,” Jennie said. “They get involved in so many events at the ground level, and we’re all very appreciative of that.”
Wellington Equestrian Realty joins returning title sponsor Asheville Regional Airport, along with Equestrian Sport Productions, Rolex, Land Rover, Ariat and Adequan in supporting the Wellington Eventing Showcase. Thank you to all of these sponsors for getting behind what has become one of the most highly anticipated events of the year.
Dressage will be held all day on Friday, Feb. 5 starting at 8:30 a.m., with show jumping held the morning of Saturday, Feb. 6 starting at 10:30 a.m. and the exciting cross country finale taking place that afternoon. Cross country will run at 1 p.m. that afternoon in reverse order of standings.
VIP tables, which include a lunch buffet and drinks each day, are still available for the event (and we can assure you that the hospitality is fabulous). Contact Shelley Spielman for details and order forms at [email protected].
General admission and parking are free for the event. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 13500 South Shore Boulevard in Wellington, Florida. For more information, visit www.PBIEC.com.
Good friends of EN Dom and Jimmie Schramm will once again be offering commentary during the online live stream, and we’ll be posting the links prior to the competition. EN is excited to once again be bringing you live coverage of the Wellington Eventing Showcase. We hope to see you there!