Wellington set to wrap up record-breaking equestrian season

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 7:15 PM EDT
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Wellington International, the largest equestrian venue in North America, will host the Rolex Grand Prix on Saturday.

The event will close out the thirteenth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

"This is literally the best of the best with the best athletes from all over the world," Lenore Brown, the director of sponsorship at Wellington International, said. "This venue allows you to be right up next to the competition."

Wellington International's Rolex Grand Prix is expected to host more people and more competitors than ever on Saturday.

Organizers said 7,000 to 8,000 people have attended the Saturday event each weekend, and some Wellington business owners said they rely on the influx of people for the majority of their income.

Lou Cuthbertson, store manager at The Tackeria, said his uncle started the business in 1975, and every year these three short months make all the difference.

"It's a massive influx of people and horses," Cuthbertson said. "You know the expression, 'you have to make hay when the sun is shining,' is absolutely true because when it's hot and raining in the summertime, we don't have the same number of people here, and we're not gonna do the same amount of business. So, we have to do the best we can now."

According to Wellington International, the winter events give Palm Beach County a $286 million economic boost and create more than 3,000 jobs.

"We're a huge fueler of not only jobs but also family entertainment and bedroom nights to Palm Beach County too," Brown said.

Among those competing this weekend in Wellington is Olympic silver medalist Jessica Springsteen.

"I've been coming here since I was 10 years old," Springsteen told WPTV.

As someone who has traveled the world competing, she dubs Wellington International one of her favorites.

"Junior jumpers can run over and watch the Grand Prix, watch the best riders in the world compete, and you can learn so much," Springsteen said. "I think that's what makes it so incredibly special here."

Admission to Saturday's event is free. Parking is $20. Gates will open at 6 p.m.

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