A Letter From Our President, Michael Stone
To Our Equestrian Community,
We want to provide an update on where we are in the venue expansion process and ask for your support. Global Equestrian Group has owned and operated the showgrounds for the past two years. We recognize the need to dramatically expand and enhance the showgrounds to incorporate it onto one large, consolidated site to better support all three horse disciplines--Jumpers, Hunters and Dressage.
There has been much recent discussion about the future of Wellington and the expansion of Wellington International (WI). It is important for the community to have the facts and understand the necessity for the expansion of the showgrounds to the 180-acre site.
We have an agreement to acquire the 90 acres (Parcel F) to the South of the existing showgrounds, effectively doubling the size of WI. The expanded, state of the art, facility will allow us to operate at the highest level.
In order to expand the showgrounds onto Parcel F, a land use change is required. The agreement is contingent upon changing the current zoning from Residential to Equestrian Commercial Recreation. This change will ensure that the land is kept for Equestrian Showgrounds rather than more residential development in the Equestrian Preserve.
The three horse sports are all important businesses with Hunter Jumpers marshalling up to 3,000 horses per week, and Dressage fielding 300 horses per week – yet each sport business is very different in terms of size, scale, and profitability.
We are committed to all three sports and the entire equestrian lifestyle that defines Wellington. However, we need to plan for the future. The existing Equestrian Village site is not viable long-term, and we need to expand and enhance the showgrounds onto one site to optimally operate the business and stage the competitions across all three disciplines.
The zoning change we need is currently part of the larger application before the Village of Wellington relating to the Wellington North and South developments that Wellington Lifestyle Partners is leading to create a complementary equestrian lifestyle community.
Importantly, we are also proud to announce that Populous is the official Architect of Record to help us plan, design and create the new showgrounds. Populous is a global architecture and design firm with extensive expertise building venues for Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, Super Bowl, professional stadiums, arenas, ballparks, and collegiate facilities as well as equestrian facilities including the Ascot Racecourse, Churchill Downs and the equestrian venue for the London Olympics. They will design the showground expansion that includes additional parking, a new show stadium venue with improved hospitality offerings, nine rings (two of which will be covered arenas), a derby field, additional permanent stabling, and a new FEI area.
We will welcome the jumpers to the new facility and the hunters and dressage to the re-imagined Wellington International facilities upon completion. The two international arenas will provide the opportunity for all disciplines to compete in different stadium environments with ample practice areas, supporting barns and broader facilities.
We are asking for your support for the new and enlarged showgrounds for the following reasons:
- Staging all three disciplines on one site will allow us to operate with more efficiency and excellence
- Improved parking to include multiple egress access points, and better facilitate flows of both participants and spectators
- Create a larger, safer, and more secure facility for horses, riders, and support staff
- Establish better spectator experiences and hospitality offerings which support the competitions and sponsors.
- Further support Wellington’s position as the Horse Sport Capital of the World with new, larger facilities that would be professionally designed and built
Horse sport is continually growing. We have the opportunity to develop a cutting-edge venue to give all our stakeholders the best experience available in the Equestrian world. We have our horses' and athletes' safety and welfare at the forefront of our decisions. Additionally, we are committed to increasing our spectator offerings and access for everyone who desires to experience our Saturday Night Lights events.
I am personally reaching out to you, our fellow equestrians, to provide feedback to improve our conceptual plans as we move forward and formally engage the Village of Wellington with our own site plan application and approval to expand the showgrounds.
We are asking for your support as we go through the process of zoning changes with the Village of Wellington necessary to create the new, expanded showgrounds. We would be grateful if you could express your support, and we encourage you to write to your local leaders in support of the expansion by emailing Cory Cramer, Planning and Zoning Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been in the community for many years and I have never been more excited about Wellington’s future and our horse sport industry.
President, Wellington International