Wellington, Florida, USA

Wellington, Florida, USAThe Winter Equestrian Capital of the World

  • Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012
  • Updated on Monday, April 22, 2013

Wellington defines the equestrian lifestyle, from hacking trails to show grounds to world-class polo facilities. It’s one of the few places in the world that offers a comfortable home to every discipline of riding, and it has some of the finest equestrian exhibits in the world.

Wellington’s Farm and Ranch lifestyle

Wellington, once known as the world’s largest strawberry farm, developed into a village and is recognized worldwide as The Winter Equestrian Capital of the World. It is the premier destination for equestrians between January and April. Wellington makes every effort to preserve the village as an Equestrian Community. Its notoriety has and continues to gather a collection of some of the most famous and talented riders in the world, from high goal polo players to Olympic riders, Wellington is home every season.

Some of the many notable equestrian events that take place in the winter months are the Winter Equestrian Festival and US Open Polo championships, which tend to draw a great deal of wealth to the area. Professional athletes, actors, musicians and many others call Wellington home. Riders and horses from all over continually travel to the village to compete on the ever expanding showground’s for the coveted opportunity to win the many notably high purses, and for others it’s the opportunity to participate in some of the season’s finest social events.

Many of the farms and ranches provide stabling for the visitors, and make up a large portion of Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve. They range from small farms on two acres to large facilities consisting of 100 acres.  Wellington is one of the few places in the world that offers a comfortable home to every discipline of riding. It has the backing of many significant families and will continually strive to remain the number one stop for some of the finest equestrian exhibits in the world. Its family oriented community also offers golf, waterskiing, Water Park, BMX riding, children’s handicap accessible playground and much more. It’s no wonder Money Magazine named Wellington one of the “Top 100” best place to live in 2010.

Who we are

Long before Wellington was established and ranching became a big business out west, Spanish Colonists, Seminole Indians and American settlers called “Crackers” or “Cow Hunters” herded free-roaming cattle in Florida. Some say it was where the West began, due to the Spanish settlers who founded the first ranches in the future United States. They introduced the cattle and horse to lush prairies where buffalo roamed. They called the cowboys “crackers” referring to the way they cracked their whips to heard cattle instead of the traditional use of a lasso. They had to use whips and dogs because the lush tropical landscape of Florida made it impossible to heard cattle without them. As developments grew and settlers plowed the tropical landscape, Crackers, Cracker Cows and Horses became less prominent but not lost.

In most of Florida’s lush tropical landscape lay rich swamp land. This unique landscape captured the eye of Charles Oliver Wellington in 1951 when he purchased several tracts of the swamp land. Shortly after and to his benefit, the State of Florida passed legislation creating the Acme Drainage District to care for a total of 16,000 acres including Wellington’s land. The District drastically changed the waterlogged land into fertile farmland. With only 100 residents on the newly made land, farmers leased portions of it for cultivation and produced various crops including oranges.

Even Wellington turned 2,000 acres of his land into one of the largest strawberry farms, named the “Flying Cow” Ranch after his plane C.O.W. It wasn’t until Charles Wellington’s death that William Yilvisaker, the Chairman of Gould Inc. and an avid polo player, made contributions to produce the Palm Beach Polo Club. It was the beginning of the framework for the development of many equestrian farms and ranches that surrounded the club.  As the area later known as Wellington developed, it officially became a village on December 31, 1995.

Wellington today, with a population of 58,179, encompasses 20,533 acres with nearly 1,500 acres dedicated to recreation and equestrian activities. The Southern area of the city (about 8,000 acres) called the “Equestrian Preserve,” boarders the Everglades and protects equestrian property for generations to come. It is home to a diversity of architectural design including barns that could easily grace the covers of Architectural Digest. Even the farms and ranches alone would easily be found in such printed media as Country Estates. It is one of the fastest growing communities in Palm Beach County.

As the village grows there is one thing for certain, Wellington follows a strict growth management practice to protect its unique quality of life.  Due to their achievements, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) and the International Polo Club (IPC) are the most recognizable sporting venues in America. The PBIEC consists of 500 acres nestled in the heart of Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve and plays host to the Olympic trials, World Cup events, the Nation’s Cup, major Grand Prix competitions and one of Palm Beach County’s most successful charity events, The Great Charity Challenge.  The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center has also recently broadened its horizon from the hunters and jumpers into the dressage world by expanding into the old polo field neighboring its facility. They introduced to the world this season its addition as The Global Dressage Festival. In fact Allen Hunting of Coastal Sotheby’s International Realty had the honor of his horse to be the first to go down the center line in the new facility.

The IPC, founded in 2002, is the largest and most successful high goal Polo Club in the U.S. The International Polo Club was designed by and for polo players to showcase the finest the sport has to offer. It hosts major tournaments and world class events such as Iglehart Cup, Joe Barry Memorial Cup, Ylvisaker Cup, C.V. Whitney Cup, Piaget Gold Cup and the US Open Polo Championship. This facility draws on local, national and international enthusiasts and players including renowned players like Aldolfo Cambiaso, Luis Escobar and Nicolas Rolden.

Aside from its Equestrian lifestyle, Wellington offers bright blue skies and an average temperature of 75 degrees to its residents and guests. Golf, abundant parks, great quality of schools, attractive neighborhoods and a short drive to the sandy beaches and Palm Beach International Airport are only a few of the perks that Wellington has to offer.

That’s quite a transformation since 1953.

For more information

Speak with an expert in the Wellington, Florida area