Winters in Wellington: Horses Galore, But So Much More!

Headed to Wellington, Florida to compete or as a spectator? Here are some equestrian adventure travel ideas.

by Emma Perkuhnhorses in florida

Any horse person north of the Mason-Dixon line can attest: a cold, snowy winter is no fun. The problem: bone chilling wind, the feet of snow to shovel, and the antsy horses waiting to kick up their heels. The solution: Wellington, Florida. For a lucky number of riders, trainers, and owners making the yearly trek to the “sunshine state” is well worth the hassle.

The equestrian community of Wellington, Florida, lying on the outskirts of West Palm Beach, has become the hub of all horse activities, and it’s not hard to see why. What began with the International Polo Club in the 1970s helped create what the village of Wellington has become today. Located a mere 12 miles down the road from the Palm Beach, Wellington has gained quite a reputation in the horse show community. What started with a polo community soon began attracting hunter/jumpers, dressage, and even reining enthusiasts.

Wellington's Equestrian Community

The hunter/jumper community quickly took the spotlight. The Winter Equestrian Festival, better known as WEF, is world’s largest and longest horse show, running from January to April. If Wellington could be compared to New York City, WEF would undoubtedly be the frenzied Time Square. With over 5000 horses competing, many are stabled on the show grounds, while others hack over using Wellington’s extensive trail network that weaves the horse-community together.

The arenas at WEF are buzzing with excitement from dawn till dusk, and often after. The International arena boasts stadium lights for evening competitions, such as the Nation’s Cup and the Exquis World Dressage Masters.

A trip to Wellington is not complete without experiencing one of the main attractions: Sunday’s 3pm Polo Match. Coupled with the WEF show, IPC’s polo season lasts from January through March and draws the most talented players in the sport. 31 teams from fifteen different countries arrive for the winter to compete in hopes of winning the coveted U.S. Open Polo Championship at season’s end.

With its combination of top horse shows and beautiful weather, Wellington draws the top riders from not only the United States, but the world. It’s not uncommon to stumble across Olympians like McClain Ward, Beezie Madden, or Robert Dover in the checkout line at the local supermarket. 

Other Wellington Travel Attractions

For those less inclined to immerse their vacation in the many horse-activities – fear not! – The Wellington area boasts a plethora of unique activities.

Shopping: The Mall at Wellington Green and West Palm’s CityPlace offer shopping galore. For those who are looking for the trendy boutiques, Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue does not disappoint.

Active Adventures Out of the Saddle: Some may choose to hit the links at the various golf courses, brush up on their tennis skills, or just spend time basking in the rays on the beach. Families often choose to drive through their own African safari at Loxahatchee’s Lion Country Safari or explore the everglades in hopes of spotting alligators.

Nighlife: Evenings are never dull in south Florida. Wellington has events every night of the week to keep vacationers busy. For the full Wellington experience, the famous Players Club Bar & Grille comes alive with drinks and dancing on Sundays, along with "Dressage Under the Stars" on Wednesdays. If you’re headed east, West Palm Beach’s Clematis Street buzzes with countless diverse restaurants and clubs. Regardless of interests, Wellington offers endless opportunities for fun.

Whether you are seeking a relaxing, quiet getaway; or are seeking constant entertainment and countless activities equine-related and beyond, Wellington, Florida is a sure bet! Maybe you can’t beat that cold and snow for an entire winter, but a trip to Wellington will certainly help fight the bad-weather blues!

For more information, check out the following links:

International Polo Club

Wellington Equestrian Festival 

Wellington Palm Beach