Every year, the thunderous gallop of 6,000 competing horses descends on Florida’s Wellington for the three-month Winter Equestrian Festival. Jockeys, masters of dressage and keen horsey types spectate and compete for prizes totalling more than half a billion dollars. In tribute to this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival, we look at Palm Beach’s most compelling equine activities, each easily accessible from The Chesterfield Palm Beach. From rodeos to accompanied trails, here’s what a horse-lover can expect from a visit to Palm Beach.
Trot out across prime horse country
Draw away from Palm Beach’s pearly shores and head inland to the verdant sprawl of Wellington. Not only home to Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, it’s prime horse-riding country. Saddle up and amble through secluded pine forests, canter across rolling farmland and trot along slow-gliding rivers. From introductory lessons and laid-back guided treks to thrilling trails for more advanced riders, there are options tailored to all levels. Adults can take the reins at Casperey Stables, while younger riders will love horsing around at the hands-on Leg-Up Horse Camp.
Toast the polo players
A glittering event for sports enthusiasts and socialites alike, visit International Polo Club Palm Beach to catch a white-knuckle season every winter. The premier destination for world-renowned players and their steeds, who career about the field at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, the current season runs from 30th December 2018 – 21st April 2019. The best way to bask in the club’s glamourous social scene? A luxurious match-side Champagne brunch at The Pavilion, available exclusively on Sundays.
Cling on at a rodeo
For something a little more down-to-earth, Davie Pro Rodeo in an arena just past Fort Lauderdale offers all-American, full-bodied rodeos throughout the year. Cheer wildly as Stetson-clad wranglers perform daredevil stunts harking back to the wild west. Don’t miss the bull riding, where brave cowboys attempt to cling to the back of a rampant bull for a marathon eight seconds, as well as the usual bucking broncos and wild steer wrestling.
Dip into the Winter Equestrian Festival
No horse-lover’s guide to Palm Beach would be complete without a glimpse of the region’s legendary Winter Equestrian Festival, from 9th January – 31st March 2019. The event welcomes Olympians and professional jockeys, children and amateur riders to compete in 70 various divisions. There’s plenty to entertain aside from the horsing spectacles. In the grounds, discover an inspired selection of art galleries, boutiques and gourmet dining stalls. We recommend a visit to the affiliated Adequan Global Dressage Festival, just around the corner in the stadium’s Equestrian Village. With stellar live entertainment, its Friday Night Stars competition is a highlight of the Winter Equestrian Festival’s calendar.
The Concierge at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Chesterfield Palm Beach is happy to arrange an accompanied horse ride for you from a nearby stables during your stay.
Image credits: lead image © PBIEC. Woman with horse © iStock/PeopleImages. Polo © iStock/FreezingRain. Winter Equestrian Festival © PBIEC.