It Takes a(n Equestrian) Village

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GM, partner. This is The Oxer. The newsletter that takes you out of your tack room and into the global equestrian industry.

🐴 Here’s what we’ve got for you today:

  • Wellington’s potential BIG plans: The village is debating on whether to undertake its latest and perhaps biggest equestrian development project in decades.

  • German horse breeding is growing: A sign that horse sports are also growing in Germany.

  • Final Foals: Check them at the bottom of every edition, including this one.


👩‍👧‍👦 It Takes a(n Equestrian) Village

What happened?!

  • A new development in the works, formerly called “Equestrian Village“ and now called “Wellington 3.0”, is looking to establish Wellington as the “year-round Equestrian Capital of the World.”

  • The original plan had incorporated elements to compensate for Wellington’s growing equestrian scene, such as the building of farms and venues.

  • But the updated plan now proposes to “double the space of the equestrian venues, build more high-end residences that are integrated with the showgrounds and establish a downtown area with a hotel”.

  • The updated version of the plan needs to be approved by Wellington’s city government to make it come to fruition.

  • If you have thoughts on the plan, be sure to respond to The Palm Beach Post’s survey embedded in the article.

Our jump on the subject

One of the reasons why the developer of Wellington 3.0, Mark Bellissimo, argues for these proposed changes is due to the heavy competition in other Florida spots, particularly Ocala (World Equestrian Center) and Myakka City (Terra Nova).

Competition in Florida is heating up—confirming a recent report we mentioned by The Wall Street Journal of Ocala versus Wellington.

It’s also true that many who come to Wellington for equestrian events get their accommodation in West Palm Beach, which means riders and trainers must travel across Palm Beach County just to do their jobs.

image-Feb-08-2024-10-29-11-6773-PM

Note that part of Wellington 3.0 would be built in Wellington’s equestrian reserve, a 9,000-acre-large (3,642 hectares) area dedicated to natural preservation. One concern that was brought up when the first iteration of the plan was submitted is whether or not it sets a “poor precedent” to “grant development exemptions” in the nature preserve.

Only ten years ago, Bellissimo proposed to build a hotel in the nature preserve that was rejected by Wellington. In 2016, he submitted a separate plan to “build a hotel and improve the grounds of the International Polo Ground”, which was also rejected by the community.

Fast forward to late last year, Bellissimo presented the old version of Wellington 3.0 in a public meeting. The new version of the plan has just been submitted.

For the plan to be approved, it needs to be presented to the planning and zoning board and the community’s equestrian committee. Afterward, a final vote would be undertaken by the village council.

Mark Bellissimo is already an important figure in the world of American equestrian. He was the former owner of The Chronicle of the Horse and is the owner of Wellington Equestrian Partners, which used to own the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

 

What happened?!

  • Germany’s horse breeding industry is doing even better than it has before COVID-19 was a thing.

  • In 2019, Germany had 51,944 broodmares and the latest stats show 52,499.

  • The number of registered mares went up from 8,263 in 2019 to 9,052 in 2022.

  • Even during COVID, horse breeding didn’t seem to slow down in Deutschland.

  • Read the rest of the numbers in the article and be sure to let your browser translate if you don’t understand German!

Our jump on the subject

New data from Germany suggests that demand for having a horse and doing something about it—ahem, horse sports—is rising.

Germany’s market for equestrian is already large. Here’s a snippet from an interview with the secretary general of the German Equestrian Federation (DRV), Soenke Lauterbach, that demonstrates its enormity.

It has 17 regional associations, 25 breeding associations, almost 60,000 personal members and 9 affiliated organizations.

The [DRV] is therefore the umbrella organization for approximately 3,500 equestrian centres and 7,300 riding clubs, with 665,000 members and around 80,000 breeders.

Soenke Lauterbach on Ampascachi, March 2022

665,000 is a big number even for Germany, one of Europe’s largest countries by population. The number of members in the German equestrian organizations comprises 0.8% of the country’s population!

In a study backed by the DRV last year, it was confirmed that 840,000 people ride horses regularly meanwhile over two million people considered themselves as riders.

Although Germany, unlike other countries, doesn’t publish data on the population of mares by breed type, it’s still promising to see that the numbers in the space are growing.

Germany has about 1.25 million privately owned horses, while the U.S. has over seven million.


🐴 Also, Don’t Miss These Final Foals

🧣 Dover Saddlery is opening its new tack store in Charlotte, North Carolina two years after closing its location there. The announcement post on a Facebook group (unable to link, unfortunately) generated a lot of buzz—indicating that demand for tack is quite healthy in the Charlotte area.

🍃 Listen to this podcast on digitizing rural business. Emma’s making a great point in this snippet!

💸 Last week we attended a fascinating conversation on horse sports and sports betting. More of the conversation happened on LinkedIn after the fact.

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Take your time to digest these stories and let us know what you think by replying.

Giddy up!
The Oxer

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