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Major Improvements Underway at PBIEC Ready for 2009 Winter Equestrian Festival

WELLINGTON, Fla., Sept. 5--A new round of major improvements focused on footing in the competition arenas has begun at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in preparation for 2008/2009 circuits including the showcase Winter Equestrian Festival.

Footing created by Olympic provider Bart Poels that was installed in PBIEC's International and DeNemethy arenas last year will be extended to the DeNemethy warmup ring and the Mogavero arena.

Footing in Rings 7 and 8 and the arenas at the South Grounds (formerly Littlewood) is also on the schedule to be replaced by Equestrian Sport Productions that manages the PBIEC shows for the Wellington Equestrian Partners, LLC that owns the property.

"Establishing the standard for footing for sport horse competitions everywhere is the top priority of the partners," said Mark Bellissimo, ESP Chief Executive. "All of the partners or family members actively participate in our shows and insist on the highest quality conditions for all horses and riders."

ESP last year undertook a substantial overhaul of PBIEC that includes the former Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club that was the longtime home of the Winter Equestrian Festival, the adjacent Littlewood show grounds and the Palm Beach Polo Stadium.

Creation of a track for the inaugural Palm Beach Steeplechase to be held at the Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 29 is nearing completion. The schedule of improvements throughout the entire PBIEC depends on cooperation of the occasionally tempestuous South Florida weather and meeting building and environmental standards required by various government agencies.

Other significant improvements on the schedule for PBIEC include:

* Creation of a new flatting/work area of 250 feet by 120 feet close by Ring 7;

*A new lunging area near the permanent barns;

* Further improvements to the popular traffic circulation and safety measures introduced in 2008, with even greater separation of horses, golf carts and pedestrians.

* A comprehensive site drainage plan to protect stabling, rings, pedestrian walkways and parking against flooding during torrential downpours. One storm dumped seven inches of rain on PBIEC in 16 hours last year.

* New exhibitor and spectator parking areas;

* More ringside spectator boxes, VIP tables and covered viewing areas around the centerpiece International Arena;

* Expanded food service emphasizing healthy food alternatives.

* Construction of jumping and hunter derby elements on the grass competition field at the Stadium for planned competitions for juniors, amateurs and professionals;

* Improvements to the FEI stabling areas with larger, elevated stalls;

* Major enhancements to the Riders' Lounge for professionals;

* Improved family areas;

* More extensive landscaping including increased shade areas for humans and horses;

* Introduction of a golf cart shuttle service between North and South

grounds during high traffic periods;

* A new vendor courtyard and improvements to vendor areas around the International Arena, and

* Improved horse wash areas being designed in cooperation with the Village of Wellington and South Florida Water Management District to meet strict environmental standards.

Photo: Footing piled up ready for installation in Ring 8 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla. Photo: Ken Braddick-HorseSport USA


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