WELLINGTON, Fla., Dec. 2--The finishing touches to a multimillion dollar makeover of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center were being applied Tuesday night in readiness for the opening of the Holiday & Horses CSI-W/CDI 3*.
Heavy construction equipment that had been used to recreate spectator areas around the centerpiece International Arena, provide improved footing in competition rings and drainage throughout the facility was moved off the show grounds several hours before the 8 a.m. Wednesday start of the first class.
Hundreds of chairs were placed in new VIP boxes, new general admission seating was dusted off and the last of the trucks carrying the Olympic quality footing created by Bart Poels of Belgium completed their trips to the Mogavero Arena. Fork lifts of sod were being placed around the show grounds as part of the beautification of PBIEC.
The Mogavero joins the International and DeNemethy Arenas in providing footing identical to that used in this year's Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong. Other competition arenas that were also reconstructed.
About $5 million was spent prior to the 2008 Winter Equestrian Festival by Equestrian Sport Productions, the management company of the Wellington shows. ESP is owned by Wellington Equestrian Partners.
Another $5 million has been invested in recent months to complete renovations and improvements.
Holiday & Horses highlights, all in the International Arena, are:
-7 PM Friday - Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach - Speed Class
-7 PM Saturday - CDI 3* Dressage Musical Freestyle
-2 PM Sunday - Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach - Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier.
Prize money for the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach is $40,000 for the Speed Class, $60,000 for the Grand Prix and $25,000 for the top finishing U.S. rider.
In addition to the competition, there will be a children's fair, pony rides, Santa Claus and a tree lighting ceremony.
Hunter and jumper competition kicks off Wednesday while horses entered in the CDI 3* dressage will perform a veterinary jog.
PBIEC INFORMATION & TICKETS: http://www.equestriansport.com
561/793-5867 or http://www.equestriansport.com
THE FACILITY: The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival and the site of the first outdoor Nations Cup held in the United States. The competition areas include the 360' x 280' all-weather International Arena, the Bertalan DeNemethy Arena, Mogavero Ring and Grand Hunter Field in addition to several other competition rings. The competition and warm up rings have all-weather footing. Amenities include the International Club, refreshment and shopping areas.
DIRECTIONS: From the Florida Turnpike south, take Exit #93, Lake Worth Blvd., and travel west, crossing over US 441. Travel five miles to South Shore Blvd., turn right on South Shore and proceed one mile to Pierson Road, then turn left at the light. Spectator Entrance is first left, Equestrian Club Road.
From Interstate I-95, take Exit #49. Travel west on Forest Hills Blvd. 11 miles to South Shore Blvd. Turn left on South Shore and follow to Pierson Road. Turn right at the light on Pierson. Spectator Entrance is first left, Equestrian Club Road.
FOOD: A diverse menu of food and beverages is available at the vendor courtyard and at vendor areas around the International Arena, and are open during show hours.
SHOPPING: The vendor courtyard and individual booths around the International Arena offer equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry, home furnishings and more.
CAR RENTAL: Enterprise Rent-a-Car for your car rental needs. Call 1-800-593-0505 or go online to enterprise.com and use the WEF reference number 41W0087 and the PIN; win for a discount.
HOTELS: Hampton Inn and Suites Wellington
2155 Wellington Green Drive, Wellington, FL 561-472-9696
(Closest hotel, just two miles from show grounds)
Hampton Inn Lake Worth Road
8205 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL 561-472-5980
(New location just five miles from Wellington)
Hampton Inn West Palm Beach
Okeechobee Blvd. at Jog Rd.
2025 Vista Parkway, West Palm Beach, FL 561-682-9990
(Just 12 miles away at Emerald Dunes)
GOLF CARS: Dever, Inc., the Official & Exclusive Supplier of Golf Cars. Orders and information at http://www.deverinc.com
or telephone Dever Inc.'s PBIEC office at 859-509-7265 or the home office at 800-714-2201.
Photo: Ken Braddick-HorseSport USA
Photo: Crews laying sod and installing a sound system in front of the International Club beside the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Tuesday night. PBIEC will host Holiday & Horses CSI-W/CDI 3* Wednesday through Sunday, including the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented vy Equine Motorcoach.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/pbiec-holiday-horses-jumping-hunter-dressage-12-08.html">PBIEC Ready for Holiday & Horses Jumping, Hunter and Dressage Begins Wednesday</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com