Leaving the rainy and snowy Northeast for Wellington’s Winter Show season is an annual pilgrimage for many folks in the Equestrian World. Did you ever stop to think of the enormous positive economic impact of our sport to attend shows in Florida? Think about the trucking companies, the airlines, and the hotels and restaurant traffic. What about the impact that 7000 horses, riders, and trainers in Wellington have on Palm Beach County and the surrounding areas? Think of the rentals, the restaurant traffic, and the huge volume of service jobs created by the show season.
Overshadowed by Nascar with Daytona’s Speedweek events and Spring Break hotspots, the Equestrian community pumps millions upon millions into South Florida for one entire quarter of the year. Fly into Palm Beach International on a weekday in February, and you will see just as many New York, New Hampshire, and New Jersey plated vehicles picking up guests as Florida based vehicles. These folks are here to compete for the series, and all of South Florida benefits.
According to the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, tourist related expenditures due to the Winter Show Series at Wellington approach $120 million, with equestrian related expenditures totaling another $100 million, bringing the estimated economic impact to $220,000,000 in a period of three months. In a state still reeling from the contraction of the real estate market, this is a welcome injection of commerce.