Wellington Week

Wellington, FloridaWellington, Florida, bills itself as the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World. If you don’t happen to know famous residents and riders like Jennifer Gates, Eve Jobs, or Jessica Springsteen personally, chances are you might spot them en route to a hunter jumper venue, like this smiling commuter (people are friendly here). She might also be headed to The Tackeria, a tack shop extraordinaire located a block from where this photo was snapped.Wellington, FloridaHorseback is the preferred mode of travel here, where streets have names like Quarter Horse Trail and Paddock Drive, and there’s a community named Mallet Hill. To make it even more equine-friendly, buttons for the walk signal are offered at rider height. Wellington Florida gated community, gated barnWellington is a village of approximately 60,000 people, 13 miles from the beach. For the estimated extra 15,000 who come in for “the season,” starting in November, many camp out in gated mansions, in gated communities. However, don’t go confusing this decadent Greek Revival barn with a residence. It’s just a barn. With a five-car garage.
Mason Phelps, Chip McKenneySome of the best restaurants are members only. Luckily Mason Phelps, powerhouse behind the equine-focused Phelps Media, and CEO-slash-CFO Chip McKenney, graciously invited me to experience the butteriest of chardonnays at The Golf House. Although Wellington has multiple golf courses, everyone who’s anyone knows which club the House is in. If you’re not from here, it’s a tad confusing. But a seasoned seasoner knows that the Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club doesn’t actually offer polo any more, although that doesn’t stop it from being a coveted residential address.
International Polo Club, WellingtonWord on the well-heeled street is there are 57 private polo pitches in Wellington, far outnumbering actual polo clubs. Even though it’s not yet officially open (the high goal season is January through April)  I ducked into the world-renowned International Polo Club. One of the few clubs in North America with grandstands,  it also boasts artfully disguised water guns for the sprinkler system.
Chip McKenney, Gay Polo LeagueIf you want to, you can play polo every single month of the year in Wellington. Few do, but many play a whopping ten months, including Chip McKenney, founder of the Gay Polo League. He’s so dedicated to the cause, he’s devoted his license plates to it. And he’s tipped me off to a few places where I can jump in for some chukkers, even if I’m not a member.
Polo place settingMeanwhile, there are plenty of other attractions in Wellington for the equine enthusiast, including…Polo Museum and Hall of Fame… the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and traditions of the sport.
Wellington, FloridaStay tuned for insider polo tips and interviews… Blue Besos is hot on the heels of Wellington equine style all week!


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