With the start of the new year comes the start of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in one of the BarnManager team’s favorite places: Wellington, FL!
For the Wellington first-timer, it can be hard to know where to begin your visit. (There are just so many beautiful horses everywhere!) That’s why we’ve compiled a few of our Wellington favorites into this destination guide to help you plan your next weekend visit or your full-season stay in the ‘winter equestrian capital of the world.’
Where to Eat
Agliolio – Agliolio’s pasta is made in house and, by our vote, is the best in Wellington! They also offer a number of gluten-free pasta options, delicious bread, tasty signature drinks, and even convenient carry-out for when you’re in the mood to carbo load at home. Check out www.Agliolio.com/menu.
Buccan – While not located in Wellington, Buccan is a favorite for WEF and AGDF goers looking to enjoy an evening on Palm Beach! Buccan is known for its delicious small plates full of big flavor that range from warm octopus salad to spicy pork tacos. Buccan offers communal seating or individual tables, but be sure to make a reservation as the restaurant fills up quickly during the winter season! Visit www.buccanpalmbeach.com.
The Farm Stand – The Farm Stand is one of the newest food additions to the WEF showgrounds – and it’s one of the healthiest! Located on the walk between the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring and Pony Island, The Farm Stand offers craft coffee from Pumphouse Coffee Roasters, plant-based cuisine and juices made by Meraki Juice Kitchen, and clean, nutritious food from Tess & Co. Visit www.farmstand-pb.com to learn more.
Field of Greens – If you’re looking to grab a salad or smoothie on the go or for a quick lunch, look no further than Field of Greens. The Wellington location is just minutes from the show grounds, and packed with healthy options including acai bowls, protein shakes, and juices in addition to the delicious salads! View the full menu at www.fieldofgreensonline.com.
The Oasis Café, Tiki Hut, or Tito’s Tacos – There are a number of additional dining options located onsite at the WEF showgrounds for those looking to grab a quick burger, sandwich, salad, or taco while enjoying the show or before their next round. For salads, wings, burgers, and more, visit the Tiki Hut located next to the International Arena. For a wide variety of options for breakfast or lunch, visit the Oasis Café, located in the Vendor Village, and for Mexican cuisine, stop in to Tito’s Tacos, open Thursday through Sunday just across the bridge from the Tiki Hut.
Oli’s Fashion Cuisine – Oli’s is a popular hotspot for horse show goers, located just a short drive from the show grounds. The menu features an array of beautifully presented entrees and salads, as well as flatbreads, sandwiches, and more. If you’re enjoying a Monday off from the horse show, consider Oli’s for a boozy brunch or an enjoyable evening with friends, as all bottles of wine are half-off on Mondays. Visit www.olisfashioncuisine.com.
What to Do
Watch the Horse Show of Course! – WEF and AGDF run from January 9 through March 31, with a wide range of hunter, jumper, equitation, and dressage competition ongoing every Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free each day with the exception of Friday nights at AGDF and Saturday nights at WEF.
‘Saturday Night Lights’ – Parking admission to WEF is charged on Saturday nights ($20/car, with free parking also available across the street at the AGDF) because it’s the most anticipated night of the week, ‘Saturday Night Lights’! Throughout the 12 weeks of WEF, each Saturday night features a FEI-rated grand prix or a special, featured event, including the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes during the show’s opening week. Come early to enjoy the carousel, petting zoo, shopping, and dozens of food vendors offering delicious dinner options and treats ranging from kettle corn to crepes to cheesecake on a stick!
‘Friday Night Stars’ Freestyle – Much like Saturday nights host WEF’s largest, featured events each week, Friday night is the night to be at AGDF! During Friday Night Stars spectators are able to watch some of the best dressage horses and riders in the world perform their freestyle tests! Find the full AGDF schedule online here at gdf.coth.com.
Go to a Polo Match – In addition to many of the world’s best hunter, jumper, and dressage competitors, Wellington, FL, hosts the finest international polo players each winter at the International Polo Club (IPC)! For a Sunday afternoon of high-level sport and high-level socializing, put on your Sunday best and head over to IPC for a match, beginning each week at 3 p.m. A wide variety of tickets, including brunch options, box seats, and more, are available for purchase online at ipc.coth.com.
Go for a Drive – When you’re done at the horse show, continue down South Shore Boulevard or Pierson Road to take in some of the stunning properties and horse farms for which Wellington is known!
Where to Shop
Dover Saddlery – A popular, nationwide source for equestrian tack, supplies, and apparel, Dover Saddlery opened a Wellington, FL, location in 2014, offering just about any and everything you may need from a tack shop. In 2018, they also unveiled a location onsite at WEF for even greater convenience – and for another place for us to spend lots of money on our horses! Visit www.DoverSaddlery.com for more information.
Onsite at WEF – WEF hosts more than 100 food and retail vendors onsite each season in locations including Vendor Village in the middle of the showgrounds, Hunter Hill just above the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring, the Shoppes at the International Club inside the large International Club, and more. Be sure to check out some of our favorites including EquiFit, Equo, Hermès, Hunt Ltd., and Fab Finds by Sarah!
The Tackeria – Located directly across from both WEF and AGDF, The Tackeria has been a Wellington equestrian staple for years! The spacious store offers not only tack and supplies, but also a large selection of equestrian gift items and home décor pieces.
Worth Avenue – After you’ve visited Hermès at WEF, if you’re looking to continue your high-end shopping spree, be sure to continue to downtown Palm Beach to shop along the iconic Worth Avenue, home to unique boutiques, Chanel, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, and much, much more. Find a full directory online at https://worth-avenue.com/.
Have other Wellington favorites and recommendations that we missed? We’d love to hear your favorites in the comments!
Enjoy your next visit or stay in the ‘winter equestrian capital of the world!’