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Winter Equestrian Festival begins

Posted at 9:00 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 03:24:08-05

It's the start of the busy season for equestrian riders in Wellington. Wednesday marked the start of the Winter Equestrian Festival and Adequan Global Dressage Festival. 

The festival is held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. It is the largest and longest running horse show circuit in the world. On any given day 1,500 to 2,000 horses compete on the grounds.

Caitlyn Shiels, a professional rider from Chicago says she looks forward to the event. 

"All the top international riders come to the festival for the winter because there are top classes that are qualifiers for the World Cup Finals and Olympics," Shiels said.

The festival runs for 12 weeks and ends April 1. One of the most cherished events "The Battle of the Sexes" is this weekend. Shiels challenged the men competing to bring their "A game" since they've never won in the event's history.

"It really is a fun class and it really gets everybody in the spirit and it's fun for everyone," Shiels said. 

The Winter Equestrian Festival is a major economic driver for the area. Equestrian Sports Productions estimates it generates $120 million for Palm Beach County.

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