- Wellington, Florida, is a small town that has become the horse capital of America.
- Olympians and children of billionaires — including daughters of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates— show up every winter to compete for millions of dollars in prize money.
- With Hermès fly bonnets, luxury stables, and diamond necklaces in the shape of horseshoes, Wellington is a fantasy land for the horse-obsessed.
To most of the country, the name “Wellington, Florida,” doesn’t mean anything.
However, to a certain elite group that ranges from Olympians to the children of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Bruce Springsteen, the small town has become a magnet that draws thousands of people every winter.
The Wellington attraction is simple: It’s the horse capital of the United States.
Every winter, the town hosts the Winter Equestrian Festival, which takes place from January to April. Over the course of almost four months, the best horseback riders in the country compete for more than $6 million in prize money.
However, horses’ domination of Wellington continues outside of the show ring. From “horse crossing” signs to $8,000 Hermès saddles, horses reign supreme in the small town.
While I personally know very little about horses, I have visited Wellington in the past with a friend who competes at the WEF. This year, while visiting what one rider called “Disneyland for horse lovers,” I decided to document the over-the-top experience.