Dressage Investor Group Comes Forward to Buy Global Dressage Festival Showgrounds

Tue, 02/06/2024 - 09:01
Plaque with the names of the "founding fathers" of the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington

A group of affluent dressage aficionados made a spectacular, last-minute effort to raise 25 million dollars to buy the land and preserve the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, as a competition venue. 

Golf instead of Dressage

On 7 February 2024 the Wellington Village Council will vote on taking 96 acres of land out of the "equestrian preserve" for developer Mark Bellissimo and his "Wellington Lifestyle Partners" to build a highly controversial golf community.

Money for this project comes from Nexus, a real estate development company owned by Tavistock Group, which is headed by British billionaire Joe Lewis who was recently found guilty of insider trading and securities fraud.

Wellingtonians united in the group "Keep Wellington Green" and collected 8,000 signatures for a petition against the rezoning the land. "Horses, Not Homes" is their motto.

Dressage Community Unites

A group of Wellington based dressage riders have now come together as an investor group, which aims to purchase "Equestrian Village". Spokesperson in this effort is U.S. Grand Prix rider Arlene "Tuny" Page. 

Page stated that the "investor group would like to purchase Equestrian Village to preserve it and enhance it as a multi use equestrian facility. The group includes original investors and founders of the Global Dressage Festival."

The concern of the Village Council is that there is no other group to purchase and operate the property, an angle heavily played by Team Bellissimo in an effort to get the land rezoned. 

"In less than 48 hours we have obtained financial commitments for equity and a modest amount of debt of 25 million dollars," Page stated. 

The investor group includes Antonia Ax:son Johnson, Robin Parsky, Beth Johnson, Scott Swerdlin, Victoria McCullough, Dave and Tuny Page, Terri Kane, and Betsy Juliano.

Show Me The Money

Arlene Page at Stillpoint Farm in Wellington
"There was an indication that the council needed assurance of financial commitments as in “show us the money” and here we are with many more under consideration," Page stated. 

The group requests the Village Council to pause its considerations in the reviewing process of Wellington North and South to give the group the chance to negotiate on a possible purchase of the land. 

"It is a great opportunity to respect the preserve and the passionate supporters therein," said Tuny."

The land to be purchased would include the Global Dressage Festival land and the derby jumping field, but not the adjacent White Birch polo fields which are also in the reserve. It is feared that removing the land from the preserve would set a precedent and lead to full erosion of the 9,000 acre equestrian preserve for more money-making residential and commercial development. 

Founding Fathers

The founding sponsors of the Global Dressage Festival in 2012 were Chris and Rob Desino, Matt Verney, Kimberly van Kampen, Terri Kane, Tuny and Dave Page, Joseph and Gate Scarpa, and Janet Richardson-Pearson and William Pearson.

The investor group now consists of very well know dressage farm owners in Wellington, amongst them Tuny Page of Stillpoint Farm, Terri Kane of Diamante Farm, U.S. dressage team sponsor Betsy Juliano of Havensafe Farm and Swedish Antonia Ax:son Johnson of Lovsta South. She is a dressage horse and stallion owner and major sponsor of dressage sport.

Read more about this investor group and their heroic effort to keep dressage in its own location. 

Related Links
Bellissimo Scores a Win in Battle to Rezone Wellington Land for Golf Community
Bellissimo "Playing Chess" with Helgstrand's Global Equestrian Group to Secure Zoning Changes for New Golf Community in Wellington
Bellissimo Presents "Wellington 3.0", Plans to Move Dressage, Aims to Rezone GDF Show Ground
Mark Bellissimo Buys Coach House Condo Site for $18 Million