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Horse Industry Adds Over A Half Billion Dollars Annually To Palm Beach County’s Economy

Wellington, Florida – January 6, 2003 -- The 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival, now in its 31st year, will begin on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington. The Festival, which will remain in Wellington for seven weeks before moving on to Tampa for the last three weeks, brings over 4,000 horses and over 6,000 riders, trainers, owners and grooms to Palm Beach County.

Wellington has long been considered the equestrian capitol of the United States, and the Festival, the preeminent horse show. With over $3 million in prize money at stake this year, one can expect to see the best horses and riders in the world competing for a place in the winner’s circle.

Economically, the horse industry has been a tremendous boon to Palm Beach County, particularly given the relatively short duration of the equestrian season. Based upon a July 2001 economic impact report prepared by a well-respected economic research group, the horse industry in Palm Beach County contributes, conservatively, over a half billion dollars annually to Palm Beach County’s economy. That number includes items such as food, lodging, entertainment, retail, wage and tax monies as well as enhanced real estate values and an increase in job availability.

The 119th National Horse Show, held for the first time in Wellington, recently took place over six days during Thanksgiving week. Based upon preliminary estimates, The 119th National brought in over $12 million in revenues to Palm Beach County. Given its tremendous success, The National will return to Wellington next year and, it is believed, for years to come. What does all this mean? Clearly, the annual Wellington horse show season will henceforth start at least six weeks earlier than before. And, by extension, the economic impact of the horse industry to Palm Beach County’s economy will only grow larger.



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