Kilkenny Insurance: A Labor of Love and This Weeks Sponsor
of The 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival
Florida -- February 7,2003 -- In 1994, Wellington residents Laura
and Michael Whitlow sat down and asked themselves how they could
combine their love of horses and the horse community with a satisfying
and profitable business. Bingo!! Named after Michaels familys
farm in Virginia and the couples farm in Wellington, The Kilkenny
Insurance Agency was born. Kilkennys logo, built around a
D-ring snaffle bit, was Lauras design.
Now one of the top equine insurance agencies in the country, Kilkenny
provides equine insurance to horses and farms involved in the equestrian
disciplines of hunters, jumpers, equitation and dressage. Its underwriter,
The Insurance Company of Hannover, is a well-known firm in the insurance
industry based in Omaha, Nebraska.
How did the Whitlows, starting from scratch, build their business
to the success that it is today in a mere nine years? Their own
hard work, smarts and outstanding personal reputations certainly
had a lot to do with it. But in addition, the Whitlows made a conscious
decision to become a major factor as both a sponsor and innovator
at The Winter Equestrian Festival.
Each year since 1994, Kilkenny has been a major sponsor at The Festival,
to the tune of $50,000 a year and sometimes more. During the entire
circuit, from Wellington through Tampa, Kilkenny is and has been
the sponsor of the Amateur-Owner Working Hunter Division. Also,
during the annual Kilkenny week, Kilkenny sponsors The Festivals
Sunday Grand Prix. This Sundays Kilkenny Grand Prix offers
a $50,000 purse. There is also a $25,000 Kilkenny WEF Challenge
Cup and a 1.5 meter jumper class sponsored by Kilkenny this week.
In 1995, the Whitlows had the brilliant idea to add a 33
Hunter Division to The Festivals roster of divisions. Sounds
easy? Anything but. Divisions in the hunter world have long histories
and traditions -- adding a new category is almost unheard of. Previously,
there had only been 3 and 36 divisions. To the
experienced equestrian, the difference in 3 here or there
is quite significant. Kilkennys 33 division took
off immediately, and to this day remains an extremely popular division.
The division has also received a rating from USAEquestrian,
a major coup.
Laura and Michael are tremendously gratified that their support
of The Winter Equestrian Festival and the horse world in general
has worked towards everyones benefit. Their business has grown
exponentially since 1994.
Each day during The Festival, Laura and Michael reflect on their
beloved, Kilkenny-insured horses: from any high point on the showgrounds,
they can see multiple Kilkenny horses showing, horses such as Chopard,
Glasgow and Oh Star--- and they feel they have made a difference.
to the Winter Equestrian Festival are available by phone at 793-JUMP
or at the gate. Admission is free on Wednesdays. Children 12 &
under are free all days. Senior admission is $5 every day. Adult
admission is $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15
on Sunday. Parking is free.
Equestrian Festival Dates:
week runs Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8:00 AM)
Gold Coast Classic - January 29 - February 2
Wellington Dressage January 30 February 2
Kilkenny/ICH Internationale February 5 9
Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular February 12 16
Florida Dressage Classic February 13 - 16
Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters February 19
Tommy Bahama Palm Beach Open February 26 March 2
Cosequin Wellington Finale March 5 9
Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic March 13