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  1. #1
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    Nov. 8, 2009
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    Default Robert Dover RANT-anyone else receive this email?

    Sorry if this has already been posted. I was kind of surprised to see this in my mailbox
    Here it is:

    The Wellington Equestrian "Alliance"? NOT!!!

    I woke up this morning with only thoughts of taking my Mom to the Cleveland Clinic to hear the
    oncologist's report on her cancer as well as concerns with having to finally place my Dad in an Alzheimer's facility in Texas.

    Life has a way of reminding us that it goes by way too fast and how important it is to have our loved ones and the friends you trust (including our wonderful 4-legged ones) around you at all times. With the help of amazing sponsors, great horses, and a passion for the sport I love, I have had a great career including the honor of representing our great nation on the dressage team at six Olympic Games. Life, however, is full of imposters, whose posing, scheming, and distortions have the sole intention of pursuing their own agenda regardless of truth usually at a great cost to others. One of the keys in life is identifying, exposing, avoiding, and then overcoming their disruptions. We all have had our experiences and stories to share!

    So while checking my morning email, I have to tell you how shocked I was to read the Newsletter that was sent to me stating that the "Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance was doing all it can to "stop controversial developer Mark Bellissimo and Wellington Equestrian Partners from destroying and ruining the equestrian preserve." The newsletter was full of angry terms that incite. Terms like scheming, speculation, declining home values, crime, uncertainty, anxiety, insecurity, increased danger to horses, noise, traffic congestion, lack of green space, the list goes on. Then I read about the high-rise condominiums, a mall, a fairgrounds, and an RV Park. It was a negative, intentionally inaccurate, full of exaggeration, fear mongering campaign only meant to once again scare and disrupt this community that I call home and love. It was time to take a deep breath, reflect, and voice my opinions.

    I first thought about the project.

    The Equestrian Village is a 59 acre parcel (coincidentally exactly the same size as that of the great Aachen Show). The plans have been published for a long time (In my opinion they are gorgeous in every way!). I am someone who has been involved in this project from the start. There is no RV Park, there is no fairgrounds, there are some retail stores (it is not a mall), there is a 5 story condo/hotel (not a high rise as the current village limit is 3 stories, more of a low rise). It is meant to be an architectural landmark for the community. We can agree or disagree on style but we need a landmark and a piece of architecture in the community and, no offense, the Wellington Mall isn't it. The vast majority of the project, (I think 42 of the 59 acres) is a world class equestrian facility that will from the start be one of the finest dressage facilities in the world. It will host the Global Dressage Festival and it will have the most fantastic impact on dressage in the world as trainers, owners and riders come from Europe and everywhere else to compete in the top international shows and enjoy the sun and fun that is our Wellington lifestyle. Consider that all of these newcomers will need housing for themselves and their horses as well as all the other staples of daily life that will drive our economy to new heights in our town. Beyond that, for American Dressage, it will mean that for the first time, the top riders of the world will come to us instead of us always having to travel for extended periods of time to show against them on their show grounds. The sport will shift from being so Euro-centric to one in which North America and Wellington in particular will be "The Place to Be" each winter season! It was designed as a safe place for horses and residents of the entire community to enjoy our sport and a place where a visitor can stay and stable their horse. Residents can enjoy and participate in demonstrations in the courtyard shops (again not a mall). It is not in the "heart" of the equestrian preserve but rather at the "mouth" as a gateway to our amazing world and a connection point to the community.

    Then I thought about the people.

    Lou Jacobs, son of Billionaire Jerry Jacobs whose 100 acre mansion and estate is down the
    street from the proposed facility, is now the President of the so-called "Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance". I found a great quote from a Google search from Nov 29th, 2006 Palm Beach Post Story. In response to a question as to where he would move the Showgrounds he responded, "We have three attractive alternatives, none in Wellington." In his opinion the current facility was not capable of being a world class facility. It was his family that sat on the board of Stadium Jumping for years as SJI's inaction in purchasing the facility and investing in the facility and footing led to a rapid decline culminating in the embarrassing 2006 Global Champions Tour where because of poor footing both riders and horses actually were in danger and did get hurt. It was the threats to move the Showgrounds that created a mini-civil war in 2007 where many of their friends joined the opposition Wellington Equestrian Partners. Gene Mische, who was my dear friend, whose vision created Wellington, but never had the support behind him to realize his full dream. Lou didn't believe that the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club could be a world class facility. Wellington Equestrian Partners did and their vision became the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) and the newly improved booming Winter Equestrian Festival. Aside from Lou's father owning a large property in Wellington, I am unaware of any great accomplishments or contributions that Lou Jacobs or the Alliance has made to this community. So now the person who didn't help Gene when he could, then tried to move the Showgrounds out of Wellington when it faltered, and to my knowledge, has really never done anything for this community, and whose first newsletter is full of negative, inaccurate, divisive, exaggerated commentary is now the self-appointed preservationist of all things equestrian. I don't think so!

    Mat Forrest. Executive Director of the Alliance. From my understanding, when asked by the
    mayor in a recent hearing, if he ever attended a jumping event he embarrassingly said no. An
    Outsider. uninformed lobbyist. Enough said.

    Neil Hirsch. All I can say if he wants to fight our dream for a world class dressage destination and won't support our vision then I won't support his restaurant the Player's Club and I might suggest to all my Dressage/Equestrian friends that they don't either. The great thing about the growth of Wellington is that there are a lot of fantastic, new restaurants to enjoy. If you're interested, Ican post a list.

    Jane Forbes Clark. Disappointment, but no Comment.

    Michael Whitlow. An amateur with no idea of the needs or dreams of our Dressage community and just following the rest of his little "club".

    Mark Bellissimo and the Wellington Equestrian Partners. I watched in horror five years ago as the same players led by Mason Phelps and his alter ego, Hildegarde Frostbite, and the Old Guard brutalized Mark Bellissimo, his family, and the motives of Wellington Equestrian Partners in blogs and in the local and national equestrian media. In their eyes, he would destroy the event, the facility, the fabric of the community, our equestrian way of life. Through eerily similar scare tactics and attacks, they declared that it was the "beginning of the end" of Wellington. I can never remember Mark defending himself once or he or the WEP Partnership ever slinging mud or making a negative comment. Instead of stooping to their level, he organized an amazing group of partners (many of them are my dear friends), communicated their vision, laid out an ambitious 4 year plan, executed the plan by spending over $30 million during a crazy financial crisis that affected us all, and aggressively built what is arguably now one of the finest facilities in the world the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The Winter Equestrian Festival is now considered one of the top shows in world and is attracting new riders and families from all over the world. He was relentless and overcame every obstacle from every individual that was "protecting their back yard". He did it with great vision, passion, enthusiasm, and determination for this community. He and his partners actually executed Gene's dream. The shows are now drawing record crowds from across the community and county. Wellington Equestrian Partners are truly the one's protecting and preserving the equestrian community by doing things, not protecting the community by stopping/blocking progress. I wrote in my blog last year that during the Nations cup I felt like I was at European horse show. The Wellington equestrian hunter/jumper world has never been stronger. Mark recently won the Palm Beach county economic leadership award for the county for doubling the annual economic impact of WEF from $59 million to $120 million over the last five years. Mark and the WEP partnership created the Great Charity Challenge that has raised and distributed over $1.5 million to 50 Palm Beach charities over the last two years. I understand they are now launching a Wellington public school initiative to make the sport accessible to children in the community. (I would love to help!). They did what they said they were going to do--and then some! The most recent December 2011 Wellington Magazine has a cover story that highlights WEP's accomplishments. WEP Wellington Magazine Article

    Then I thought about the future.

    My sport, Dressage, deserves the same level of commitment and attention as that of the Jumpers and Polo. Dressage has been the orphan sport of this community. Last year I got three of the WEP Partners, Roger Smith, Bruce Duchossois, and Kim Boyer, to organize a meeting with Mark. We collaboratively laid out a plan for the future of Dressage in Wellington. I was excited because I knew that if Mark and WEP were behind it would get done and done well. I presented my vision. I presented my dream. Now this group, the Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance, a group that has no meaningful track record in Wellington, outside of being wealthy and large land owners and it would appear are only experts at negativity, scare tactics, and obstruction through their teams of lawyers and lobbyists are launching a campaign to block this amazing opportunity for my sport and my community. As they were wrong in 2007 about Wellington Equestrian Partners and their intent, they are wrong now and will suffer the same fate--a disappointing loss. I am disgusted that a tiny clique of insulated, wealthy landowners and a couple of others with axes to grind are launching a class war by declaring that community families, the young, the elderly, my own friends and family, that we welcome with open arms to share our passion and our sport, whether they come from Loxahatchee, Wellington, Palm Beach County, across the country or from around the world will bring with them "crime" that will add to the "anxiety," "uncertainty," and "insecurity" of my community.

    So my friends, this is a call to action, much like the one which I made last winter when well over 100 Dressage enthusiasts piled into the Equestrian Club and were so excited by the news of a permanent, world-class dressage facility and series for our sport, Now, I am calling all lovers of Dressage, and equestrian sport in general, to make your voices heard to these few naysayers with personal motives and agendas and tell them...."We are a major part of this community and have been here as long as there have been horse shows. We spend millions of dollars in Wellington for our homes, farms and businesses and we deserve and shall have our Global Dressage Festival and the world-class facilities as described in detail for the past year. We will raise the bar for International Dressage shows with our series which will inevitably bring more riders and horses to all the Dressage competitions held in the Wellington area."

    I have spoken with a large number of people from across this community who have reacted to the Alliance newsletter and are extremely disappointed and angry that these people with no track record are attempting to create another civil war in Wellington and attempting to hijack the Wellington Equestrian Partners success. They are misjudging this community. Given the opportunity to place a bet on Lou Jacobs and the Alliance versus Mark Bellissimo and WEP, my money and my dream is on Mark and his partnership. I am sure that this is true for most in the community. Lou and the Alliance had their opportunity to guide this community and they failed. The Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance should take all of the money they are spending on lawyers, lobbyists, and media and spend it productively on a local charity (Equestrian Aid Foundation would gladly accept the money) or contributing to this community not breaking it down through scare tactics and class warfare. Alternatively stay in your enormous gated properties with tall hedges surrounding yourselves and continue your rants and distortions in private. Either way the community will benefit. This you can be sure, Wellington will be home to the very best Jumping, Polo and DRESSAGE! YES, Dressage!

    Who are the imposters? You be the judge!

    Please go to my site www.doversworld.com to participate in our online blog.

    RD



  2. #2
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    Mar. 5, 2007
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    1,704

    Default

    So the arrogant people who are only there for the winter are annoyed because some of the full time residents are not happy and wish to keep development,traffic etc out of their village.
    Sure, makes perfect sense.



  3. #3
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    Aug. 6, 2000
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    520

    Default

    Before commenting perhaps those who do not know the details should become better informed. Robert Dover does know the facts. He has been involved since the beginning. The site in question does not lie deep within the preserve area but as he put it, at the gateway. It is directly across the road from a shopping plaza and an as yet unoccupied but fully constructed medical/office complex. It is the site of the former Palm Beach Polo Stadium. Robert's comments are dead-on. He has taken a stand to support the future of dressage in Wellington.



  4. #4
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    Feb. 13, 2006
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    1,495

    Default glad I'm in the northeast, even in the winter

    Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. FSF
    http://behindthebitblog.com
    Dressage, riding, sport horse blog



  5. #5
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    Aug. 15, 2011
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    96

    Default

    Wait, that whole thing was in your inbox?

    It is very complicated, and there are people who support all sides of the issue for a number of valid reasons. Personally, I think the project sounds like a wonderful idea in theory, but in practice I wonder if it would actually work. And personally I miss having the WEF shows with the jumpers. Made for the Wellington community to feel more like a community, rather than a community with different sects (ie, the different disciplines). Also felt a bit more like some of the European shows, which are always a blast. But those days at WEF are over, and I don't think we will be seeing them again.



  6. #6
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    1,592

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NWDressage View Post
    Wait, that whole thing was in your inbox?
    I got the same email. So it is some dressage email list - not sure where it came from, but it was obviously a widely distributed email (I'm in California!).



  7. #7
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    Default

    This should be very entertaining indeed.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have,
    at this moment, been thrown up from below!



  8. #8
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    Oct. 13, 2003
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
    I got the same email. So it is some dressage email list - not sure where it came from, but it was obviously a widely distributed email (I'm in California!).
    I got it too.
    -Amor vincit omnia-



  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NWDressage View Post
    Wait, that whole thing was in your inbox?
    oh yeah
    -Amor vincit omnia-



  10. #10
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    Sep. 6, 2000
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    Decatur, GA
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    Default

    Rich people fighting...blah blah blah....
    "What's so funny 'bout Peace Love and Understanding?" Elvis Costello



  11. #11
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    Mar. 20, 2007
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    Default

    I don't know the complicated ins and outs of the plan as a whole. The only thing that came to mind to me was ... Isn't RD's partner a real estate developer or something like that? Either way, the people with the most money will "win",and the horse world will continue on in some fashion.
    "The Desire to Win is worthless without the Desire to Prepare"

    It's a "KILT". If I wore something underneath, it would be a "SKIRT".



  12. #12
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    We spend millions of dollars in Wellington for our homes, farms and businesses and we deserve and shall have our Global Dressage Festival and the world-class facilities as described in detail for the past year. We will raise the bar for International Dressage shows with our series which will inevitably bring more riders and horses to all the Dressage competitions held in the Wellington area."
    "we" can't afford Wellington
    "When you think you don't need a coach ...then you're in trouble" Don Imus 2012



  13. #13
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    Jun. 7, 2001
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    Default

    I've been sent it too and while I don't have the background to comment on it I will say the rant sounded plausible and it would not be untypical for the equestrian world if it's not all as shiny sunny as it may appear from the outside... I also think for a person with Dover's position and popularity (in the sense of being widely recognized, not necessarily everybody's darling) it's a big step to voice his concerns in this fashion.
    I can't imagine someone with so much to lose would put out information out there in written that can't be verified... Certainly not a good situation for all involved.



  14. #14

    Default

    I received the email too. It seems to me that Robert is extremely stressed by the personal events in life, father with Alzheimers and mother with cancer. My guess is the developers hit Robert up for a fast endorsement of the ongoing project during a moment of person distress for him. Yes, Rob is in real estate, but I've never seen his name associated with this development. Maybe some well-wishes, thoughts and prayers are in order for Robert at this very challenging time with his parents.



  15. #15
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DressageOP View Post
    I received the email too. It seems to me that Robert is extremely stressed by the personal events in life, father with Alzheimers and mother with cancer. My guess is the developers hit Robert up for a fast endorsement of the ongoing project during a moment of person distress for him. Yes, Rob is in real estate, but I've never seen his name associated with this development. Maybe some well-wishes, thoughts and prayers are in order for Robert at this very challenging time with his parents.
    I wondered this too. Maybe he just had a moment when too many things got piled on and it was the best way he could vent his frustrations. What ever his reasons I'll give him a pass on whether it was appropriate or not. Dealing with those kind of family issues is beyond difficult, it's emotionally and physically draining; sometimes you just need to vent.



  16. #16
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    Does anybody really care who is on top of the who's who list in the WPB equestrian scene? Its all about $$$$ power and influence, none of which exist in my little world.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  17. #17
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    Aug. 14, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Dover View Post
    <snip> contributing to this community not breaking it down through scare tactics and class warfare. Alternatively stay in your enormous gated properties with tall hedges surrounding yourselves and continue your rants and distortions in private.

    Who are the imposters? You be the judge!


    Please go to my site www.doversworld.com to participate in our online blog.

    RD
    I think Roberts hits the nail on the head perfectly re: his own rant



  18. #18
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    Here are some facts that seem to be consistently ignored by Dover and his ilk.....

    1. International competitors do not want to come to this country and they have no reason to do so. There is nothing in it for them and it is not cost-effective or profitable for them to do it, even if they want to. This has been proven time and again and foreign BNRs have repeatedly said it as plainly as possible to anyone who asks.

    2. Building yet another "world class" facility won't do anything except line the pockets of a few people. We've seen the statistics and financial data from the KY horse park mess that confirms there is no need or justification whatsoever for this "entitlement project" of Dover and his pals because it would not be financially viable and that will never ever change.

    3. Dressage is not a popular Equestrian sport in this country and it has neither the large talent base nor the financial backing behind it to be "big" like H/J was in the 90's when it became infused with upper and upper middle-class money at the Junior levels. Given #1, putting #3 in the mix is the nail in the proverbial coffin since the purpose of the facility would be to bring"International Competition" to Wellington, which has not been able to do that in other disciplines.

    If Dover wants to compete against foreign athletes in Dressage, he should move to Europe, because it won't happen here.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have,
    at this moment, been thrown up from below!



  19. #19
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    Agree with Lex. Big fish, small pond syndrome, they just want a bigger fancier pond to make themselves look more important, but the economics don't justify it.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
    I don't know the complicated ins and outs of the plan as a whole. The only thing that came to mind to me was ... Isn't RD's partner a real estate developer or something like that? Either way, the people with the most money will "win",and the horse world will continue on in some fashion.
    His partner is a real estate agent (one of nearly a hundred) associated with Keller-Williams of Wellington and he doesn't have anything comprehensive to do with development as far as I know, though it's not far-fetched to assume he may get something out of this as the project (what is being discussed here) is part of a comprehensive commercial and residential development plan focused on attracting wealthy Equestrians to Wellington (I guess there are still some hold outs in the NY Tri-State area??) by WEP (that Dover is part of) and there are quite a few business relationships inter-connected in the paperwork for this whole enterprise and Wellington's real estate investment market, of which he is a visible minor player.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have,
    at this moment, been thrown up from below!



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