Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and managing partner of the Wellington Equestrian Partners, announced that ESP has completed the installation of a newly engineered riding surface in the international arena and warm up ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (Florida).
“ESP is committed to staying ahead of the technology curve when it comes to footing advancements,” said Bellissimo. “Our partnership is dedicated to providing the best competition environment for both our human and equine athletes.”
In September, ESP assembled a team of five world-class equestrian footing experts to design a surface that would protect horse’s joints and minimize tendon damage. The team included Premier Equestrian, Inc., Bart Poels of Poels Equestrian, Bill Hawe of iEquiTek, FEI footing expert Lars Roepstroff, and Travis Gould of JTWG Inc.
“Horse welfare remains the priority during our 12-week circuit,” said Michael Stone, President of ESP. “The popularity of the venue gave rise to accelerated wear and tear over the last few years. Based on our review and feedback from the riders, we were in agreement that the surface needed total replacement to meet the caliber of competition that we are hosting.”
The installation included hundreds of hours of specialized testing and design iterations to finalize the footing mixture. Data was compiled by Lars Roepstroff and Poels, an FEI-approved footing consultant, during the 2019 season in order to understand the needs of the arena.
“I was here for maintenance [of the international arena] and my team continuously studied the drainage capacities during WEF,” said Poels. “Due to Florida’s unique climate and the sheer quantity of horses, the ring could not properly drain. We took several samples, iEquiTek tested them, and then eventually came up with this new custom blend of sand and the Premier ProTex additive.”
Further details regarding the resurfacing of the other arenas and additional improvements at PBIEC will be announced over the coming weeks.