The horses have settled into Florida, and we’re up and running. I have four amateur clients with me, with competition ambitions from training level to Grand Prix. Puck is working beautifully, day by day wrapping his head around the fact that my leg ain’t goin’ nowhere and accepting this as his lot in life. Danny is back under saddle, spending a month walking to rebuild muscle, as well as walking 30 minutes, four days a week on the super-cool water treadmill. Life is getting back to normal.
But Wellington is anything but normal. Thousands of horses come to this little town every year. There are a dozen tack shops, half a dozen feed stores. The art everywhere—on the sidewalks, on the walls of the coffee shops and restaurants, even at the gym—is horses. This is the holy land.
And this has also been my winter home for eight of the last 11 years, so I know my way around a bit. Should you find yourself down Wellington way, here’s a few places to make sure you visit.
Brooklyn Bagel, Wellington. So many current Floridians are former New Yorkers, and if anyone can make a bagel, it’s those from the Big Apple. And Robin and her team are no exception. I personally go for a garlic bagel with scallion cream cheese, making my breath completely repulsive for many hours later, and I couldn’t care less. So. Worth. It.
Sushi Fans Cafe, Wellington. Right next door is what I consider the best sushi in town. Sushi Moto and Kontiki, two other excellent sushi places in town, are both wonderful. But Sushi Fan is cheap and cheerful.
Peppermint Thai, Royal Palm Beach. I’m reluctant to tell you all about Peppermints because it’s one of our little secrets! But it’s essentially an Asian food diner, with a giant menu of very delicious things. Don’t let the weird strip mall location freak you out—it’s excellent.
The taco truck outside the Red Barn Feed Store, Loxahatchee. Heaven is some carne asada tacos and an horchata.
Loxahatchee Ice Cream & Coffee, Loxahatchee. Guess what they sell? Fishing tackle! But seriously folks, some incredible ice cream. The peanut butter and jelly is my jam, but I also dig the spicy hot chocolate flavor. Yum!
But enough about snacks. Let’s talk tack.
The Horse Of Course is set up at AGDF, right next to the international warmup. Beth has a bunch of goodies, but along with them she offers her expertise. Beth is my go-to girl for both bits and boots, and her knowledge is unparalleled.
Tack N Rider is just down the street off Pierson Rd., and has the most stunning collection of apparel, including custom Lotus Romeo jackets that are really exquisite and unique. I have a grey and purple coat coming in that’ll knock your socks off… you know as soon as I have an FEI horse on which to wear it. Go Danny go!
And my friends at CUatX have all sorts of neat goodies, including some very beautiful leatherwork at affordable prices.
And last but not least, what to do when you’ve had enough of horses? (as if that was possible!)
Panther Ridge Conservation Center, Wellington. Panther Ridge is a big cat conservatory, and they’re nationally renowned with an amazing collection of creatures, and tremendously knowledgeable staff. Take a guided tour!
Lion Country Safari, Loxahatchee. It’s not a cheap day, but Lion Country is a drive-through zoo, with a guided audio track you take along with you that tells you about the animals. But if you come hang out at my farm in the morning you can hear the lions get excited at feeding time!