The Wall Street Journal - Two Florida Towns Vie to Be Center of the Equestrian World
Photos by Sydney Walsh for The Wall Street Journal | Read the full story by Deborah Acosta
An equestrian rivalry between towns competing for horse-riding events and well-heeled homeowners and athletes is heating up in Florida. Wellington, a village on the west side of Palm Beach County, for more than 15 years has been Florida’s equestrian sports center, hosting the Winter Equestrian Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of spectators during its 13-week run. The daughters of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Bloomberg have competed in the festival and their families own homes in the area, according to real-estate brokers. Now, the family of the late trucking magnate Ralph L. ‘Larry’ Roberts Sr. is trying to get a piece of this business in Ocala, a sleepy rural town of about 65,000 in central Florida. The duel between the two equestrian centers is one of the more upscale competitions playing out in Florida as the state’s low taxes, warm weather and business-friendly government policies become a magnet for people living in New York, California and other areas in the U.S.