On July 16th, 2015 it was announced that the sixth Longines FEI World Cup Jumping North American League qualifier, East will be held at the Jacobs family’s Deeridge Farms in Wellington, Florida in February, 2016.
This FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier was historically held at the Winter Equestrian Festival, also in Wellington, FL, but due to sponsorship conflicts, it was well known that 2014 was the last year that WEF would play host to the CSI3*-W class. While the sixth FEI World Cup Qualifier was still scheduled to take place in Wellington, until now it was unknown where the qualifier would be held.
The road to this seismic shift in venue began in 2013, after Longines gained title sponsorship of the FEI World Cup Jumping Series. As a fervent supporter of show jumping, Longines has aligned itself with the largest series and events in the sport, including title sponsorship of the Global Champions Tour, and Masters Grand Slam series.
In direct competition with Longines is rival watchmaker Rolex, also a deeply committed sponsor of equestrian sport. When Equestrian Sport Productions, which owns and runs WEF, signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Rolex in 2014, it did so knowing that it would likely lose the opportunity to continue hosting the FEI World Cup Qualifier, as Longines stipulates that none of its events may be held in a Rolex-supported venue.
When the World Cup Jumping league was restructured in March to become the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping North American League, the Wellington date remained on the FEI calendar, but as of yet no venue had been attached.
“It’s exciting to use our family’s farm to host the best event possible for Longines FEI World Cup qualifier,” Charlie Jacobs was quoted for Phelps Media Group. “As a competitor, I am honored to be a part of this word-class event, and my family shares my commitment to preserving this class in Wellington.”
Deeridge Farms is a 300-acre, private family compound with vast equestrian facilities located on Pierson Road in Wellington, less than two miles from the Winter Equestrian Festival. Since 2014 the Jacobs family have occasionally hosted unrated events in partnership with The Ridge Turf Tour Grand Prix Series.
However, Louis and Charles Jacob’s litigation against Equestrian Sport Productions and the expansion of WEF into its sister facility –the Global Dressage Festival– has been an exhaustive source of conflict in Wellington since the GDF first broke ground in 2011. The Jacobs family points to concerns over the effect that growth in the form of competitive equestrian events would have on the “Equestrian Preserve”, a protected equestrian acreage that encases the equestrian community in Wellington.
That the Jacobs have now secured billing to host an international-level show jumping event on their private property that lies a stone’s throw from WEF and the GDF is an interesting power play in the ongoing saga between the Jacobs and ESP.
Nevertheless, in this particular move, the riders are sure to come out the winners. Stadium Jumping, Inc. has been brought on board to host what’s being billed as a standalone FEI World Cup qualifier event with additional classes for Junior and Amateur riders during the first week of February, 2016. The nearby International Polo Club has also announced that it will provide overflow parking and help with logistics if needed. Deeridge Farms’ international-quality grass jumping field will give riders a chance to compete at a fresh, new venue in a beautiful setting as they prepare for the 2016 FEI World Cup Jumping Final.