How the Preserve Began
Wellington was not originally designed as an equestrian mecca. In the 1950s, the land was bought by New York accounting magnate Charles Oliver Wellington. After his death, his son, Roger Wellington, started finding ways to improve the land. Together with the Investment Corporation of Florida (ICOF), he was given an approval to develop 18,200 acres in 1972. This was the largest single development ever allowed in Palm Beach County.
Bill Ylvisaker, the Gould’s polo-playing chairman in Florida, purchased the interests of ICOF in the already developed residential neighborhoods in Wellington. He then started the groundwork for Wellington to become as an equestrian capital. He established the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club, the exceptional neighborhoods, and the home of what would become the Winter Equestrian Festival.
In the late 1970s, Wellington first inaugurated itself as an international haven for world-class polo. It was the place of many top polo tournaments. However, the fall of the revered Palm Beach Polo & Country Club as a host venue for high-goal Wellington polo in the late 1990s led players and patrons to find a new site.
Operating under the new name The South Florida Polo Club, it served Wellington polo events. It originally operated using private fields to continue elite competitions. These competitions were eventually brought to the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
In 2002, the International Polo Club Palm Beach obtained guardianship of the 26-goal C.V. Whitney Cup Tournament which made Wellington the high-goal polo’s new home.
The club landed the United States Polo Association’s prestigious U.S. Open Championship in 2004 which was followed by the said association’s Gold Cup Tournament in 2007. The IPC was the first club ever to host the three highest-rated polo tournaments in the nation.
Read more about Bill Ylvisakerm and the history of the equestrian development in Wellington in a great feature length article that was originally featured in the Wellington Town Crier.