Three of the most spectacular weeks on the Wellington winter circuit have been relegated to a footnote in history.
The organizers of the Palm Beach Masters announced on Friday that the winter series has been canceled going forward due to “ongoing and unforeseen lasting impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
Founded in 2015 and set on the private farm of the Jacobs family, the Palm Beach Masters Series has hosted the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington since 2016 and been home to the U.S. leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Series since 2019.
That all ends now.
“It was a great honor to host the Palm Beach Masters Series at Deeridge Farms in Wellington, FL. From the beginning, my family was committed to producing a world-class event benefiting the most accomplished equestrians from across the globe. We are very proud of the series, which featured high-performance horse sport and a distinctive hospitality experience,” said Lou Jacobs, founder of the Palm Beach Masters Series.
Where the Jumping World Cup™ Wellington and Nations Cup™ of the USA will go now that the Palm Beach Masters has folded up shop has yet to be announced. (World Equestrian Center Ocala perhaps?)
What we do know is that the Palm Beach Masters will go down in history as a place where stars were born, history was made and the lemonade was on point.
Here are our favorite moments from the Series That Was. Because that’s all we have now. Sigh.
1. The press conference when Beezie Madden and Ian Millar delivered a master class on breaking down a course
And not just any course. An Alan Wade course. It was one of those moments when doing your job felt an awful lot like being paid to take a riding lesson from two living legends.
It was 2018. Ireland’s Daniel Coyle was 23. In the space of a month, the rising redhead won his first ever World Cup title, the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington, and his first 5* Grand Prix, the $384,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix—both at Deeridge Farms.
In 2018, a derby star was born when hometown hero Victoria Colvin swept the international hunter division aboard Private Practice with scores averaging in the 90s.
In 2019, Irish transplant Paul O’Shea captured the biggest win of his career with the $210,000 Longines Grand Prix at the Palm Beach Masters Series, then credited a life altering Jane Savoie dressage book for the win.
Following an admittedly disastrous turn at the 2018 World Equestrian Games, Israeli’s Ashlee Bond returned to 5* competition for the first time at 2019 Palm Beach Masters—and she came back swinging. Five clear rounds in six 5* classes. Two victories. And Israeli’s first podium finish in a Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™. (They took second behind Mexico.) It was nothing short of glorious.
That same week, four riders under the age of 30 delivered a historic win for Mexico in the $290,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the USA, then proceeded to jump in the Palm Beach Masters pond, boots and all. It was the stuff fairytales are made of.
Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) is no stranger to success at the Palm Beach Masters, but his 2020 win with Nocha de Ronda in the $213,300 Longines Grand Prix CSIO5* was one for the books. It was a 1.65m course. It was Ward’s third 5* Grand Prix win in a month. And it was Nocha de Ronda’s second 5* grand prix win of the week! #HeroStatusAchieved
Israel’s Dani G. Waldman and her partner of just over a month, Queensland E, took the win in the $300,000 CSI5* CP Palm Beach Masters Final in 2020. Little did they know, it’d be the last Grand Prix in the country for months to come and the last ever at the Palm Beach Masters.
RIP Palm Beach Masters Series. #ForeverInOurHearts