Helgstrand Dressage USA is an idea that makes perfect sense: Why should people have to travel to Europe to buy top quality horses, adding the cost of airfare and hotels to the price of the animals?

That was the thinking of Danish entrepreneur Andreas Helgstrand when he bought the former Windsome Farms, just around a couple of corners and a short canter from Wellington, Florida’s, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the Equestrian Village, home of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, where his sales horses often are featured as half-time entertainment during evening competitions.

The property was listed for $25 million but sold to Helgstrand for $17,450,000 in January 2020. It was good timing; the sale came only two months before the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. People weren’t going to be doing a lot of traveling to buy horses ‒ or anything else ‒ for the foreseeable future at that point, which meant the deal was even better than it looked on paper.

“We are probably the biggest stable in the world with top dressage horses right now,” commented Andreas. He emphasized that the horses he brings across the Atlantic ocean to Florida are as good as what prospective buyers can see at his base outposts in Denmark and Germany “so people don’t have to fly to Europe to find the good ones.

The fountain in the courtyard at Helgstrand Dressage USA (Photo © 2022 by Nancy Jaffer)


“Before, people thought always, ‘Oh, they are only bringing the second [division] horses,’ but that is not the truth. We are also sending the really good ones,” he said. He wants people who shop at the Florida stable, which stands a beckoning bright white in the tropical sun, to feel as if they have gone to Europe in terms of the prospects they are viewing. The horses at the stable range from four-year-olds up to Grand Prix.

When he thought of starting a major sales facility in Wellington, people told Andreas, “`Don’t do, don’t do, because you will never win on this, you cannot get it done.’

“But I said, `Why do we not bring the horse to the customers? I wanted to test myself one time,” Andreas commented about his decision to go with the project.

“I think it’s only a question about having the right horses, good enough horses, and have a very good after-sales service.

“It must be 10 times easier (for customers) to go down the road with their trainer, try the horses as many times as you want and sleep in your own bed. Test the horse and then buy it. I was thinking it was so strange that nobody else did it on that scale before. But they always said it was not possible and now we see it works good.”

Helgstrand Dressage USA is set on 80 acres, though Andreas said he is selling 35 acres because there is already is more than enough space for paddocks, lots of room to ride on a three-mile trail with good footing, a covered arena with a view of the palm trees and an outdoor arena just a few steps from it.

There has been great interest in the complex and earlier this year an estimated 1,800 people came out for an open house featuring demonstrations by Andreas and his partner, German show jumping superstar Ludger Beerbaum, as well as hospitality featuring Danish and German food and wine. It reflected the same sort of approach as in the Helgstrand European properties.

Andreas is quite an entrepreneur, with a solid base as a rider and trainer, becoming the head master rider at the Blue Hors breeding, competition and training facility in 2002, succeeding Lars Petersen.

Lars had brought Andreas to Blue Hors and in an interesting twist, Andreas has tapped the Florida-based Lars and his wife, Melissa Taylor, to take over general management of the Wellington site.

“It’s almost like a circle coming back,” mused Lars.

Asked whether he had any realization of Andreas as an entrepreneur in the early days of their relationship, Lars replied, “I didn’t know he could do this. I knew he was a really good rider. What he has done is amazing. He’s a very down-to-earth guy. He has a vision and isn’t afraid of taking a risk.”

Andreas Helgstrand on Blue Hors Matiné at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, where they won silver in the freestyle. (Photo © 2006 by Nancy Jaffer)

Andreas gained international prominence with a silver medal on the marvelous Blu Hors Matiné in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen. Two years later, in his second Olympics, it was team bronze at the Games in Hong Kong on Blue Hors Don Schufro. In 2008, he started Helgstrand Dressage in Europe. The concept has been solid gold in more ways than one; Helgstrand and his wife, Marianne, also have branched into a jewelry company bearing their name.

But the biggest step came last year when the Global Equestrian Group, of which Andreas is CEO, bought the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, home of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Andreas and his partners continue to make news. This week, it was announced that GEG has purchased Gold Coast Feed, as well as show management and streaming provider Showgrounds Live. Next will be an announcement of new branding for PBIEC and then, a five-year plan for the property. And you can bet that soon GEG will buy the Equestrian Village, too, which also will be a big headline.

As the Helgstrand Dressage facility develops, Andreas sees it as “a very high performance place, where the best riders can go and get help,” in addition to sales.

“Andreas’ dream is to make it an even bigger sales place than it is now and also have some really top training (and education) here together with that,” said Lars, who will be developing some of the sales horses, in addition to showing them and teaching.

He sees one advantage of the property in the amount of space it provides in contrast to some other farms in Wellington where there are “30 or 50 horses on seven acres and if you want to go out, you have to go on the road.”

As Ulf Möller, Helgstrand’s international general manager observed, “On this property, everything is so wide and open so you can offer the horses a lot of different things. You can ride on the grass, in the jumping field, in the indoor; it’s a good thing to entertain the horses a little bit. They see someone cantering or jumping, so they are a little fresher in their mind. We want to bring this place on a higher level in quality of training. This is really a dressage center where everywhere you look, you’ll see good dressage riding.”

You can see the palms from the covered arena, where sales horses are often displayed. (Photo © 2022 by Nancy Jaffer)


He mentioned bringing over top European riders such as Catherine Dufour and Isabell Werth of Germany for a week “to give a little bit fresh input; they can mix a little bit between vacation and training.”

Asked about the differences among customers in the U.S. and Europe, he said that in America, “So-called adult amateurs accept a little bit older horse than they would in Europe. That’s an advantage, because we can find a nice 12-year-old coming 13, which is what people like to buy here (in the U.S.), so people can learn from the horses. In Europe, people think if a horse is 12, it’s out. Here if it’s under 10, they say, `Oh, it’s too young.'”

In the big picture for Wellington, Andreas is well-focused on the showgrounds. Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions that oversees PBIEC, said of Andreas, “His vision is to develop the best venue in the world. We know we have a very good venue, but it’s a bit old and tired. He and GEG are committed in investing to really turning it into something special, to rival Aachen and Spruce [Meadows].”

Asked to characterize Andreas, Michael said, “He’s one of those people who has massive energy, he wants to get things done; sometimes maybe on a time scale we can’t manage, but he understands that, he listens. I think the key to a great leader is someone who can listen, but also has the drive to make things happen.”

Work already has been done on a number of items at PBIEC, including footing and fencing. More is on the way, but Michael noted it has to be fitted in around 40 weeks of showing. He cited “great synergies” between the Helgstrand sales site and the showgrounds, optimum for bouncing ideas off each other.

Spencer Brittan riding in the palm-shaded outdoor arena. (Photo © 2022 by Nancy Jaffer)


“Because Andreas has his staff and horses here, he gets a lot of feedback. He’s a very clever guy and a great listener,” Michael observed.

Asked whether he would consider the idea of hosting a world championship (or perhaps even a WEG) in Wellington, Andreas responded, “Why not?”

Ludger’s base, the Riesenbeck International Equestrian Centre, hosted the Longines European Show Jumping Championships last year and is slated to host the Longines European Dressage and Para Dressage championships next year.

The problem in Wellington is that PBIEC is a Rolex-sponsored site, while the FEI world championships are sponsored by Longines, another watchmaker, though that was worked out for the Tryon, NC, WEG in 2018.

Michael thinks a major championship is within the realm of possibility for Wellington.

“I’m sure the world is realizing that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have such a situation where the FEI dictates from a sponsorship point of view where a championship can go. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I don’t see other sports doing that.”

Asked about the importance of the new ownership, Michael said, “The nice thing is having a global group behind us now where we can get the best ideas from Europe, the top riders like Ludger. The future is really bright.”


Horses can look out over their stall doors at the stable. Note the slanting roof to keep the sun off. (Photo © 2022 by Nancy Jaffer)