By Britney Grover
For most horse lovers, the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida, is a dream come true. Many remember the first time they heard the concept of the state-of-the-art equestrian center, with its beautiful hotel overlooking the Grand Prix ring. Vinnie Card certainly remembers—he heard it straight from owner Mr. Roberts, asking Vinnie if he would come on board as Director of Operations. “It all started with one phone call and a conversation with Mr. Roberts about building an equestrian center like never seen before, and to this day we are still growing and expanding,” Vinnie said.
Vinnie grew up in a town of fewer than 700 people, with parents who have now been married for over 50 years and a younger brother who went into the oil and gas industry. “I was blessed to have grown up with great friends and neighbors, where everyone was around to help if needed,” he said. He started his career in the horse show world doing whatever he could to learn about the industry; his first horse show was in Ocala in the winter of 1999, and from there he traveled throughout the country working with shows coast to coast. “And it’s taken me right back to where I started: Ocala, Florida, home of the World Equestrian Center,” he said.
Photo by Andrew Ryback
What’s your favorite thing about being part of the horse world?
The people and all the friendships I’ve been able to make thus far in my career.
If you weren’t involved with the horse world, what career do you think you would have picked?
I would probably be an electrical engineer or an astronaut.
If you had a week off, what would you do?
Find a nice quiet beach to relax on, and enjoy the sun and a good book after a morning run.
Where is your favorite place you have been?
I would say snorkeling in Belize was a great trip I went on years ago.
Where would you like to go but haven’t?
I would like to go to the Monaco Grand Prix—not for horses, but cars! The Formula One race in Monaco would be a place I would like to go but haven’t been yet, and next on my list would be Switzerland.
What would be the best gift in the world?
Do you have a personal motto or catch phrase?
I would say my motto is when people say, “We have a problem,” to always say, “We always have a solution.” My catchphrase would come from my favorite hockey player, Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Who inspires you?
My dad inspires me to work hard every day and to find the positive in every situation, no matter what it is. And the Roberts family inspires me to always do what’s best for the horses.
What talents do you feel you have?
I would say some of my talents are playing baseball, hockey, competing in triathlons and my latest talent I am working on is learning to play the guitar.
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
My On Clouds running shoes
Favorite type of pizza?
My favorite toppings are bacon, peperoni, green peppers and mushrooms—believe it or not, it tastes pretty good.
What three things can always be found in your refrigerator?
Chocolate milk, salad fixings and bacon. And the most important thing is in the freezer: ice cream.
What’s something people don’t know about you?
I have a passion for old cars and trucks.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
I think everyone should try to skydive at least once. I have jumped a few times.
If you could tell every rider one thing, what would it be?
I would tell them to come show at WEC and enjoy the facilities: seven restaurants, events, The Equestrian five-star hotel, an on-site vet clinic, along with a 27-hole golf course next door at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. World Equestrian Center–Ocala is more than just a horse show.