The Winter Equestrian Festival winds down this week, drawing to a close the most tumultuous horse season anyone can remember. It’s been exhausting.

For the better part of four months, anyone affiliated with anything horsy has been on a nonstop roller-coaster ride of threats, public clashes, deadly viruses and lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits. And somewhere in the midst of it all, horses managed to jump around a ring. Did anyone out there get a chance to enjoy that part of it?

“Despite the virus, despite the litigation, despite the lack of room for stabling, the show went on – and very successfully,” said Dean Turney, executive director of the Wellington Equestrian Alliance. “It’s amazing.”

Turney, who had hosted a meeting celebrating the 10th anniversary of the alliance Thursday, punctuated almost every sentence with “I really need sleep.”

Show jumping concluded Sunday. Dressage, which is exhibition riding in which horses are put through some difficult paces, concludes March 25. Polo continues until April 22.

But there’s time for more upheaval before it all ends.

Friday, rumors persisted that Stadium Jumping, producer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, intends to move its world-renowned shows from the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club to Section 34, which is property that hangs off Wellington’s south end like a tail.

Section 34 was bought in July 2004 by The Wellington Preserve Corp., which paid $55 million for the property south of Lake Worth Road and west of State Road 7.

Several people had expected Stadium Jumping to announce the move Friday morning, but no announcement came.

“I cannot confirm that as this time,” said Mason Phelps Jr., spokesman for Stadium Jumping.

But Phelps said the company could disclose its new location as early as next week. It’s likely that Stadium Jumping will move from its current location on Pierson Road and South Shore Boulevard, he said. In early March, the company released a sketch of a new 170-acre state-of-the-art horse-show facility.

“We think it’s fabulous,” Phelps said.

However, Mark Bellissimo, who intends to buy the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club and make it the center of a multimillion-dollar horse-centric development, said he has a contract with Stadium Jumping that prevents the shows from moving.

“I fundamentally believe the horse shows will be here,” Bellissimo said. “We have a contract. We believe the contract is very strong. Bottom line: They will have an extraordinary damage suit hanging over their heads.”

Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge David Crow refused to grant Bellissimo an injunction in January to stop Stadium Jumping from shopping for a new location. Stadium Jumping has a lease with Palm Beach Polo owner Glenn Straub that expires in December 2008.

Bellissimo, meanwhile, is locked in litigation with both Straub and Stadium Jumping. Bellissimo said he moved here from Boston to be closer to the horse shows because his wife and children compete.

“Hopefully the combination of the virus and the lawsuits will be behind everyone next year,” Bellissimo said. “My biggest disappointment is that the great aura was compromised a little bit. People come here to forget their problems.”

But Wellington was ground zero for problems this equestrian season, starting Nov. 28 when Stadium Jumping Inc., the company that produces the Winter Equestrian Festival and the prestigious National Horse Show, threatened to move.

The move sent Stadium Jumping hurtling into the courtroom with Bellissimo, who has an option to buy the showgrounds from Straub. Without the shows in that spot, Bellissimo’s development, called the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, loses considerable cache.

In December, while the whole will-they-or-won’t they-move situation brewed, horses in Wellington began to die from the contagious equine herpes virus, which travels through the air.

The virus spread as far as Ocala before it was contained. Most horse owners in Wellington joined a voluntary quarantine and kept horses at home. By the time it was over, 13 horses were diagnosed with the virus. Six died.

Once the virus was out of the way, it was time for more lawsuits, with three filed on the same day, Feb 9. Bellissimo sued Straub, Straub sued Bellissimo, and Stadium Jumping sued Bellissimo. All the suits centered around the fate of the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club.

By March, Stadium Jumping’s threats to move had angered property owners who bought along the edge of the showgrounds. Those owners formed an organization called The Equestrians’ Preservation Society.

The society issued a news release Thursday saying that most equestrians in Wellington favor the showgrounds remaining on the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club.

“The Equestrians’ Preservation Society remains committed to working with all parties involved to preserve and expand the Wellington showgrounds,” the group said in a statement issued Friday.