The Winter Equestrian Festival is a twelve week horse show that starts in the beginning of January and runs through mid April just outside the West Palm Beach area in the small town of Wellington. During this time the town is overrun with horse people, from golf carts and horses on the streets to people in breeches being a norm at the local grocery store.
During my first trip to Wellington, it took me a few days to adjust to the atmosphere. The barns are more glamorous than most people's homes, with chandeliers hanging in the aisles and large oak stalls with intricate detail. You drive past beautiful farm after beautiful farm and then you arrive at the largest horse show facility in the country. There are 12 show rings running every Wednesday through Sunday, the average class has between 50-100 competitors and the divisions they are filled with the top riders from all over the world.
This year we brought down four horses, Frontier, Vox, Circus Life, and Red Sky. These four horses are all what you refer to as hunters. For the more novice horse people, hunters are judged on their style and grace. These horses are to be beautiful, to jump with ease, and in good style. They should look like they want to be doing what they are doing. The hunters are very competitive at WEF. Three years ago I was beside myself to be third place at such a large show. I am happy to say this trip to WEF was the most successful thus far. With only four horses and two weeks of showing we came home with two wins, and a bunch of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th please finishes as well. All of our horses came home with a 4th or better, and when you are competing with the best of the best and at the biggest show in the country you can't help but feel great about that. It was a great test for our horses and riders.
In addition to having great success while we were there, we also brought home a new amazing horse. We cannot congratulate Lauren Robishaw enough for her purchase of Garcia. He is beautiful and currently ranked 2nd in the country in the Regular Confirmation Hunters. His new name will be Bon Vivant which meaning is similar to living the good life, and we will call him Beau for short. We are all very excited to have another amazing animal in our program at Freedom Woods and cannot wait to be apart of his success with his new partner Lauren Robishaw.
Overall we had a great trip to Wellington and we sure enjoyed missing some of the Chicago winter. It was a great way to kick off the 2014 show season but now we are looking forward to the spring and continued success this season!