Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A day at WEF - 2016 Global Dressage Festival

Last weekend, hubby and I took a long weekend in Florida. My big request was to go to the Friday Night Freestyle at WEF - I've never been to Wellington, and there were something like forty-three Grand Prix riders, including Laura Graves and Michael Klimke. Plus, I have this secret desire to go ride in the National (USDF) classes at WEF one day, and I wanted to scope out the facilities.

Suboptimal weather for WEF

Alas, the weather didn't cooperate. We landed in Miami to grey skies and rain. I started snapping pics as soon as we drove past the Wellington city limits -  there is literally not a blade of grass out of place there. Unfortunately, all the fanciest places are in gated communities, so we could only see the entrances.


Plebians like us are not allowed.

Despite all the fanciness, there's apparently a problem with zombies in Wellington. 

The dressage area of WEF was beyond gorgeous. The arenas were meticulously maintained and had Paddy's favorite waxed sand/felt footing. In addition to the FEI show ring, there was the FEI warmup arena, three covered warmup arenas, and three arenas for the National classes. 

PSG ride in the FEI arena.

National arenas

THREE covered warmup arenas.

There were lots of vendor pavilions, but unfortunately due to the weather, most of the vendors weren't around. My poor hubby was particularly bummed, because he'd wanted to try out some Custom Saddlery saddles, but the saddler wasn't there. Our bank account is safe for a little longer!

Absolutely NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING GOLF CARTS. Seriously, they fine you.

We watched a few PSG tests, watched other riders practicing (first time I've ever seen rollkur in person), and then wandered around for a bit to scope out the barns. Did you know that FEI barns are quarantine zones? You needed a wristband to get in, which we obviously didn't have. So I couldn't go smooch Verdades' nose or anything. Bummer.

 
FEI barn stall (but outside of the quarantine area)

Fancy topiaries are a Thing.

We were getting hungry and the weather was looking even more sketchy, so we decided to leave the showgrounds and get lunch. From the window of our restaurant, we watched this squall line blow in:

This storm line spawned something like 5 tornadoes.

After lunch (and the storm, which fortunately only caused a few downed limbs where we were), we headed over to the On Course Consignment Shop, which was highly recommended by Lauren. There, we proceeded to spend 2 hours shopping for Things.

ALL THE THINGS.

I did not buy these beautiful Petrie boots. Fortunately they were just a little too short and too wide - and at $950, probably not that much of a deal.

I have no idea why my husband was looking at shads.

Believe it or not, we didn't buy a single thing in that store. Nothing. There were a few items I was looking for, but the didn't have them. The bank account breathed another sign of relief.

After shopping, we decided to take a nap in the car since we'd been up since 3 am. We caught some z's, then got some sushi for dinner, and headed back to the show... only to find this sign:

NOOOOOOOOOO!

Because of the tornadoes and rain, they cancelled everything at WEF Friday night. Everything. I won't lie, I was pretty disappointed. However, we walked over to the barns just in case there was anything going on, and were treated to a few minutes of Michael Klimke riding his GP horse in a snaffle. 

No really, that's him. Promise.

I especially liked how he finished his ride with a nice, forward trot and canter on a long rein, with lots of big pats for a job well done. You are an inspiration, sir.

Given that everything was cancelled, we headed back to the car to drive to our hotel. In the parking lot, we saw this little guy:

A fox!

So while it wasn't how we expected or hoped our day at WEF would end, it was fun nonetheless. I can't wait to go back!

31 comments:

  1. Glad you were safe. Stinks about the show though.

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    1. Yeah... oh well, we'll just have to go back next year. :)

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  2. Sorry you missed out, although seeing Michael Klimke sounds like a treat. Well done not buying all the things! :D

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    1. Klimke was definitely the highlight!

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  3. Still a super cool experience, sad that the show was canceled :(

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  4. aw bummer about the cancelled show - seems like you soaked up as much atmosphere as possible tho (punny? kinda? lolz). also, i love those petrie boots - and 'too short and too wide' sounds about perfect for me, but alas, the price tag does not...

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    1. The Petrie boots were prettier in person... top was blue and white crystals. Drool. Alas, if I'm getting boots that cost that much, they're going to fit perfectly.

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  5. Nuts. At least now you can say you've been and act superior about it? Haha.

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  6. The FL weather is so unpredictable. :( I want to compete at WEF some day too.

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    1. Same as Texas weather, although we generally don't get tornadoes in January!

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  7. Oh come on! I thought everybody was going to FL BECAUSE of the weather! PAH! what a bummer! and no shopping as compensation?! Is there no God?

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    1. Well we DID shop, we just didn't buy anything!

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  8. For the show being cancelled, that's quite a lot of excitement!

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    1. I would gladly have exchanged tornado excitement for freestyle excitement.

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  9. Despite the no texting rule, people in golf carts should be regarded with caution. I almost got hit when I went last year. Fear the golf cart.

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    1. Golf cart drivers are dangerous, for sure!

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  10. I love it! What a great adventure, but I totally get the disappointing stuff. When we were in London, the concierge told us that shows never sell out so it would be fine to just show up and get tickets at the door. We showed up to War Horse only to find that tickets were indeed SOLD OUT. I was crushed. I ultimately saw it in LA, but to see it in London would have been very cool.

    Glad you guys were to see what you did. Still a great experience. :0)

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    1. Oh man, WHAT!?!? SOLD OUT!?!?! NOOOOO! That's awful. I'm glad you got to see it, even if it wasn't in London!

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  11. Stupid weather! This just means you'll have to go back soon.

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  12. I used to want to live in Wellington. But maybe not after seeing those storms

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  13. I worked in Wellington for summer when I was in college. The trainer I worked with offered me a permanent job with her (she was from Pennsylvania), which would have included lodging & training with Kacey as part of my salary.

    Most regrettable decision I ever made in order to "stay in school"... *shakes*head* That was one of the best summers of my life, though...

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    1. Oh man, the stories you must have from that! Bummer about not taking the job, but I suppose we must adult sometimes. :(

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    3. Adulting is totally not what it's cracked up to be. :-P
      I'm really sad that I didn't keep in touch with her, as I don't even remember her name now. But I do remember how amazing the horses were and the different attitudes of the riders. ;) To some, I was a "friend" and to others, I was just the stall mucker. But yeah, some great memories, regardless!

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