So what would be the events in the WEX Games?
"I think every equestrian sport is in decline.
"It’s expensive and we need to figure ways to lower costs, make it much more spectator friendly.
“The problem is with equestrian sport people are so fascinated by their own sport.”
ummm what??? Equestrian sport is on the rise first of all. This guy is more delusional than I thought.
Gladiator Polo? Doesn’t seem like that would become the next big thing that has people getting involved “at a lower cost”, but what do I know…
Gladiator Polo is another one of Mark’s EPIC FAILS.
Say what you will about him, but he has figured out a way to draw a LOT of spectators every Saturday night during WEF. And lots of them are not horse show people watching their friends and relatives. They are actual spectators. I’m amazed by it on the rare occasions I go for the night classes.
I don’t know if he will be able to do the same thing in Tryon, but I never would have expected to see so many people coming to watch in Wellington.
I’m not really familiar with either area but isn’t the Tryon area a little more out in the boondocks than is Wellington, as far as driving distance for an evenings entertainment?
They are drawing good crowds to the Tryon Saturday Night Lights as well - lots of locals come out for the free entertainment and family activities. It definitely has drawn more than just the horse crowd.
He also got the stands full every Friday night in Wellington to watch Dressage Freestyles. I sat among a lot of people who were not dressage enthusiasts, but were enjoying watching the show. That is, as long as it was free. As soon as he started charging even the small fee of $10 or 20/car (I don’t know which it is), poof! Only the die hards were there again. I don’t know the solution, but it was nice to have people discover and enjoy dressage…
We paid $20 last year for parking. One year we just stayed on the grounds though between the show and the freestyle. Didn’t have to pay then.
the most amazing horse sport I’ve watched that has the sort of “x game” feel to it is probably the Pony Club mounted games. Those kids are crazy and fearless and those ponies take no prisoners. LOL
I am not MB’s number one fan, but one of the best times I have ever had at a horse show was on a Saturday night at WEF. I was there on business and went alone to watch the Grand Prix. Ended up making friends with all the people standing near me - a couple non-horsey people and a harness racing lifer from the area. Very cool to see the sport through other people’s eyes!
I had a similar experience one year when I went to watch the hunter night class during WCHR week, and the non-horse people next to me didn’t understand why the jumps were so much lower that Saturday. So I explained the difference to them.
Interesting. I think without talking to USEF, USDF, USHJA and looking to the ECE to think that equestrian sport is still blooming and growing may be a bit of a reach. Like many activities that are costly equestrian overall, not just competition, but all horse use, is seeing a pinch. The breeding market is recovering from the 2008 hit…but…in reality it has shrunk. Riders and their expectation level has changed. The trainers and support people (think farriers, etc.) too. If Mr. Bellisimo and his crew can draw more attention, make it more affordable and interesting to spectator and equine enthusiast, I don’t think that is bad. Thinking out of the box is needed…and yes, not all plans are met to full expectation of the planner…but the opportunity to share our sport (which is highly varied) our recreation and our enjoyment of our equine partner brings more to the table to join in. I think it is good!
That article has most of us here in the Foothills shaking our heads.
Saturday Night Lights and Gladiator Polo draw decent crowds for TIEC. Every day of the week, non-horse people are wandering through the grounds. Bringing new faces in to appreciate horses is never a bad thing in my book.
But no one around here needed saving.