Spectating at WEF

Hi all! I’ve searched/read previous threads on this topic, but haven’t found the answers to all my questions.

've been gifted a trip down to Wellington to spectate at WEF. My dad and stepmom will be joining me (both are horsey enough to understand basic hunter/jumper rules/points/etc but not super knowledgeable). They’re leaving it up to me to plan the itinerary, and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions/pointers.

  • I’m planning to go on a week that has a 5*- I briefly debated going for WCHR week, but I think it’ll be more fun for all of us to see the 5*.
  • Do I need tickets to the Grand Prix on Saturday night?
  • We’ll have a rental car, but I’ve heard parking at PBIEC (at least on Saturdays) is at a premium. I believe I saw someone mention a satellite lot with a shuttle to the grounds? Is this a thing? If so, where is it? Is all we have to do park and hop on the shuttle, or are there tickets/reservations for that?
  • I know there’s a lot of (expensive) shopping. Is it all centrally located some place or is it spread throughout the grounds?
  • What are dining options at the park? Are there quick, snack bar-like places? Any cool sit down restaurants on property we should try?
  • I read that staying near the airport and driving into Wellington is probably our best bet. Can anyone confirm this? What is the commute like from the airport to the grounds?
  • Is there an app or something with the prize list/schedules, maps, etc?
  • I heard something about a golf cart (?) tour of barns in the area- can anyone confirm? If so, how can I arrange this?

I’m sure I’ll think of some more questions- I’m a little overwhelmed (and excited!) by it all. I’m open to any and all suggestions, from restaurant recs in the Wellington area, to things to do at the park, to any other fun, local things to do.

Thanks!

You don’t need tickets for Saturday night unless you want to sit in the VIP tent. There is no admission fee on Saturday night, although there is a $20 parking fee per car. I’m not sure if they charge the parking fee in the shuttle lot.

I don’t know if they are running the shuttle these days due to Covid concerns. In past years, the shuttle parking was down on the corner of Pierson and South Shore at the Global Dressage facility. I don’t think it ever required tickets or reservations for the shuttle, but again, I don’t know if it’s changed due to Covid. There are also occasional hunter and jumper classes at Global depending on which week you go.

There is a main row of vendors at the show grounds near the show office, with some additional vendors parked near the barns and several more set up near the show rings. Bring a healthy credit card and good walking shoes. Lol.

There are also several good stores within a few miles of the show grounds like the Tackeria and a big Dover store.

There are several places scattered around the grounds to grab a bite to eat. I would not think of any of them as exactly fancy sit down places, but you certainly won’t go hungry.

The airport is about half an hour away from the horse show, depending on traffic. On a good day, it might take a little less than that.

I am not aware of any official golf cart tours around the neighborhood, but if you rent a golf cart, you could certainly drive around on your own. Or if you know someone there who can give you a tour, that would be even better. There are golf carts available for rent at the show.

The horse show website will give you a lot of information about the schedule, the entries, and the estimated times for various classes. And you can select the different shows at the top of the page.

As far as other local attractions, Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee is fun. They have tons and tons of animals in a drive through park, and you can get very close to them in your car. There is also a place to see manatees in the ocean called Manatee Lagoon, which is not too far from the airport. You’re more likely to see manatees in cold weather, since they hang out by the power plant to warm up when it’s chilly.

It’s definitely worth taking a look at the weather forecast before you go. Depending on when you’re there, you might need a few extra layers. It never hurts to bring riding gear to Wellington, just in case. And for sure, always bring a raincoat!

Have fun. :slight_smile:

I’d plan on going twice to the show; once during the day and once to the Grand Prix. The majority of the horse item vendors are scattered around the show grounds and they close after about 4 PM, depending on the class schedule that day. The only vendors open during the Grand Prix are going to be the non-horse vendors up by the main arena. There’s a map online so you can plan on your route, the grounds are large.

Go to the tackeria, it’s very close to the show grounds. On course consignment can be fun for looking for some deals. There’s also Tack N Rider, which has mainly European stock (and is too expensive for my wallet), Tato’s (Polo), Dover (just a regular dover store). Also, a bunch of companies have their American HQ there, so if you are looking for a specific product it’s probably there. CWD, Prestige, Devoucoux, Dressage Connection, Equiline, the list goes on. Some of these places have a storefront with stuff to buy, some of them don’t.

Depending on what week you go they may have competition going on at the Global Dressage Festival. There are more vendors over there, and going to see the grand prix (IIRC it’s on Friday, so you can do both grand prix events) is a lot of fun.

Thanks for the suggestions!

It sounds like we’ll be going for WCHR week (WEF 6) after all, which is fine- I love watching a great hunter round!

That said, I would very much like to watch a Grand Prix/big jumper class as well. @StormyDay, you mentioned there could be a Grand Prix class on Friday as well. How can I tell when/where there might be one that week? I just glanced at the prize list for the main show, but I assume there’s a separate prize list for anything at a different venue. I assume there’ll be at least one big class elsewhere while the hunters take over PBIEC?

The main jumper classes move down the street to the Global facility during WCHR week. It’s still the same show, spread out over two locations.

The online schedule for WCHR week has a $140,000 Grand Prix on Sunday down on the corner.

The Saturday night hunter class is very fun to watch. Just be prepared for a relatively late night by horse show standards. There are usually quite a few entries in it, plus a second round and lots of awards.

The Friday Grand Prix is Grand Prix dressage. Sorry for the confusion

Yes, it is Grand Prix Freestyle (to music) on Fridays.

It’s in the main prize list - when you look at the schedule for that week, anything listed as “Derby Field” is at Global, but it is literally just a couple blocks away (still easiest to drive over though). It’s confusing until you get there and get your bearings, but you can absolutely just wander around PBIEC and figure it out. The walkway by the International Ring (the one you see on the GP livestreams) is elevated and you can look out over the grounds and see the vendor area in the back, plus there are vendors along the sidewalks in that main area too. I think the big 4* and 5* jumper weeks are the best for spectating, but that doesn’t mean WCHR week won’t be fun to see, and frankly just being there is fun. Tackeria is on the corner across from Global, definitely make a stop there too. The Hunter Spectacular class is just one stunning horse after another, you will enjoy it. But plan to start your day on Sunday at the Derby field for the U25 class and the 3* GP!

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Well, it’s at least a mile, probably a bit more so best with a golf cart.

:rofl: :rofl: You skip a year visiting, and suddenly a mile seems like just a couple blocks LOL! In any event that explains why I always drive over when I visit my friends who are showing there!

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I don’t know why but in my head, WEF, Global, and the Tackeria are like within a few blocks of each other. And then every year when I go, I’m like ‘who built all this stuff in the way!?!’

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Thanks for everyone’s input! I’m still taking suggestions/advice if anyone wants to add anything :heart:

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Other thoughts for you: COVID doesn’t exist in florida. I just got over it myself so I was not too worried but if that had not been the case I probably would have wanted an N95 for most of the shopping and the night class. It’s close quarters and there aren’t any seating restrictions for social distancing. Two years of it has apparently given me some anxiety about crowds of people, so I ended up leaving halfway through the first round to go watch from the warmup which I highly recommend. Watching the top level people warm horses up was very cool, less people around, and they have a big screen showing the class to the warmup ring, so you can watch the class on that.