WEF – General Observations Around the Show

WEF – General Observations Around the Show

When I go visit WEF, I generally creep around with my camera.  Usually I talk to no one, and just walk, watch, listen and shoot.

Of course there are exceptions, like the time that I took so many pictures of these two horses that their grooms heard my camera clicking, stood up, fixed their shirts and said “I’m ready for my closeup baby!”  Oui.


So through my stalking around the horse show, I try to pick up a few things.  A lot of it is tack and attire oriented, which I share on the blog through themed posts with lots of pictures.  Some of it is just random though, so I thought I’d dump those random thoughts here today.


Backpacks.  Every rider has a horse show backpack.  Every.  One.  Usually something like this Grand Prix one.  It’s probably because they have a zillion horses and are always moving from ring to ring, but now I want a backpack to bring to the ring ask my husband to hold to keep my gloves, water, snacks, hair nets, etc.  Do I really need one?  Probably not for $100, but I do see how they can be useful.


Tears. Poor sportsmanship is not a myth.  Literally within ten seconds of stepping foot at the show on Sunday, I saw a pony with a 3rd place ribbon on its bridle and a small kid on top.  Said small kid was bawling and though I didn’t witness the class, I don’t think she was crying because the pony next to her in line up became rabid and bit her on the face.


Friendliness. Good sportsmanship is not a myth either.  After I shot about a million photos in the big eq ring, a teenager approached me and asked who I shot for.  When I replied I just did it for fun, she said how much she loved pictures and asked if I could take a photo of her and her friend by the ring.  I did, and she was extremely thankful and gave me her email address.  I asked if she won the class, and she laughed and said no she wished!  I inquired about her eq horse’s markings so I could keep an eye out for him when I edited photos later, and she was just very friendly and appreciative of my time.


Shenanigans. If your cell phone falls out of your pocket while showing, the jump crew will pick it up for you.  Now I’m not sure what kind of call you’re expecting while jumping a meter adult class… but hey, good to know.


CriticismTrainers there aren’t always all fun and games.  Winning riders mean business, and some will chew you out for doing poorly.  I watched a big eq rider have a fantastic course, and then let her horse swap leads twice after the last jump.  That did not go over super well with her trainer, who came up to her later and promptly asked what was she thinking?

Head gear. There were fewer GPA helmets at the show than any other brand.  First time in four years that I’ve noticed this.


Excess. Again, there is so much wealth at WEF.  By the big eq ring I sat next to some teenagers talking.  When one was asked how many horses she had, she answered “3 at WEF.  More at home but one is being bred right now, and going to Europe to shop for a few imports soon.”  It was stated very matter-of-factly.  Must be nice!


Grooming. Finally, know that myth about not clipping in the spring?  Well when your horse is turned out for a few hours a day with a fly sheet on and also bathed daily, it doesn’t really matter.  Many top barns will body clip their horses every two to three weeks even in the summer.  Some of these imported warmbloods carry more coat, and since they work so hard in hot temperatures they want to keep them as cool as possible.  Can you imagine… ever two to three weeks?!  I think I’d die!

35 thoughts on “WEF – General Observations Around the Show

  1. When I worked for the jumper barn in Ocala, we were body clipping most of them around once a month. It’s amazing how fast you can actually get it done, especially when they are clipped that often. Despite that, I was still pretty happy when I got to where I was riding more, grooming less, and didn’t have to worry much about the clipping. Love all of the pictures by the way!

  2. I’m totally organizing a horse show back pack! Why didn’t I think of that?? I mean, I’m a backpacker… Duh! LOL

  3. Love this post! Fortunately for me The Boy packs a ring side bag for me 🙂 water, chapstick, emergency snacks, extra gloves, camera… he’s a pro. I think a Boy with a bag is way better than just a bag 😉

    And more often than not – I end up showing with my phone in my pocket.. usually because I wander around in breeches all day with it and just forget to take it out when I get on. I have totally had panic attacks about it falling out over a fence, or seeing that dreaded iphone shape poking out during an Eq class…. Not my classiest move, but a common one! oops.

  4. Your post reminds me of how much I love horse shows, I really need to go more often. Especially now that I have a good camera…
    I’m curious what some of these people would say about my super-furry horse, with the winter temperatures here he really gets a lot of fur and I don’t clip at all. Why clip him and then put on a blanket, I never quite got the logic of that 🙂 It’s only good for the tack shop. I don’t mind that I have to dry him after training.
    But I guess Texas is a different thing 🙂 Greetings from Poland!

    1. Well when your horse grows a winter coat and you work it to a sweat often, it can be quite unhealthy for the horse to be that damp in the chill. Plus if your horse normally grows a thick coat and you are showing in warmer client than it’s used to, it’s kinder to clip them!

  5. Most of my friends do the back lack thing. A lot of times we are stabled so far away that it is better to have extra spurs, crop, etc with you bc there’s not time to run back. I’m not a back pack kinda girl I guess. USEF used to have a rule that you were not allowed to have a phone on you while mounted. Did that change? Hmmm I will have to check.

  6. Love these posts. What a different part of the horse world… I can’t even imagine having a groom much less being able to go to Europe for a horse!

  7. The backpack for the ringside looks like a great idea. I think as an eventer we have much less need because it is usually one and done unless your like BDJ and riding a zillion horses in one show. But, for a hunter/jumper show I would totally want one!

    Love all the pictures and the posts!

  8. I usualyl use a small bucket for my show supplies – for the groom (aka friend or husband) can carry.

    Laughing at the shenanigans……of course their cell phones fall out lol

  9. One of my college buds was a pro groomer for quite a long time…. and oh the tales she had about bratty kids and their ponies, and how most of those ribbons won were promptly tossed in the trash!

  10. I have a small grooming tote that I use as a ring-side bag…err, rather, my husband uses. Like this one. Hmm, maybe now I “need” a backpack…you know, so it’s more manly. lol!

    Love these posts! I only have 1 show season under my belt so I love to see how others are doing it on a wider scale.

  11. It is so funny, when I was a kid showing ponies (20ish years ago) my mom always had a backpack ring side. She said it beat carrying a bucket or small grooming box, it kept her hands free to help me. I of course was horrified by the backpack. Now I guess she was a trend setter, who would have thought!

  12. Ahh! I’m obsessing over all the Welly posts!!! I’m guessing that the top helmets included samshields (drool) and Charles Owens? Keep up the great work 🙂

  13. I can definitely see what you mean by all the wealth just by these pictures… Alessandro Albanese, Hermes belts, and Parlantis everywhere… Wow. That would be so cool to have that kind of money

  14. I am LOVING this series of WEF posts!!!! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 Now I am determined to go next year

  15. The bad horsemanship was one of the things about the hunters, 4H and AQHA I always got mad about. I can say at all the events I’ve been to, I’ve only seen one person unnecessarily beating up their horse. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone cry. Sure, there’s plenty of disappointment, but for whatever reason, you don’t see the bawling fits right outside the ring that you happen to see at other shows. Even when people disqualified it’s usually a shrug of the shoulders, the rider blames themselves and not the horse, and they go on. Kind of refreshing. Of course, hissy-fits might be going on when I’m not looking, I have no idea!

    I have a backpack.. but it’s not a fancy one haha. Those are nice though 🙂 Any yeah, must be nice to have that much money… sigh.

  16. With the clipping thing… when their hair is that short, its also much, much easier to keep them clean!

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