Without WEF

Without WEF

For the first time in four years, I won’t be traveling to watch the Winter Equestrian Festival this year. I’m a little sad about it.

It was always a good time visiting one of my closest friends. Even above that, there’s nothing in the world like WEF. When they describe it as horsey disneyland… they aren’t joking! I often hear that people found my blog through the WEF posts, and a small, silly part of me thinks I may be letting some down by not going.

Despite my feelings, things change. By not going to WEF this year, I’m hoping to open up some new opportunities! Though I’m not 100% sure where my vacation days and travel budget may go this year, I’m hoping it includes a few horse show experiences for observation and photography purposes.


To start, I am realistically planning to visit the new Tryon Equestrian Resort in North Carolina. This is owned by the same family who really re-invigorated the WEF show grounds in the past few years, and will be most likely offering big money classes to get the new circuit off the ground. Through knowing some people showing/working there and my Aunt & Uncle living 10 minutes away, going for a long weekend in Tryon should be super doable this year.

After that, it gets a bit more murky. The equestrian world is a big place… what should I go see?


Quarter Horse Congress (or maybe Worlds) has been a lifelong dream. Even though I primarily exist as a hunter princess these days, my first loves are Quarter Horses. Plus side – I can visit miss Tracy and go see the biggest QH show on the planet. Minus side – October is one of my busiest months of the year with horse shows, anniversary and my husband’s birthday… so the scheduling is always tight.


On the eventing side, there’s Rolex. Truthfully I’ve always been meh on this, but every year I read posts from so many bloggers and get a twinge of jealousy. The photographer in me would love to photograph some cross country, and I don’t think that’d be an experience that’s easy to duplicate. However, I don’t really know anyone in that area of the country so would have to cough up for hotel and then hope there was someone going I could hang out with some. Any bloggers planning a Rolex trip? Any locals have advice on where to go and stay?

Those are probably the three big shows on my list this year. Who knows what other opportunities will present themselves, but I want to keep my mind open and my camera ready even if I can’t go to WEF.


If you were making a horse show travel list, where would you pick? I’m ready to see some new things! Maybe I should go out on a limb and try the Scottsdale Arabian Show or something 😉

45 thoughts on “Without WEF

  1. I live an hour south of Indianapolis International Airport and then Rolex is 2.5 hours south of me. I’d be happy to be your ride and split hotel if you were interested!

  2. i was able to cross two off my list last year-Penn National and Washington International. Now would love to see The National and want to go to Spruce! WEF is also on my list.

      1. Oh, and I also went to the LA Masters last year. Now THAT was an experience. Probably one of the most beautiful shows I’ve ever seen. Super classy 😉

      1. You guys can totally stay with me! I’m an easy 2 hour drive from there 🙂

        I’m also going to Rolex, we have an extra bed in our hotel if you want to share. Ill add you to the Rolex Blogger meet up group on Facebook 🙂

  3. The Paint world shows are in Fort Worth at the Will Rogers. Also the cutting horse futurity is at the Will Rogers (lots of good stuff there).

    I would LOVE to go up for a long weekend to the Congress… I have been several times, but it has been years.

  4. I got excited when I read about an Equestrian Center in NC hoping it would be near me, then I looked up where that center was and – whomp whomp – it’s 3 hours from me. 🙁 Luckily, we have a new facility near me which is in the building stages right now. can’t wait for it to be finished so I can use it. http://www.thenorthcarolinacowgirl.com/horses/sport-horse-park-nc/

    Maybe we can meet up half way from where your staying and get dinner though! I’d love to meet another horse blogger. 🙂

  5. There is stuff at Will Rodgers in Fort Worth all the time! Paint Worlds, App Worlds, Mustang Magic, Andalusian Nationals, cutting horse stuff all the time… stuff every month! look up their calendar!

  6. Congressssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lots of hunt seat and o/f stuff to watch + shopping! 🙂

    Oh and the PanAms. I’m a few hours away from TO where the games are being held and I’m not even going.

  7. tryon sounds really exciting too – definitely interested in getting a closer look!

    and oh man, rolex… there appear to be a TON of bloggers going this year, making it all the more tempting too!! haha

  8. If you want breed shows, you can come to Oklahoma for:
    -All American Mule & Donkey Congress in April
    -Pinto World Championship Show in June
    -U.S. National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Show in October
    -Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show in October

    The first 3 are in Tulsa, so you could totally crash on my air mattress. 😀 The Morgan show is in Oklahoma City, so I’m no help there!

    The Mule & Donkey Congress is totally nuts- seriously all kinds of classes with the nicest mules you’ve ever seen. The Pinto Show is a lot like a QH show. The Arab show is completely extravagant, and I’m not sure what goes on at the Morgan show, but it’s probably worth checking out!

    1. I’ve shown at the Morgan show quite a few times and it’s pretty cool! Lots going on, three sessions a day, and they’re decent with audience stuff. Not great, but decent. Outside of the horse show, there is not a lot to do, though… and 10 days of Morgans trotting around CAN get a little old if you’re not into it!

  9. Oh definitely Devon or WIHS. I’m a hunter princess at heart and I would SOOO love to be around/photograph that. HITS was super fun too and is love to go to Hudson or Culpepper.

  10. I took two weeks after I graduated high school and travelled to Devon and Upperville. Devon is an incredible experience and I ABSOLUTELY recommend going if you can, but… Upperville is probably my favourite ‘big’ show I’ve ever been to. The grounds are just so beautiful and I love the tree-filled, grassy rings. There’s nothing else like it.

  11. I would love to go to Scottsdale. 😀 We’re going to Rolex this year!! Hotel is expensive and most places seem to be booked already so hubby and I are doing something really exciting… we’re camping! I’m so excited. I can’t wait! Maybe I’ll see you there if you decide to go. There is a Facebook group for bloggers going to Rolex. 🙂

  12. I want to go to Tryon while I’m living out here in NC!
    As for breed show/western stuff, from my previous life:
    QH World and Congress, always worth it (don’t forget, you can go to Youth or Open, both are fun)
    Paint: Again, two options, Open is probably more fun here
    Pinto: Whatever not worth it… been there, done that, showed that and it’s just not as high quality as the previous two and you have to deal with all the crossover stuff with minis and ponies and it just gets diluted fast
    NSBA World: A lot of fun, great quality, better time perhaps than the Paint or Quarters
    NRCHA Futurity: heard it is 110% worth it and would love to go

  13. I’d like to go to Congress some day, just to watch. I’d also love to see Rolex. And a friend of mine has convinced me that we should go watch the barrel racing champions in Vegas. She has me hooked with ponies and Vegas.

  14. Rolex is definitely worth it… if for nothing else but the drinks and shopping 😉 it’s close enough for me to drive up for a day but if I lived closer I’d host you for the weekend! I really want to go to tyron too!!

  15. Well, I am sad to hear there will be no WEF for you 🙁 I had my first experience last year, and it was AMAZING! I can’t wait to go back this year and am actively planning my trip. The trick is harassing my friends into actively planning theirs, too!

    Outside of the circus that is WEF, though, there are some great opportunities. Spruce Meadows is a fantastic one – the Masters is probably the most noted event, or go in July (I think it’s July, it might be later June) for the Nations Cup and corresponding gigantic Grand Prixs. There are always huge classes on at Spruce, but the hunter princess in you won’t be too satisfied. I’m not sure they do any hunters at all, actually.

    Rolex is an amazing thing to attend. I went just once when I was 14? I think? And the memory stands out as one of the best I’ve experienced, ever. I’m not an eventer, but it is one of my favorite sports to watch, and I really enjoyed it. Plus I’m sure it’s even more fun if you find people to tailgate with, etc!

    Devon, WIHS, Penn National, and any of the big indoor circuits are great. You could also consider the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in November, which hosts fantastic top notch international showjumping AND has plenty of the nation’s top hunters, as well as multiple hunter derbies in a great, comfortable, warm venue with a huge trade fair and really good food. I’m totally biased since Toronto is my place, but it really is one of the top shows I’ve ever attended, and it’s SO MUCH FUN. Beyond the horses, too. It’s the only time of year when we get super dressed up (though this is optional!) and have some of the nights of our lives! I love it and would never miss it…. unless someone offered me a ticket and plane ride to the LGCT final in Doha that week or something!

    Lastly, as mentioned by another poster, the Pan Am Games are being held in Toronto this year. The equestrian portion is just outside the city in Caledon, and it promises to be a great show. I’m SOoooOOOOOooooOOOOooo excited for it I can’t even deal. Mini Olympics, y’all! The city has been preparing like crazy for the Pan Ams, and I’m really excited to see the show that they’ll be putting on. If anyone will do it right it will be Toronto! Canada is super hospitable, has excellent food, a zillion hotel choices and is not usually horrifyingly disgusting in July. Plus, WORLD CLASS PONIES. I am looking forward to the chance to solely see McLain, Beezie, Eric, etc etc. on my home soil. SQUEEEE!!!

    So many options though. So many. Ah, the world is your oyster.

  16. Rolex!! Because, hey, it’s the only 4 star event in this country. IF you go, go on a course walk with one of the BNTs. Usually several give them, they are easy to get on (it will cost but not a ton) and it is SOOO interesting to see their take on the fences and how they think the riders will negotiate them. (I’ve done course walks with Denny Emerson and David O’Conner.)

    And the shopping at Rolex is on a whole other level…

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