A terrific eventing competition won’t be happening this year

The Wellington Eventing Showcase, which introduced hunter/jumper/dressage fans to eventing at the Winter Equestrian Festival, will not be held in February. It was a huge hit for the last three years (Boyd Martin won it every time) with a highlight in 2017 seeing riders gallop through the VIP tent to take a fence right in the midst of the party.

Boyd Martin on Welcome Shadow jumping through the VIP tent at the 2017 Wellington Eventing Showcase. (Photo by Nancy Jaffer)

The unrecognized competition with a $100,000 purse was staged on the grounds of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, a short canter from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center where most of the WEF is presented.

Cross-country—the final phase in this format–ran on the derby field at Global. The next day, a show jumping grand prix was held there. That was always a bit dicey on that first weekend of February, because the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup jumping qualifier also ran on that Sunday about a mile away at Deeridge Farm. I remember rushing from Deeridge to Global to catch the last of the WEF jumping class, and some of the riders also did a bit of dashing to participate in both.

Carly Weilminster of Equestrian Sport Productions said WEF organizers “had been given feedback from the show jumping riders that they’d prefer to do all of the FEI classes during the week on the grass instead of just the Grand Prix on Sunday. So we moved the Grand Prix to Saturday and all of the qualifying classes are now on the grass.”

The Saturday class, the 4-star $205,000 Net Jets Grand Prix, begins at the odd time of 11 a.m. at Global. Saturday night’s class is the Great Charity Challenge in the main arena at PBIEC at 6:30 p.m. Since the Longines class is on Sunday, it wouldn’t work to have a WEF class that afternoon, leaving Saturday morning as the window of opportunity.

Carly said organizers had hoped “to still be able to do the Showcase, but it posed a big logistical challenge with stabling and the field usage, etc” so it was called off. She added “We’re going to re-evaluate the week next year, but would still like to host the event.”

Lack of sponsorship also was a problem, as Equestrian Sport Productions is putting its efforts into September’s FEI World Equestrian Games in North Carolina and finding sponsors for that is taking precedence.

 

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