Cool snaps from around the showgrounds.

Cool snaps from around the showgrounds.

Canada captures the Nations Cup! The highlight of the week was our Nations Cup win – a major accomplishment with 12 teams competing this year. The team of Ian Millar, Eric Lamaze, Tiffany Foster and Yann Candele came together brilliantly on Friday night demonstrating their combined horse power and riding talent.

On Saturday, young ambitious jumper riders had an opportunity to compete in their own Childrens’, Junior, and Young Riders’ Nations Cup classes.

The Global Dressage Festival was the venue for the Palm Beach Dressage Derby this week. The FEI Prix St Georges class was won by Silva Martin on Rosa Cha W, a mare bred by Silva and her husband, Olympic eventer, Boyd Martin, who was there to cheer her on. Silva was excited and impressed that riding legend George Morris was also among the spectators, having hosted a clinic recently with Boyd in South Carolina. Canadian Christilot Boylen, who has been a talented rider since the 60’s, was second in the class on her own Drentano.

Classes at both venues, particularly evening classes provide an opportunity for the many spectators to view the wares of dozens of vendors, who are set up at the showgrounds for the whole season, some for 5 or 6 days a week. Items range from garden moss covered life size dogs to state of the art riding helmets made in Italy ( with charming young Italian salesmen), to custom made riding boots of every type and colour of leather imaginable, to art, some for sale for five figures, displayed at the WEF VIP tent. The Italian helmets come with removable washable Coolmax liners. Air flow is maximized through an adjustable front grid opening, and the visor is flexible and impact resistant. The colour range is remarkable.

Even though the circuit is three quarters of the way through, it shows no sign of winding down. More exciting events are on the horizon for week 9, starting with the VDL Horse Auction, when on Tuesday the horses will be shown, then auctioned on Thursday evening at the Stadium, and Challenge of the Americas on Friday evening at the International Polo Club. This fundraiser for breast cancer research features the always popular Grand Prix Freestyle Quadrilles and Show Jumping extravaganza. Spectators and competitors always enjoy this evening of lively entertainment.

The Wellington area is also hosting another level of competition that compliments the WEF circuit. Although Olympian Nona Garson’s The Ridge shows have existed for years at her Ridge Farm in Palm Beach Point, she and her partner George D’Ambrosio recently responded to a call for more competition at different venues with classes for various levels of horses and riders. Last year the Nona shows expanded in a new direction, offering a Wellington Turf Tour, a weekly 1.40 m Grand Prix series to run over 10 weeks, concluding with the $24,750 finale at the beautiful Deeridge Farms. Riders happily made the mile hack to different properties, enjoying quality competition at an extremely affordable cost, allowing horses and riders of different levels to develop and grow. Some of the top riders showing at WEF remarked at how riding at different venues, and on grass, gives them a break from the weekly grind of the same WEF location and provides an opportunity to bring out young horses.

The Wellington Turf Tour Grand Prix finale will once again culminate at Deeridge Farms on March 22nd. In addition to various jumper classes, the Ridge hosts the popular Tuesday Equitation Series, monthly schooling shows and two all new USHJA National/International Hunter Derby events.