The Winter Equestrian Festival

Photo+courtesy+Haven+Low+%2721

Photo courtesy Haven Low '21

Georgina Bloomberg jumping at the Douglas Elliman Grand Prix.
Courtesy of Lauren Volkodav ’22

The Winter Equestrian Festival, which is the largest and longest-running equestrian festival in the world, is held annually from January 9 to March 31. The festival takes place in Wellington, FL and attracts some of the top equestrians in the world, who compete in a variety of disciplines. Riders aged from five years old to almost seventy compete in polo, showjumping, dressage, and hunting.

The small city of Wellington, FL is an hour and a half from Miami, near Palm Beach, FL. All of Wellington is dedicated to horses. While driving through, the average passerby can expect to see sprawling horse estates. The daughters of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Bloomberg are among the competitors seen at the highest level of WEF competition: Saturday Night Lights. Each weekend, Saturday Night Lights attract the most spectators – This part of the event is held in the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s show ring.

A typical night at the show is filled with champagne, horses, and talent, as many come dressed in their finest clothes come to watch this spectacular event. It is not uncommon to see several Olympians jumping their horses over five-foot obstacles as they compete for large monetary prizes. Loomis’ own Haven Low competed in the children’s hunters and equitation medals division on her horse named Chiaroscuro, better known to Loomis students as Kenny. Haven thoroughly enjoyed competing at WEF, and commented on the unique environment in Wellington. “ Everyone is so friendly and the show is fun as well.”

The Winter Equestrian Festival is one of a kind experience which I recommend any horse lover or equestrian enthusiast attend in their lifetime.