If you had a nice enough horse, all the vacation time you needed and a big budget, what shows would you most want to attend?
I really don’t even know where to begin, there are so many! I mean, how can I choose between Devon, WIHS, Pennsylvania National and Capital Challenge? And then of course, there are the ones closer to home, like County Heir, Ledges and Traders Point.
But there are, of course, those that are closer to my heart. Here’s my Top Three:
A totally non-original answer, I know. But how awesome would it be to take weeks off work in the middle of the winter and go horse show in Florida? It sounds like heaven to me!
The Winter Equestrian Festival is unique in that its prestige is not because of a qualifying system, anyone can go show at WEF, but because during that time of year, it is the mecca of the hunter/jumper world. The most talented riders and most famous trainers bring their clients and horses to Wellington each winter, for weeks upon weeks of showing. With a ton of divisions, including classics and derbys, the spectating would be almost as great as showing there myself… almost.
Plus the layout of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, and the surrounding areas, is unlike anything we have here in the midwest. I mean, people literally ride their horses from their barn to the showgrounds. How cool?!
#2 Chagrin Valley Hunter/Jumper Classic
This particular show has a special meaning for me. It’s the pinnacle of where I came from, and while I certainly have mixed feelings about where I came from, part of me wants to go back someday.
I’ve shown during the unrated local weekend portion of CVHJC before, but that was ages ago. I’d love to go back and show during the rated portion, mostly to show off how much I’ve improved as a rider, and how awesome my new horse is. Obviously I’m not ready for that yet, but I do hope in the coming years I get the chance to.It would be great to see some of my (old) friends, but it would also mean running into acquaintances I don’t miss. Nevertheless, it’s a goal of mine to one day get back there and show again.
#3 All American Quarter Horse Congress
Quarter Horse Congress is another show I have strong connection with. This one is right in my backyard, and there are a lot of equestrians in my area that respect that show a whole lot. Seriously, if you mention it, it’s like instant street cred. It would be pretty cool to show there, in the Celeste under the lights. They have a Hunter Classic that usually draws a decent crowd, and it would be fun to be part of it.
Plus, with my background in 4-H, I’m not sure I’m ever going to get over the resulting infatuation with high-level AQHA shows. While this might not be a goal I always actively pursue (because, you know, you have to own a Quarter Horse to even be in the running) it will always be a distant dream of mine to show at Quarter Horse Congress.