Being in Wellington is like being inside a crayon box. A very fancy, expensive crayon box, mind you, with not just primary colors but also all the exotic ones in between: “Cerulean,” “Salmon,” “Dandelion,” “Granny Smith Apple Green.” Some of the crayons are the glitter kind — this zip code must have the world’s highest concentration of swarovski crystal per capita. It’s something to aspire to, I suppose.
This weekend’s $50,000 MARS Eventing Showcase is my maiden Wellington voyage, and I spent the first chunk of it just wandering about with googly eyes, drooling like a teething baby over six-figure horses, wishing I’d invested in bitcoin. Also, I was lost.
Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) is actually two horse shows down the street from one another — the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), which is the hunter/jumper folks, and the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), which is the dressage folks but also there’s a Derby field and a polo field and this week they’re hosting the Eventing Showcase but mostly I think it’s just dressage. Don’t quote me on that.
Anyway, I was staggering around WEF picking up my jaw on occasion to ask people where the dressage ring was. It’s somewhere, everyone seemed to agree. We heard something about an eventing thing going on.
It took me a solid 45 minutes to deduce that I was at the entirely wrong horse show, but by that point I didn’t even care. Nevermind that I was might miss a test or two. I was in the zone.
I wandered around this palm tree-ed equestrian paradise some more, loitering about at the hunter rings, cooing at the ponies …
… casually turning over price tags in vendor booths. Sharp intake of air. “Can I help you?,” the salesperson would inquire. “Nah, just looking,” I’d mutter while backing toward the exit.
I did eventually make it to AGDF and found my eventer brethren huddled together in the indoor arena, where Showcase dressage was just underway. I think I’ve never been so happy to see them. I had begun feeling a bit disoriented, like my pupils were dilated or something. Staring straight into the sun of too many bright, shiny things can have that effect. I found comfort in these familiar faces; with every botched lead change, I found myself sighing in relief. I’d gone to the other side and it was good to be home.
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