The World Equestrian Center debuted its first event of 2021 today as the Winter Spectacular got underway. The show is the first Hunter Jumper Special Event show to be sanctioned by the National Snaffle Bit Association.
“It was amazing to finally see the first show get underway here at Ocala,” noted TJ Campbell, World Equestrian Center’s general manager. “We've been planning for this moment for more than two years. We currently have just over 1,000 horses on the grounds, and we had 750 rounds in all rings on Wednesday.”
After a chilly morning, the first day of the show saw sunny skies and warm temperatures as the competition heated up in the Grand Arena, Stadium, indoor and Hunter and Jumper rings. The day saw competition in 1.25 to 1.45 meter Jumping in the Grand Arena, Green Hunters as well as Children and Adult Hunters and Jumpers showing in six arenas for the day.
First In Line
Exhibitors were excited to show in the new World Equestrian Center facility, including a few local exhibitors. “We were really excited to see the new grounds. It’s beautifully put together, and the amenities are just unbelievable,” noted Dorrie Douglas, who works for Mike McCormick and Tracy Fenney’s MTM Farm of Ocala and Flower Mound, Texas.
“We have a farm just down the road from here, so there was no question we would be here,” she said. “We are lucky that we have lots of help, so we actually have horses here as well as at HITS Ocala. Our farm doesn’t really have customers, but we do a lot of sales, so between the two venues, we’re able to show horses in the classes and shows that fit them best. We love being able to show here at WEC, and it's also a great place to be able to ride and school as well.”
Eric Thompson was quick to follow WEC to Ocala. “As soon as the first shovel went into the ground, we bought a place here,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for two years to show here. It’s such a beautiful venue. I think all the people who would have normally went north in the summer will probably be here. Due to COVID-19 and everything, things could change pretty quickly, so this facility will be very attractive. It’s going to be the place to be.”
The World Equestrian Center is following strict protocol with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. All attendees are required to wear face masks when not on horseback and observe social distancing. Attendees also have their temperature taken as they drive onto the show grounds.
The Winter Spectacular continues through Sunday, January 10, and the series of shows continues through March 28. Hunter and Jumper classes continue on Thursday, which will feature the $20,000 Welcome Grand Prix. For additional information about the show, please visit www.worldequestriancenter.com or follow the action daily on http://horseshowing.com/ring_order.php?show=8070. HorseShowing.com will provide "Ring Status" daily as soon as the first horse walks in the ring, and the page stays live as long as the ring is not idle more than 15 minutes.