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  • Writer's pictureM4E

Is WEF a Waste of Time and Money?

Three Reasons to Rethink Your Winter Plans

It’s our favorite time of year! Heading into Indoors, cooler weather, and pumpkin spice lattes inevitably means the winter season is just around the corner. Horse enthusiasts all over the country will pack up their stables and head south to participate in the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, some as early as October 1st! If you’ve never been to WEF, you may be asking yourself, what is all the fuss about? It’s just another horse show after all. As WEF goers for more than a decade, Messenger Hill Farm is here to tell you exactly why you should have WEF at the top of your yearly horse show schedule. Reason #1: If you want to be the best, you’ve got to compete against the best. No matter what your level of competition, you’ll never know what you are really made of until you’ve tested yourself against the best in your division. When fractions of points are the difference between “Champion” and nothing, you’ll know where you really stand. WEF is the destination each year for the best national and international horses and riders. If your (or your child’s) goal is to compete at a high-performance level later in life, get in your practice under pressure in the big classes now. Don’t wait to learn to channel those types of nerves. It doesn’t get easier with time! You will get the opportunity to see firsthand what it takes to compete at the top levels and what you need to tweak in your program to be successful.

Freddie Vazquez and Kirschwasser claimed the top spot in the FEI Open 1.40m CSI*** at Wellington International. Reason #2: Don’t skimp on winter training. The best athletes in any field don’t train just half of the year. They Never Stop! In most of the country, it’s impossible to keep up a standard of training that keeps a horse and rider in top form due to the harsh weather conditions. Thinking you’ll just catch up on horse showing in the summer? Sure, you can do that. But everyone who was in Florida training over good footing and the types of jumps/courses you see in the competition arena, will just come back north and smoke you. Create your own opportunity by keeping yourself and your horse training over the multiple surfaces needed to stay sharp. We have the perfect facilities to make it work for you. Reason #3: Get your money’s worth. At first glance, six months in Wellington might seem like a big nugget. However, when you price out the amount of horse showing packed into half the year vs. what you spend traveling to other shows around the country the rest of the year, the value per dollar goes up significantly. Think about what you spend on transportation, stabling for your horse, and lodging for yourself at each show vs. the savings you get in one place for a longer time. Our horses stable at our farm where it’s a 7-minute hack or 12-minute walk to WEF showgrounds (no transport or extra stabling fees!) We can show you how to make it happen.

Facilities at Messenger Hill South feature a premium sand arena, grass arena, built-in water jumps, salt-water spa, and grass turnouts. Not to mention the numerous opportunities to school at other facilities within hacking distance. If you want to be the best you can be, there is no doubt that Wellington is still the superior destination for the highest levels of training and competition. We’ve experienced first-hand how going each year levels up our riding. Our riders don’t just go to WEF to win, they go to Traverse City, Kentucky, and Tryon and bring home numerous championship ribbons for the rest of the year. We credit this to a system that is based around Florida training and competition. Interested in learning more about heading to Florida for the winter? Email or call us directly. We love to talk about our time in Florida. (Seriously, check out our Instagram account, it’s all we talk about!) Don’t wait, we’re already making our plans and reservations!

About Messenger Hill

Jodi and Freddie Vazquez live to connect the perfect horse with the most deserving of riders. They know the right horse when they see it because they've both tasted success at the highest levels. ​

Both are fierce competitors. Jodi is a top performer in the hunter ring, with numerous AA Championships to her name. Freddie is an FEI level showjumper, having represented his home country of Puerto Rico in 2018 at the Central American Games in Lima and in 2019 at the Pan American Games in Bogota.​

Their experience at the top allows them to provide the individually tailored training programs that riders need to make their mark on the competition world. Their students are routinely circuit champions in the hunter and jumper rings.


25310 N St. Marys Rd Libertyville, IL 60048


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