Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Back in Austin - Let's talk about shopping!

I mean the show grounds.  Yes of course that's what I meant.

Today's caveat is for everyone who has said such nice things about my blog.  You guys really are the best, and are encouraging me to keep writing!  

I am home, more sadness abounding, though none in relation to lead changes currently.  

Really home isn’t so bad, its got DH, my dogs, and my BBH (Big Black Horse), all of whom I missed terribly, though as DH would say, maybe not in that particular order.  But it’s COLD here.  Along with the rest of the country (except South Florida) we are having one of the worst winters I can ever remember.  No, it’s not snowing, but the high today is 40, and tomorrow morning it will be in the 20s!  Our normal averages are mid 60s for highs with only a few freezes to maybe kill some bugs or something.  I’m sure cold has its advantages; I just don’t particularly see them very clearly as I shiver for the duration of winter.  

Thankfully since I am home, I have my trusty friend Suzanne to run over to Wellington for me, feed DC his necessary allocation of treats, and perform my minion duties.  Essentially he now has two minions plus his grooms, again his master plan is working out very well indeed.

During this down time, I thought I might take some time to write about the show grounds.  Here is the pic of the map I took after spending approximately 2 years trying to find the elusive ring 6.   

As you can see, this is only the main show grounds, and not the accessory show grounds.  I don’t actually know what the other show grounds are actually called, accessory seems appropriate to me.  Honestly, the main grounds are enough to make anyone’s head spin. 

One of the most important things to note is the size of the show grounds in comparison to the number of parking slots.  One would hope that the parking spaces drawn were merely a representation of the real number, but I assure you that no, that is the actual number of spaces available for 7,500 horses and their associated staff, riders, and spectators.  Parking was clearly not a priority; I can only assume the planners were the people who would park in the VIP lot, therefore it was not important to them.

The show grounds are really like a little city all wrapped up in a horse show.  

There’s School

And a school bus

And church

And laundry

And an equine conditioning center

Oh wait, maybe that’s not what you’d find in a normal city…..but you get the idea. 

The grounds themselves are really immaculate.  It’s built to look like Disney Land for horses.



International Rider's Lounge!

And Carousel Oh My!

Nothing says "tourist" like posing next to the decoration.

Despite the aforementioned lack of restrooms, porta-potties (requiring porta-potty purgers: beep beep WOSH, beep beep WOSH) abound.  And even a porta-potty trailer that looks like this.

Sorry if that’s TMI, I’ve just never seen a porta-potty (even the trailer kind) that is so fanciful.  Of course this was directly behind the Wellington Club.  Anything named the Wellington Club clearly has members that deserve such fancy pee spots. 

Even with all of that, the most amazing thing about the show grounds is the shopping.  I honestly don’t think I could visit all of the shops available in my time there if I tried.  Need Italian linens? No problem.  How about some fancy French handbags that are so expensive I’ve never even heard of the brand? Got those too.  Really it’s the biggest shopping mecca of things I’d want to buy I’ve ever seen.  I’d compare the shopping to Vegas, but really this place is MUCH BETTER.   

Located in vendor village is semi after semi of tack shops, plus about a hundred other different stores.  If you look on the map there are four distinct shopping areas, and a Gallery for art, just in case you were in the market for art for your winter Wellington home.  There is a permanent Ariat store that’s like walking into a Banana Republic, but all Ariat items .  If you've  heard of the tack shop, they have it: Farm Vet, Beval, McGuinn's, Ann Hubbard, Fox Run, Personalized Products, OH I have to make myself STOP.  

Need a place to go for the oft asked CWD question?  They’ve got you covered.

For that matter, need a place to go for the oft asked <insert any fancy saddle name> question? They've got you covered for those too (Antares, Voltaire, Devocoux, Butet, etc etc).
Honestly, during my first week due to the rain and the stress I didn’t visit much of the shopping.  I plan to rectify this serious issue as soon as possible upon arriving back in Florida.   

I need at least one souvenir right?  So what if that souvenir is the still coveted black soft shell show coat, it’s still a souvenir. 


  1. When you said WEF was Disneyland for horses and the next photo was I also noted the Face Painting tent in the background, sighed happily, and said- it really IS Disneyland

  2. So seriously, are you taking shopping lists for your poor friends stuck back in Texas?!?!

    1. But of course! I love shopping with other people's money!

    2. I think we should FaceTime whilest you walk around the consignment store so I can figure out exactly what I "need."

  3. It is much as I remember it... except even bigger lol I found that the only time in which I could somewhat successfully locate a parking place (especially for a crew cab dully lol) was before 5 am, after that magical hour.... good luck!

    1. Thanks! No prep for this week, I land and show in that order.

  4. That's amazing! If all port-a-pots looked like those, I wouldn't mind using them!! Sheesh!

  5. Right??? Porta Potties for the rich and famous I suppose.

  6. Ummm, could you please fill in this little kiwi as to what exactly goes on in the Equine Conditioning Centre - maybe it could be a new business opportunity for me here in NZ?!