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Behind the Scenes on the Winter Equestrian Pageant

By Jacqueline Kuron

The annual Winter Equestrian Pageant (WEF) is the world’s largest and longest-running equestrian occasion. Forward of WEF 2022—operating January fifth to April third on the Palm Seaside Worldwide Equestrian Heart—we spoke with Vaneli Bojkova, Vice President, Operations for Equestrian Sport Productions.

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When do preparations and planning for WEF start?
12 months-round! We’re consistently studying, fine-tuning, and planning for WEF, however late summer season into early fall is when the majority of the work begins.

Vaneli Bojkova
Vaneli Bojkova

How does Palm Seaside Worldwide Equestrian Heart (PBIEC) prepare for WEF?
Throughout the summer season, hundreds of thousands of {dollars} have been invested to enhance the world footing and environment of the competitors arenas. A lot of the infrastructure for WEF is a short lived construct. Because of hurricane season in Florida, we don’t begin constructing the momentary stables, vendor tents, and extra viewing stands till late October, which is a brief window earlier than the season.

What varieties of distributors shall be current at this yr’s occasion?
Now we have all the pieces from meals and beverage distributors to premier equestrian retail distributors providing customized saddlery, tack, customized boots, and equestrian attire, but in addition distinctive clothes boutiques for each funds, jewellery from semi-precious stones to luxurious diamonds, furnish- ings and housewares, artwork, and even attire and presents for pet lovers.

How has WEF adjusted security tips due to COVID-19?
For our intensive and industry-leading COVID-19 Motion Plan, WEF/PBIEC have been lately honored with a second place SUNsational Award within the “Occasion Security Plan” cate- gory from the Florida Festivals & Occasions Affiliation (FFEA). Security continues to be a major concern, and plenty of of those proto- cols will stay in place, akin to sanitation round high- contact factors and enhanced and expanded digital viewing.

What’s the most difficult a part of organizing and planning WEF?
Unexpected components like climate (hurricanes) and pandemics (equine- and human-related) can all create logistical challenges in group and planning. Additionally, the huge enhance within the variety of horses, from 300 firstly of December to 2,500 horses arriving to compete in January.

What’s the most enjoyable and thrilling half?
I completely love the thrill round Saturday Evening Lights, a weekly spotlight occasion. The evenings are filled with nice power, with dwell music, child’s actions, meals distributors, and hospitality venues all centered round world-class, Olympic-level present leaping. It’s a must-see for each WEF spectator.

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