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Hits Ocala or WEF?

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  • Hits Ocala or WEF?

    I might have the opportunity to go to Florida this winter (). The question is... Ocala or Wellington? Why or why not do like either? Any advice is greatly appreciated

  • #2
    I always say the same thing when this question comes up.

    If I'm going all the way to Florida, I will keep going until I get somewhere warm. For WEF, I pack a warm coat, but I expect to only use it for a fairly small part of the winter. And a water bucket with ice in it is almost unheard of at WEF. Unlike Ocala.


    • #3
      Are you going to visit or compete? For visiting, I would hands-down pick WEF (bigger show, more vendors and oh, WARMER). For showing, it depends a lot on your budget - they are somewhat similar in showing cost but WEF is twice as long and in a more expensive area for hotels, restaurants, etc. If it were my first time showing in FL, I might pick Ocala as it is just a little more manageable and less likely to leave you shell shocked. Although your wallet will be horrified either way


      • Original Poster

        I would compete, but I am very interested in Photography so that is a main factor for me too. My friend told me that Hits is more expensive ( HITS Shows in general, not just Ocala) so I assumed that Ocala was more $$


        • #5
          I haven't competed in either in ages, although I still visit the show in Wellington, and I feel like WEF brings a new meaning to "more expensive"! Hopefully those who are still showing can chime in.


          • #6
            Originally posted by ChocolateHooves View Post
            I would compete, but I am very interested in Photography so that is a main factor for me too. My friend told me that Hits is more expensive ( HITS Shows in general, not just Ocala) so I assumed that Ocala was more $$
            WEF is much, much more expensive and could easily be double the cost of Ocala depending on what you show in and where you stay. For weekly stalls, Ocala is $200 and WEF is $350, and entries, hotels, and food are all a lot more in Wellington.
            In my opinion WEF is a nicer show with better vendors and food, but Ocala is a more realistic price and less competitive. As for photography, both locations are very pretty and I think you'll get nice shots wherever you go.


            • #7
              If you want to place then generally, Ocala would be better.


              • #8
                I'm biased because I own a farm in Ocala, but I compete both places regularly and vastly prefer Ocala. I just find Ocala more relaxing. It's much quieter, more tailored to the needs of the horse (you know, turn-out bigger than the size of a postage stamp?), less expensive by FAR, and just less stressful IMHO.

                Last winter was wonderfully warm, I can probably count on one hand the number of days I had to wear a jacket between January and March; two of those days were in the same week

                I still go down to WEF to compete because I am fortunate enough to have friends down there that I can board with and stay with which drastically cuts costs, but I really do love it here in Ocala!
                Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.


                • #9
                  Ocala is less expensive overall. WEF is more money- and this late in the year it won't be easy to get a season rental or a hotel.


                  • #10
                    People get so " affected or effected " which ever it is,its not enjoyable to those of us who don't give a rats a$$.

                    People we know at other horse shows get to WEF and we have no idea who they are.

                    Not bragging, but our horses placed really well there, so the mystic is gone.

                    Could care less if we ever go back.

                    On the other hand we love, love Ocala, the show, the people the atmosphere etc...

                    Also we don't care about being seen and seeing....


                    • #11
                      While HITS shows are more expensive than other shows, WEF makes them look like a bargain.


                      • #12
                        I grew up in West Palm, so I always attended WEF. I liked it, and I still go down every year to see some friends who are still in the area, but it is so expensive. Not just the horse show, but everything else is including hotels, seasonal rentals hay ect.

                        After moving to go to college in Gainesville, I ventured over to Ocala and I have to say, its so much more relaxing. Much quieter, cheaper, good company, and good competition. It always amazes me when people say that the competition is so much better at WEF, because it really is all the same. I honestly have been thinking that the competition back home in West Palm has gone down hill a bit, but that could be because I'm not there all the time anymore. Not to say Ocala has better competition, but theres not so much of a difference anymore.


                        • #13
                          Almost can't compare the 2... showed in Ocala for several years and now live in Wellington.
                          Like someone already mentioned, housing for WEF is going to be really hard to find (even though not impossible) this late in the game.
                          WEF does make Ocala look cheap.
                          Footing at WEF is not comparable to Ocala.
                          Ocala is very casual, laid back- no night life and less competitive than WEF.
                          WEF is crazy busy, is very competitive.. and personally, I love it!

                          Will be happy to help if you need anything on the WEF end!

                          Good luck!
                          Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!


                          • Original Poster



                            • #15
                              WEF! If for no reason other than there is a beach nearby.
                              Adversity is the stone on which I sharpen my blade.


                              • #16
                                What division would you be showing in? What level and where do you usually show and with what kind of results?

                                Makes a big difference in making a thoughtful and helpful recommendation which one, Ocala or WEF, would be the best choice for what you want to do.

                                Also exactly what do you want to do with the photography angle?
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                • #17
                                  When I saw this thread, it made me immediately think of this:

                                  I actually love both venues, but would agree with previous posters, they hardly compare. Ocala is drastically cheaper, far less to do, but great living options for the horses. Wellington is wicked expensive, near the beach with plenty of fun things to do at night, and the footing and condition of the rings are impeccable. From a picture taking stand point both are wonderful options. The big rings and palm tress make great shots in Wellington and a few of the rings in Ocala have trees and things in them creating wonderful and original backgrounds. Do you have the option to attend both? Spend a few weeks at each circuit, get pictures from both circuits.


                                  • #18
                                    I have shown at WEF the last two years and am showing this year too. It is an amazing experience, but extremely expensive. The grounds are gorgeous, every ring has different, and beautiful jumps, the horses just have that "expensive" look, and there are so many vendors. I would definitely choose WEF over Ocala. The weather is great most of the time, and every Saturday night there is a grand prix or some event in the big International Arena. Great experience over all.


                                    • #19
                                      I live in Florida and have shown at both venues, when we show we move to that city just like anyone from out of state.

                                      This is my view on the two places, I absolutely cannot stand HITS. This is why:
                                      1. The show grounds is 10-15mins away from anything
                                      2. The show grounds is in its own ecosystem. Often very cold and very damp. It rains alot!
                                      3. Footing is not good.
                                      4. Amenities is not good. Portapoties not cleaned... we have an ongoing joke that our moms have to bring "potty" bags with toilet paper and sanitizer.
                                      5. Amateur jumpers only get prize money on sundays while at wef every class has a little bit of money and sunday has more money. I hated I could win every day except sunday and have a horrendous show bill while at wef if your consistantly good you'll always make money.
                                      6. Showgroundlive.com = never having to go to the show office at WEF, no lines, no stress, do everything .... EVERYTHING online from my iphone. Check rings, pay bills, do adds for tomorrow.

                                      Yes WEF costs more, but my show bill has always been less than Ocala because WEF shares the wealth, if you have a good horse and are competitive it makes no sense to go to HITS where they pocket all the money and put none of it back in either the facility or prize money.

                                      WEF has its other downsides, if you havent purchased a circuit stall by now you'll pay more and be stabled 10-15mins hack from the rings.

                                      Hotels are insane, its better to rent a house, which there are lots and can actually work out cheeper than an ocala hotel room.

                                      The show grounds is cramped, they are selling off land piece by piece for private farms with what seems blatant disregard for where they are going to be temporary stabling for the next year.

                                      But I love WEF, I love that I can compete in the best place in the world, I can watch the best riders, and when it comes to selling my horse at WEF I can get the best price.