Hello from Wellington! I am Dr. Marty Whitehouse, the lucky sport horse intern, who was sent down along with Dr. Courtney Wittich, to serve as the Hagyard Sport Horse team in the Wellington community for the winter of 2015. This first week has been a whirl-wind of both work and fun, but I am going to elaborate on some of the special events of this week. We arrived in time for the first week of showing at both the Winter Equestrian Festival and Global Dressage Festival. These locations are hosting world class competitions with some of the top horse and rider combinations from around the world over the next three months. This past Friday night we went to Friday Night Stars, which was an FEI Grand Prix Freestyle class. The musical freestyles were fun and breathtaking to watch, with the music ranging from today’s hits to several fun Disney themed ones! Saturday was filled with jumper classes in the international ring, but at night a different tension could be felt as it was the Battle of the Sexes night. The two teams competed in three different jumper classes- Speed round, Head to head round, and a Six Bar competition. Points were awarded throughout the events to determine the winners- it turned out to be a tie between the men and the women. The packed stadium lead to the atmosphere being electric! Though the speed and head to head rounds were fun, it was the six bar that really tested the athleticism of the horses. Alison Robitaille was the only person to clear the final vertical which was 1.80 meter (5’9”!)- talk about having to have your horse at the top of it’s game! On Sunday we returned to watch the Grand Prix in the afternoon which had 55 horses entered in the event. As always the jump off was where all the action was- the speed, accuracy, and shear power shown by each equine athlete was awe inspiring. Todd Minikus won riding a horse he had only been partnered up with for a couple of weeks! At the end of the day it is always fun to watch each rider come out of the ring with their special equine partners and dote on them for a job well done, even if the result was not being the winner. Until next time, everyone in colder environments, stay warm and continue to look for more posts from sunny Florida!