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Behind-the-Scenes Scoop on Wellington's Winter Equestrian Festival

Vicky Moon, author and equestrienne, takes you behind the scenes of Wellington's celebrity and character-packed Winter Equestrian Festival, in her upcoming book A Sunday Horse.

A Sunday Horse: Inside the Grand Prix Show Jumping Circuit
Vicky Moon
March 2004 ISBN 1-931868-41-7 $25.00
6" x 9", Cloth, 224 pp. + 70 black and white photos

"A Sunday Horse gives a no-holds-bared insight to the behind the scenes of the humans and the horses."
- Snowden Clarke, trainer and rider, The Plains, Virginia

Dulles, VA: Children of celebrities, illegal immigrant workers, large corporation heirs, and members of royalty all meet in one place - Wellington's Winter Equestrian Festival, the beginning of the Grand Prix Show Jumping Circuit Season. "During the winter show season more than $3 million in prizes will be offered in Wellington. The horse population swells with over 4,000 horses brought in on gleaming tractor-trailers, utilitarian horse rigs and a few by cross country jet to the tune of a one way ride for $3,000. With the horses, there are 6,000 others including riders, trainers, owners, anxious mothers, nannies and other hangers on," says writer Vicky Moon, a long-time equestrienne and the author of the upcoming book A Sunday Horse: Inside the Grand Prix Show Jumping Circuit.

Vicky Moon describes this intricate dance of horse competitions, swanky charity fundraisers, and the likes of Johnnie Cochran, Bruce Springsteen, Dan Marino, and Michael Bloomberg rubbing shoulders with sports hypnotists and stable staff. Vicky explains, "In addition to the hoity toity and the hoi poloi, we have the haughty and the naughty. Among the other members of the Grand Prix troupe: numerous big league corporate movers and shakers from the pages of Forbes and Fortune and their very pretty (usually blonde) horse loving daughters, a traveling salesman who specializes in carrots, one (registered) sex offender, numerous veterinarians, a sports hypnotist and many merchants who sell anything and everything with a horse or snaffle bit on it."

In A Sunday Horse, Vicky Moon illustrates what Winter Equestrian Festival attendees are likely to see and to miss from behind the scenes. Other Festival scenes Vicky Moon spotlights in A Sunday Horse are:

" The history of the Festival. "The Sunshine Circuit (now the Winter Equestrian Festival) originally took place at a number of stops in Florida: Delray Beach, Winter Haven, Gainesville, Miami, Boca Raton and Palm Beach. The shows were then held at the polo grounds until they outgrew the space."
" The dwellings of participants and attendees, from mansions to trailers. "All around the far reaches of Welly World, horses park in a precious piece of shade, some stand under chicken huts custom built by the Seminole Indians….If a larger house is what you're looking for, there's the $25 million Mida Farm mansion owned by Isaac Argetty where the 2003 ABC television reality series, 'The Family,' starring the eternally tan and seemingly ageless George Hamilton, was taped."
" Celebrity sightings. "Television anchor Lou Dobbs joins the ranks of waiting fathers with his fourteen-year-old twin daughters Heather and Hillary, who ride with trainer Missy Clark of Warren, Vermont…..Glenn Close is not far off when her daughter, Amy Sharp, trained by Peter Lutz of Katona, New York, appears in the show ring."
" Inside the day to day dealings of the Festival's staff. "Mason, in his role of public relations maharishi, is desperate to track down a photographer right this minute. He's frantically fanning around in a tropical silk shirt given to dozens of horse show officials to wear courtesy of Tommy Bahama, sponsor of Sunday afternoon's $75,000 Grand Prix.…As he will henceforth be known, Mason the Maharajah's wheels are spinning. It's late on Saturday and if he can email a photo before deadline to The Shiny Sheet (the upper crust paper over in Palm Beach) it would make the Sunday morning paper. Within minutes at least three photographers show up."

Vicky Moon has chronicled the lives of the rich, the not-so-rich, the famous, and the not-so-famous for more than twenty years. She has covered her hometown of Middleburg, Virginia's local murders and prominent lives for People Magazine and the Washington Post. She has also written about Middleburg's hunt balls, steeplechase races and parties for Town and Country, Millionaire and Southern Accents magazines and has served as a contributing editor for House and Garden. Ms. Moon is the author of The Official Middleburg Life Cookbook, The Middleburg Mystique: A Peek Inside the Gates of Middleburg, Virginia (Capital, 2001); and Best-dressed Southern Salads (Capital, 2002). Vicky lives in Middleburg, Virginia, with her husband, sportswriter Leonard Shapiro, and her son.


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