August 2019 - New Excitement Simmering for Summer Event at Woodside

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A new saddle plus two $2,500 cash prizes spur anticipation for the inaugural Modified Training Challenge during Aug. 9-11 eventing competition.

by Kim F. Miller

The inaugural Modified Training Challenge is attracting strong entries for The Summer Event at Woodside. The eventing competition is set for August 9-11 at The Horse Park at Woodside, one of the country’s premiere equestrian venues.

The innovative “M-Training Challenge” division is designed to prepare and showcase horses and riders moving up from standard Training Level’s test of scope and skill in dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping.

The Pony Club Celebration is another new Summer Event attraction. All participating United States Pony Club members will receive program recognition and special first and second place Pony Club ribbons will be presented in Intro through Preliminary during each division’s winners ceremony.

A Saturday night BBQ dinner brings all the celebrants together during the stadium jumping conclusion of the M-Training Challenge. Dinner tickets are included with entry for the M-Training Challenge Rider and Horse divisions, and friends and family can join the food and festivities with a $40 dinner ticket (dinner tickets for entrants in all other show divisions are $20.). Like the Saturday night festivities for the Spring Event’s long-running Preliminary Challenge, on which the M-T Challenge is modeled, this is a night of suspenseful sport as the top 10 in each division show jump in reverse order of their standings. Good food enjoyed ringside and a festive atmosphere make it a special night for all.

The Summer Event encompasses competition from Intro to Intermediate, plus Future Event Horse 2-year-old, 3-year-old and yearling tests.

Steve Roon & Lismakerra Bilbo. Photo: Carol Mingst

The M-Training Challenge

Run to the standards Identified in the USEF rulebook as the “Modified-Training” division, the M-Training Challenge adds difficulty across the board without requiring the full step up to Preliminary.

Friday’s dressage will be conducted at Modified Test B, introducing leg yields, halt and rein-back, 10-meter trot and 15-meter canter circles and trot and canter lengthenings, with two judges to provide feedback. Cross-country will be built at Training level’s 1-meter height, but on a different track than the regular Training course and with more technical challenges and a faster pace of 470 meters per minute. Show Jumping will be staged at the Modified division’s 1.05-meter height, with double and triple combinations upping the degree of difficulty.

Horse Park Board of Directors member and amateur eventer Steve Roon is excited about the Challenge. He and his Irish Sporthorse Lismakerra Bilbo have been contending Training level for about two years, with Preliminary as their long-term goal. “The gap between Training and Preliminary is significant,” he explains of a level at which proactive riding skills become a must, even on a seasoned horse. “This Challenge is an ideal way for us to measure our progress toward that goal,” says the Rider division entrant. Having witnessed the 11-year evolution of The Spring Event’s Preliminary Challenge to its currently very competitive state, Steve anticipates the M-Training Challenge will follow the same trajectory.

Primo prizes highlight the M-Training Challenge: a new saddle for the overall lowest score, and at least $2,500 cash in the horse and rider divisions.  Woodside Eventing organizer Robert Kellerhouse anticipates that broad industry enthusiasm will enable additional prizes and welcomes founding sponsors who would like to align with this new event.

VIP Opportunities Abound

Volunteering is much needed and a great way to get involved in The Summer Event. Woodside Eventing offers branded swag and credits toward future entries, and the United States Eventing Association’s Volunteer Incentive Program logs hours for year-end national recognition and prizes. Sign up at https://www.eventingvolunteers.com/events/975/signup. The VIP program was guided by the late and much-missed Don Trotter of Sunsprite Warmbloods. His widow Pam Trotter says volunteering is the greatest way to honor Don’s life and remarkable spirit.

Stabling, footing and many other upgrades continue at the spacious, beautiful Horse Park at Woodside, located in one of California’s horsiest havens. The area’s weather is usually another plus. “It’s one of the few places where it’s not too hot to stage equestrian competition in August,” Kellerhouse notes of the wooded, 272-acre facility that is uniquely dedicated to year-round equestrian sport and lifestyle.

Tickets to the M-Training Challenge dinner can be purchased at www.eventingentries.com, where live scoring will be available during the event.

For more information, visit www.woodsideeventing.com.