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Thu, 2018-03-29 08:15

USEA Events A-Z: GMHA Horse Trials

Authored By: Tracy Ostler
Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto Photo.

The Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA) in South Woodstock, Vermont (Area I) hosts three USEA recognized competitions a year in June, August, and September. In June and September, they offer Beginner Novice through Preliminary, and at their Festival of Eventing in August they offer Beginner Novice through Intermediate as well as a CIC* division. GMHA also offers one unrecognized event a year in addition to hosting dressage and hunter/jumper shows, driving and competitive trail events, and clinics and workshops.

Ever since its founding in 1926, GMHA has been focused on providing educational, competitive and recreational activities for horse enthusiasts of all ages and abilities and is the nation’s oldest continuously operating horse organization. After purchasing the South Woodstock facility in 1950, GMHA held its first Horsemanship Clinic in 1956. In 1957, GMHA hosted another Horsemanship clinic focused on Combined Training, as well as the first Horse Trials to take place in the US since Calvary team competition. In 1957, the Chronicle of the Horse printed that, “An important step forward in this country was taken with the Green Mountain Horse Association’s first Horsemanship Clinic, both for the standard of effective riding in general and for Combined Training.”

Today, GMHA still promotes the sport of eventing, hosting three sanctioned horse trials and one schooling horse trial each summer. In keeping with tradition, the August Horse Trials, which has run for over 40 years, has evolved into the Festival of Eventing. The Festival draws more seasoned, advanced riders and is proud to host the only FEI event in Area 1.


Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto Photo. 

Our June and September Horse Trials offer Beginner Novice through Preliminary levels and follow the two-day format with dressage and show jumping on Saturday and cross-country on Sunday.

Our Starter Horse Trials at the end of June will offer Pre-Elementary through Training/Novice divisions. The Starter Horse Trials follows the one-day format and will also offer combined tests for Pre-Elementary through Training level.

The Festival of Eventing in August is preceded by our Festival of Eventing clinic that runs Monday through Wednesday. This year’s featured clinicians are Robert Costello, Pamela Goodrich, Rebecca Vick, and Sharon White.  The Festival of Eventing event offers Beginner Novice through Intermediate and CIC* levels. Beginner Novice and Novice run as a one-day event on Friday while the CIC* and Intermediate do dressage. On Saturday the CIC* and Intermediate show jump while Training and Preliminary do both dressage and show jumping. Training through Intermediate and CIC* all run cross-country on Sunday.


Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto Photo. 

GMHA has one of the top equestrian facilities in New England, situated in a beautiful, scenic location. The property has six barns offering 165 permanent stalls, temporary stabling areas, four arenas with European Geo-Textile Footing, multiple grass riding areas, a cross-country course for Pre-Elementary through Intermediate level, and driving hazards and obstacles.

Our cross-country course utilizes most of our 65 acre facility and beyond. We are fortunate enough to have the use of the neighboring fields, which Birch Hill Farm generously allows us to use for select competition days.

The course continues to evolve, utilizing a variety of permanent obstacles (two water complexes, various ditches, trakehners, bank fences, and a coffin) and many portable fences. The wide use of portable cross-country jumps allows our course designers a great deal of flexibility, which results in new and exciting courses for each competition.


Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto Photo. 

Our June event is the season opener and we look forward to seeing everyone after a long, cold winter. It’s a time to catch up with our competitors, old and new. The Festival is fun because it’s so big and exciting. It’s the only event during the year where we run the CIC* and Intermediate levels. We also host the Patrons Tent and the Competitors Party at the Festival so the facility is buzzing the whole weekend. The September horse trials round out the eventing season for GMHA. The days are warm and the foliage is beautiful. It’s usually the last time we see our competitors before they head south.

GMHA events are special because of our location, our facility and our competitors. It’s a close knit community. We want our eventers to know that everyone is welcome at GMHA and we can’t wait for them to get here. This is a beautiful venue, and a fun place to be. If you’ve never been to GMHA, we hope you’ll make a stop here in 2018!

The USEA is profiling the history behind all USEA recognized events in the series, USEA Events A-Z.

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