Excitement is building around the addition of a CCI4*-L division to the Twin Rivers Spring International Three-Day Event. The competition takes place April 9-12 at the Baxter family's Twin Rivers Ranch in Coastal Central California's Paso Robles.
Anticipation skips into lightspeed as prize money in the new division jumps to $5,000 and news arrives that the winning horse will be honored with the new McKinlaigh Cup. The beautiful trophy will be presented by Thom Schulz in honor of his lovely late wife Laura Coats. Schulz and Coats owned McKinlaigh, the Irish Sport Horse who won the 2008 Olympic individual silver medal. McKinlaigh was developed and lived out his retired life at the couple's Rainbow Ranch in nearby Creston. The handsome, bold horse passed away at 26 this past January.
Schulz and Coats were impactful supporters of eventing, Pony Club, and other equestrian activities in the Central Coast area. The presentation of the McKinlaigh Cup at the Spring International connects that generous tradition to today's top sport.
The Spring International drew an unprecedented field of 500-plus horses last year and may exceed that this year. Long format divisions at the two-star, three-star, and four-star level run alongside short format competition at the three-star and four-star level, plus horse trials levels Beginner Novice through Advanced.
Entries are open until March 24. The organizers are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will take all precautions necessary for the safety of horses and riders. Watch for updates as the date nears.
Hugh Lochore's ideas as the new designer of Twin Rivers' upper level cross-country courses will be in full effect. Riders at March's Winter Horse Trials got a peek at ”The Flyover" bridge and tunnel, expansions to the "the Quarry," and myriad new adventures throughout a course covering the property's expansive and varied terrain.
Surprises await spectators, too. On Friday, April 10, Paso Robles' famous wine region will showcase its finest during a ringside tasting while CCI short format show jumpers fly through their second phase of competition. An expanded Vendor Village offers food, drink, shopping, and fun all weekend.
Spectating is free, as always.
The Spring International is one of only six competitions in the United States to offer the CCI4*-L division. This rigorous test of the horse and rider partnership, guts, stamina, and skill is an important proving ground and preparation for international contenders.
"They are constantly upping the game here," said USEF Eventing Performance Director Erik Duvander of Twin Rivers Ranch during a March visit. He described it as one of a few venues that is shifting the sport's geographic balance in the United States. "In the past, it was often said that you need to go East to make it, but it's really important that riders be able to make it out here."
Twin Rivers Ranch began when the Baxter family saw 500 acres of dormant farmland and envisioned it as the perfect stage for international equestrian competition. With the Spring International, those visions materialize to the benefit of equestrians and fans throughout the West Coast. Remarkably, Twin Rivers' growth and national prominence has not come at the expense of the welcoming, family vibe that has distinguished it from the get-go.
Sponsors & Volunteers
The Spring International is made possible by generous sponsors: presenting sponsors include Professional's Choice, manufacturers of sports medicine boots for equine athletes; and Auburn Labs, manufacturers of the adaptogenic APF Formula for horses, people, and dogs. Supporting sponsors include Riding Warehouse, the horse gear and apparel supplier; and Best Western PLUS Black Oak, which offers exclusive discounts for exhibitors.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Christina Gray of Gray Area Events at [email protected].
Volunteers are critical to the Spring International's success and offer a great entrée to the sport, even for those without prior experience.
The Spring International anchors an exciting year of competition at Twin Rivers Ranch. The big event is preceded by an April 4-5 Fundraising Combined Test that helps fund year-round facility enhancements. The 2020 season finalé is another prestigious calendar addition: The USEA Future Event Horse and Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships.
Having this historic competition close isn't the right result for the sport, and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is working hard to find a solution. The organizer and landowners operate exceptional events on a beautiful piece of land. We are deeply sensitive to the history of the word "plantation" and its connection to slavery; however, this property has no known connections to slavery and was instead named after 'plantings' on the property.
After a quiet spring season due to COVID-19, the fall season is ramping up and this weekend we have the first of two West Coast CCI4*-S events taking place at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California.
Dawn Robbins is a current USEA Board of Governors member, Area VI adult rider, and a contributor to the development of the Event Management System (EMS). Note that this article was written more than a year ago and serves as a guide for future USEA software development.
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