After a 10-year hiatus, the Apple Knoll Farm Horse Trials is returning to the USEA recognized event calendar in 2019. The event will run on September 21 and offer Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training levels. In 2020, Apple Knoll Farm plans to offer both a spring and a fall event.
The first USEA recognized Apple Knoll Farm Horse Trials ran as a one-day event at the Iorio family farm in Millis, Massachusetts on June 16, 2002. Prior to becoming USEA recognized, Apple Knoll Farm had hosted schooling horse trials and was already well-versed in what was needed to run a successful horse trial. “[Our first recognized event] went really well,” said five-star eventer and USEA ICP Certified Instructor Adrienne Iorio, who also runs Apple Knoll Farm and organizes the horse trials.
Apple Knoll Farm ran in mid-June in 2003 and 2004 before taking a hiatus in 2005. “The demands of trying to ride [at the upper levels] and manage Apple Knoll and run a recognized event were just too much,” Iorio explained. After taking a break in 2005, the horse trials returned to the calendar in 2006 and ran through 2008 before taking another longer break while Iorio raised her three children.
Now that her children are grown, Iorio said she is excited to bring Apple Knoll Farm back on the USEA recognized event calendar. “We’ve decided to give it another go! Area I has been losing events and we want to help keep the sport alive. This year we have one event on the calendar and next year we have a spring and a fall event.”
"Starting the horse trials back up is an enormous undertaking," she continued. "It could not be done without the help and support of the fantastic staff at Apple Knoll Farm, the local equestrian community, and my family. Shelby Wysong, with the help of some other fantastic people, keep the inner workings of the barn ticking. Michelle LeMay keeps our finances on track. Lydia Thumm is my contact person and organizer for all of our horse shows and clinics, and my husband, Noll Smith, builds and designs our derby field and cross country. My three boys, Charlie, Taylor, and Aiden, are eternally patient with my equestrian lifestyle and help out however they can."
In addition to Apple Knoll’s USEA recognized event and as part of her efforts to help strengthen the sport’s presence in Area I, Iorio has been hosting the Area I Schooling Horse Trials Championships for the last three years. Her goal in hosting the schooling horse trials is to help encourage the pipeline from the starter levels at unrecognized events into the recognized events. “The idea is to get people excited at the lower levels and give them something to aspire to,” Iorio said. “In theory, it will get them looking at membership with the USEA and wanting to do the bigger events.” Iorio looks forward to continuing to support the schooling horse trials series in addition to the recognized events.
Apple Knoll Farm will also host a Lucinda Green Masterclass Symposium on June 8, 2019, where Area I professionals will ride and spectators will be able to watch as the six-time Badminton and Olympic silver medalist coaches the riders on cross-country riding technique. “The idea is to showcase the active professionals in Area I. She will be teaching more to the audience and hopefully it will be a good forum to get people interested in eventing.”
Entries for the 2019 Apple Knoll Farm Horse Trials open on August 6, 2019.
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