Many years ago, a good friend, Dot Hamilton, became Area Chair for Area VII. She said, "We need an Adult Rider Coordinator – you do it!" "Ok," I said. "What should adult riders do?" "Let's have a camp," she said! So we did. With only a couple of years missed early on, the Area VII Adult Rider Camp has now become a much-anticipated activity on the calendar. Different locations, times or the year and some changes in staff but the theme constant. Fun, camaraderie, education. Not necessarily in that order!
All these years later, I have learned what works and what people want - early in the year to prep, a good mix of fun activities and educational talks for the evenings. One thing I was adamant about was keeping it affordable. We usually break even or lose money which is made up for with our fundraisers. I do a lot of sweet talking to convince top-name instructors to come out to our little corner of the eventing world and give me a deal! Promises of good food and a very enthusiastic bunch of folks usually does the trick.
With daily lessons in all three phases, the days are a four- to five-ring circus. We do a potluck meet and greet on Thursday evening, the arrival day. Friday has now become a tradition of Pizza and Puppy Steeplechase (you really have to be there!) So much fun with betting that raises money for the local animal shelter. We try to fit in a talk or demo of a more educational bent. Saturday we offer a nice catered dinner with adult beverages flowing. More education, then another tradition, the White Elephant Gift exchange – this gets quite competitive with folks going after some 'interesting' gifts! It is an over 21 activity – I say no more!
I couldn't do this without a team. I have some amazing friends that do catering, social directors, and many other things behind the scenes. Some, like Lou Leslie, have been with me from the start.
The times when I would be thinking about not doing it, I would get a thank you with comments of, "I made some great friends," and "I am now hooked on eventing," and it made me do it again. I have new organizers stepping up for next year – some new ideas and 'young blood' will be good!
The spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).