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!
If your farm has the space to set up a cross-country schooling course, it can be to your advantage to have cross-country jumps available for schooling purposes. Safety should be the number one priority when designing and building cross-country jumps, and an expert should be consulted whenever possible.
By this time I am sure that you have received the news that the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) has been canceled. I sincerely apologize for the difficulty this has caused everyone involved. I want to commend the USEA Board of Governors for making an extremely hard decision.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
The Whidbey Island Horse Trials take place in Oak Harbor, Washington (Area VII) in early July of each year and offer Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate horse trials. The Whidbey Island Horse Trials lost their venue in 2019 but are working on finalizing a new venue for 2021.