Aug 07, 2017

Eventing is Alive and Well at the Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
A view of Bittersweet Field, home of the Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials. Nancy Jones Photo.

Since 1989 the Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials has been running an event at Bittersweet Field in Poolesville, Maryland. The 28th annual event will be held on September 2-3, 2017 and in the lead up to their celebration of their 30th year, Seneca’s Organizing Committee is working to make it the best yet.

The entry fees of the horse trials go to support the education of the Seneca Valley Pony Club members including lessons, ratings, rallies and the United States Pony Club (USPC) National Championship. Nancy Jones, who along with Debby Price, heads up Seneca’s Organizing Committee, notes the Seneca entry fees are among the lowest in Area II.

This year’s horse trials has something for everyone with levels from Elementary through Intermediate, Future Event Horse divisions for yearlings through 3-year-olds, the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award for juniors and amateurs competing in the Training level, and the Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program. Competitors will be able to ride over new show jumps which debuted at the spring horse trials and jump new cross-country obstacles, designed by Morgan Rowsell.


Photo courtesy of Nancy Jones.

Each year Rowsell brings a fresh look to the courses by changing up the tracks and building new combinations. He typically designs move-up courses for the lower-levels, but competitors can expect more substantial courses than in the spring for Training, Preliminary and Intermediate levels. Seneca shares Bittersweet Field, which was founded by Austin Kiplinger and other Montgomery County, Maryland families in 1961, with the Potomac Hunt, who runs their steeplechase races at Bittersweet each year, with both organizations sharing the responsibility of maintaining the field. With limited use of the field, competitors are able to take advantage of excellent turf conditions.

Not able to ride, but still want to be involved? Volunteering is a great way to have a front row seat to Seneca while giving back to the sport and the Pony Club, Seneca participates in the USEA’s Volunteer Incentive Program (VIP) presented by Sunsprite Warmbloods. The VIP offers volunteers the chance to sign up using the website, www.eventingvolunteers.com or by downloading the smartphone app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. Seneca has open positions listed and volunteers can sign up and track their hours on the Area II and National leaderboards.

The Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials prides themselves on being an affordable competition that offers a variety of divisions and awards for horses and riders. Entries close on August 15th so be sure to get your entry filled out and sent in today to continue to support a self-funded horse trials! View everything you need to know on the Omnibus page.

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