With the goal of expanding the sport of eventing to the Southwest corner of Florida, the Event at TerraNova in Myakka City, Florida was born! A new addition to the 2021 eventing calendar held October 22-24, the Event at TerraNova has a powerhouse of a team behind their organizational efforts in order to make their inaugural year a slam dunk for competitors. TerraNova started as a personal barn with the ambitions of building a lesson and training program, but upon recognizing the need for horse trials outside of the Ocala area, Hannah Herrig Ketelboeter and her husband Zach decided to take the plunge.
“We have a whole team of amazing people with years of experience with high level events around the world,” shared Ketelboeter. “However, none of them would be on the project without Sara Kozumplik Murphy. She was a huge help in connecting us to all of the right people to make sure our vision for a spectacular event comes to life, and she has been a huge supporter from the start. Of course, I can't forget my family who has made this all possible. My parents aren't ‘horse people’ but they fully support our goals for TerraNova, and they've been having fun seeing it all come to life so far.”
The stunning facilities at TerraNova have grown immensely since the Ketelboeter’s dream of hosting a Horse Trials became a reality, but they aren’t stopping there! “We are always working to make sure the facilities are top-notch, and the final vision will continue to come together over the next several years,” shared Ketelboeter. “Currently, we have six all-weather arenas in place and a fully irrigated cross-country course. Our goal has always been to maintain the natural, park-like feel of the property, while still providing great amenities for the people & horses. The property is surrounded by a thick forest of oak trees, and our main arena is right alongside a four-acre lake, which makes for spectacular views!”
With a cross-country course designed by Capt. Mark Phillips and built by Eric Bull, competitors are guaranteed not only a stunning course to ride, but one that features fair challenges for each level. The team at TerraNova has worked with multiple footing experts to ensure that the footing on cross-country is top-notch and safe for each horse that gallops out of the start box. One of the unique highlights of the cross-country tracks are feature fences which are modeled to resemble local landmarks.
On what makes the Event at TerraNova an event that competitors won’t want to miss, Ketelboeter shared, “There are so many details we are working on to make our event unique, but I think there are two things that stand out the most for me. First, we wanted it to be a special, destination event for all levels of riders, so we are offering Starter through CCI4*-S. We have prize money and for every level, and the quality of courses will be the same whether you are going Starter or four-star. Second, we have a charity aspect to our event that involves ALL riders. The competition will be divided into three teams representing three predetermined local charities. The scores of each team will be added up at the end of the weekend, and the winning charity will receive $10,000, second place $7,500, and third place $5,000. Riders also have the option to choose which of the three charities they would like to represent. Not only is this an opportunity to give back to the local community, but also a neat opportunity to create a sense of community among competitors and for young riders to be on a team with their upper level idols!”
Excellent footing and immaculate facilities are definitely a focus for the TerraNova team, but Ketelboeter wants potential competitors and spectators to know that the entire team is also dedicated to creating an experience for all of those who attend.
“We are doing our best to make it a fun and memorable experience for everyone, and it always rewarding to see that turn out successfully. We have a lot to offer with our competitor welcome party, VIP/hospitality tent, cross-country tailgating, Saturday night competitor dinner, vendor village, awards ceremonies, live streaming, charity component, and so much more in the works for this year and future years! We hope competitors stick around to take advantage of all the amenities, so we can keep providing them in the future and create a sense of community during the event. The facility is still in the beginning stages, so each year there will be something new and exciting to experience!”
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Horses and riders in 12 divisions, from Starter to CCI4*-S, tackled the show jumping phase of competition Sunday at The Event at TerraNova, over a track designed by Nick Granat in the world-class setting of the main arena. Prize money was awarded in all divisions.
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