Jun 24, 2019

Fox River Valley Horse Trials Brings FEI Eventing Back to Area IV

By Caroline Charette - Fox River Valley Pony Club
Lynnea Woody and Prince Eric in the CCI2*-L at the Fox River Valley Pony Club Horse Trials. John Borys Photography Photo.

Area IV’s Fox River Valley Pony Club (FRVPC) Horse Trials held in Barrington Hills, Illinois just outside of Chicago wrapped up an exciting weekend of competition which saw the return of the FEI CCI2* level including the CCI2*-L and CCI2*-S formats!

For almost five decades, the Fox River Valley Pony Club, with the support of an entire community, has helped organize, host, and support the FRVPC Horse Trials. FRVPC recognized how important international level competition was to the Area IV Eventing community and decided to bring back the FEI divisions. Instituting was a very large feat, but the event was a huge success!

USEA/Rob Burk Photo.

This year, Jay Hambly, FEI international cross-country course designer and lead builder for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics designed the cross-country courses from Starter to CCI2* level. Brody Robertson was the show jumping course designer for the first time.

Hambly's cross-country courses were extremely well received, challenging the riders while riding well. We had a gorgeous day for cross-country and Hambly had this to say about how the CCI courses rode: “I think [the rode] very well and the riders all made smart decisions and finished with better horses than they started with.”

The Training course seemed to be the most challenging but very educational for the horses and riders with many getting around after second attempts at the more challenging questions.

John Borys Photography Photo.

Everyone was accepted at the final jogs for both the CCI2*-L and CCI2*-S.

The event was also hosting a Pony Club Rally in conjunction with the horse trials this year and all the Pony Clubbers also had to present their horses and ponies to the ground jury at the beginning of the competition as well as on the final morning.

We were thrilled that CEO of the United States Eventing Association Rob Burk came to volunteer at our event this weekend! This is what he had to say about our event: “This is a wonderful event and it is obvious how much the volunteers and organizers love this event. The mix of the Pony Club rally and the horse trials make it even more special. I will definitely be back to visit!”

Kaylianna McMorris and Clifton Peekachu, winners of the Junior Novice Rider A division. John Borys Photography Photo.

Peter Gray, President of the Ground Jury and dressage judge, said he was here three years ago and the event continuously improves with the quality of the courses and the track, this year being excellent.

In 2020, FRVPC Horse Trials will celebrate its 50th year! In addition to supporting the sport of eventing in the Midwest and the educational mission of the FRVPC Pony Club, the running of the FRVPC Horse Trials also plays a critical role in the preservation of open space in the unique equestrian area of Barrington Hills. It is a truly special event that unites an entire community and a legacy we hope will continue on for years to come.

Take a look at www.FRVPCHorseTrials.org to learn more about the horse trials.

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I have had many young horses in my time, and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s rarely the perfect, easy baby that becomes the next superstar. In fact, I’ve always considered it a positive to have the well-behaved youngster throw a little bit of attitude my way, as I believe that it takes fight to become a great event horse.

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