Note: Throughout 2023, the United States Eventing Association will be putting the spotlight on each area and sharing how they will uniquely contribute to the growth of the sport of eventing. After starting the series with Area X, Area III, Area VI, Area V, Area II, and Area I, the next area featured is Area IV.
The United States Eventing Association’s (USEA) Area IV is comprised of the Heartland states of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Area IV Chair Jill Wagenknecht says that eventing in the Area makes up the heart of what the sport of eventing represents: community, dedication, as well as having fun.
Area IV will host 16 USEA-recognized events (including one USEA-recognized combined test) in 2023 during a concentrated season that begins with the Catalpa Corner May Madness Horse Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, on May 6 and concludes with the Windermere Run H.T in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 20-22.
“It’s your hometown events,” is how Wagenknecht describes them. “Everything kind of has a different flavor.”
There will definitely be flavor to the Area IV Championships in 2023 that will take place during the 10th edition of the Sundance Farm H.T. in Plymouth, Wisconsin from September 29 to October 1. Sundance hosted the Area IV Championships in 2020. With how big Area IV is covering eight states—the most of any USEA Area—the Championships rotate regularly and were subsequently held at the Heritage Park H.T. in Olathe, Kansas, in 2021 and at the Otter Creek Fall H.T. in Wheeler, Wisconsin, in 2022.
A Modified Championship in Area IV will be offered for the first time in 2023 with Sundance Farm adding the level. There will be several special attractions to commemorate Sundance’s 10th year of USEA-recognized horse trials and the championships.
“We give out big checks, which I think is fun, like from Happy Gilmore,” Wagenknecht said. “It will be one of those gigantic checks that will be like for $200 or something. We do have a lot of fun with that. We also do pretty good prizes for our championships. It’s a fun area.”
Sundance’s addition of Modified is part of a larger theme of expansion of levels and cross-country development in Area IV. Otter Creek, which hosts three USEA-recognized horse trials, the most annually in Area IV, will add a Modified level starting with the Otter Creek Summer H.T. in 2023. Windermere Run and Catalpa Corner added Modified in 2022.
Queeny Park in Ballwin, Missouri, introduced Modified in the first year the level was offered in 2017. This year, Queeny Park is promoting “ALL NEW XC Tracks!” on the omnibus for its Queeny Park H.T. that will coincide with the 2023 United States Pony Club Eventing Central Championships on June 10-11.
“Right now we’re moving almost all the jumps into our big cross-country field so that it will be more of a galloping course because before we started and you had to go through this little trail and out and then back,” said Wagenknecht, who is the organizer of Queeny Park. “I think it’s going to be exciting because we haven’t had it like this for a while.”
Continuing with the theme expansion in Area IV, Woodloch Stable in Hugo, Minnesota, hosted its first USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) competition in 2022 and will offer a qualifier in 2023 for YEH, as well as the USEA New Event Horse (NEH) Program in 2023. The dates will shift from July in 2022 to June in 2023.
In addition to looking to the future in Area IV, looking to the past connects Area IV back to eventing’s roots. U.S. Equestrian teams at early Olympic games were made up of members of the army, and eventing in particular was developed “to test Cavalry Officers’ chargers for their fitness and suitability,” according to Major General Jonathan R. Burton in the article “The Cavalry and the Olympics” that he wrote for the 60th anniversary special edition of the USEA’s Eventing in America magazine.
A cavalry school was located in Fort Riley, Kansas. The 1959 Pan American Games were held in Chicago, Illinois, and that’s where the famous meeting that led to the formation of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA), the predecessor to the USEA, was held.
From the USEA’s roots to its expansion to new levels, Area IV continues to be part of the “heartland” of eventing in the United States.
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.
After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.