Aug 13, 2019

Harkin Family to Continue the MeadowCreek Park Legacy

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Cosmo Flores-Kinney/Horse Show Paparazzi Photo.

The MeadowCreek Park Horse Trials was founded on 100 acres outside of Kosse, Texas by Sam and Jodye Lindsey in 1991. With the help of prominent Area V eventer Alyce Hinkle, the Lindseys turned MeadowCreek Park into a premiere eventing venue and hosted their first horse trials at the park in 1992. After 20 successful years of running the MeadowCreek Park Horse Trials, they passed the baton to Robbie and Brad Peterson.

Robbie Peterson rechristened the MeadowCreek Park Horse Trials as “The Spring Social Event” and “The Fall Social Event” to encompass on the social aspects of the eventing community, and the event continued to run successfully under her organization. After seven years, the Petersons are passing the torch to Angelique, Shawn, and their daughter Kaitlyn Harkin, who will continue the legacy of MeadowCreek Park.

“My husband and I had been talking about wanting to get land again,” explained Angelique. “I mentioned it to a trainer friend of mine who said that Robbie was looking to transition out. Our family had become familiar with MeadowCreek Park while Kailtyn was on the Texas A&M Eventing Team. We started talking, I convinced my husband – I didn’t think he would go for it. He was excited about the opportunity to have the land and not have to run cows, so we started the process.”

“When you find people who approach you because they want to do it, are passionate about it, and they understand the sport well enough to know what they’re getting into, it would have been silly for me to not take advantage of an opportunity that seemed like such a perfect situation,” said Robbie. “[The Harkins and I] have been working behind the scenes for a long time just because we both felt like it was such a perfect fit and we were going to do whatever it took to make it happen. There was a lot of team effort with myself and the Harkins all pulling on the same end of the rope to get to a place where everything kept lining up for success. We were all very committed to finding a way to make it work.”

Robbie and the Harkins are continuing that team effort to ensure a smooth transition. “Nobody wants to take over running a venue cold turkey, so I’m staying on staff as show manager and co-organizer for the September Horse Trials,” Robbie explained. “I want to give them every opportunity to pick up in 2020 feeling like they’ve had all the training they can possibly get and jump in head first and go for it. They’re really enthusiastic and energetic about it and I really think they’re going make some great changes and do some good things with it.”

Angelique explained that she and Shawn have already begun working on improvements since closing on the property on June 1. “It needs a little TLC but we’re up to the challenge. Luckily, my husband knows how to build things! He’s already resurfaced five of the cross-country jumps and we’re in the process of putting some bridges on the property. We’re just really excited to have the opportunity.”

“We absolutely want to continue the USEA horse trials, so we’re in the process of doing the transition paperwork now to transfer those over to us so we keep the dates, keep the numbers, and keep the history because It will be 30 years of running programs at MeadowCreek in the next couple of years,” Angelique continued. “In addition, we’re working with Carsten Meyer on the cross-country course, on the footing, and upgrading the jumps so we’re able to change something and not always have it be the same course for the riders. We also have plans for improvements to the dressage and jumping arenas – fencing them in and focusing on the footing."

Angelique is also enthusiastic about plans for new programs at MeadowCreek. One such plan in the works is “Jumps and Brunch,” where, on certain open schooling weekends, they will bring in a course designer to set a show jumping course and host a brunch on Sunday. “We’re also looking to bring in clinicians once or twice a year, because I know there’s definitely a need for that in Central Texas.”

“It’s important for people to know that we’re looking to continue MeadowCreek’s history and the love of the sport,” she said. “To continue to offer a safe, nice, secure place for people to come. Our family is big on collaboration and feedback, so we’re open to suggestions, feedback, and great ideas. My philosophy is that it doesn’t matter whose idea it is as long as it’s the best idea. We want people to know that we have an open-door policy and we want the feedback and to know your ideas and if there are improvements to be made or things we can do differently or better. That’s the stuff we need to know because that’s the only way we’re going to continue to improve and raise the bar.”

MeadowCreek Park is accepting entries for The Fall Social Event, taking place September 7-8, 2019, until August 20. Please note that, due to an outbreak of Vesicular Stomatitis in the area, health certificates will be required for all horses attending The Fall Social Event.

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