Each summer Ian Stark designs a big, bold, brush-filled course for the riders to tackle at The Event at Rebecca Farm and this year is no different. In his eighth year of designing in Kalispell, Montana, Stark has set out 25 numbered questions for the CCI4*-L over approximately 6,000 meters and 20 numbered questions for the CCI4*-S over approximately 3,900 meters.
Rebecca Farm has always used a pivot watering system, but the last few years the event has used the watering pod system from Richland Park and Stark said that has made all the difference. “For me this is the best ever footing we have had,” said Stark. “The pivot does a lot of the watering, but there are a lot of outreaching areas it doesn’t get to and these pods can get everywhere. It makes a tremendous difference.”
“Jerome [Broussard] has taken it upon himself to do a schedule of watering and it is honestly the best footing. Normally we stop the pivot on the Tuesday and this year I asked him if we could keep going right up to cross-country day,” concluded Stark.
Fence 1 (The Train), fence 2 (The Brush Oxer), and fence 3 (The Mountain Table) get things rolling for the riders. “The first three fences are just galloping fences to get the horses up into the air,” said Stark. “I like to make the early fences straightforward, but big because I like to get the horses jumping. Some places they start them lower and build up, but for fresh horses at the beginning if they are too small they aren’t going to respect them.”
The first combination comes at fence four – a Hanging Log in the water to a Shark’s Tooth. “This is your early morning wake up call,” said Stark.
Watch below at Stark walks us through several of the influential combinations on course:
4ab - Hanging Log to Shark's Tooth
7ab - Brush Corners
13/14 - Hanging log to Corner
16abc - Normandy Bank
17ab - Ditch Brushes
22abcd - Gator, Tabasco Bottle, Swamp Log to Water Drop
24 - The Trotter
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"No matter how old you are, be open to all disciplines, learn how to ride a dressage horse, a gaited horse, a show jumper. Go fox hunting and point-to-pointing and horse showing. You’ll learn from all of them and when you do decide which discipline you want to do, you’ll be better at it anyway.”
The University of Findlay’s Three-Day Eventing Team was established in 2013, the same year USEA voted and approved the USEA intercollegiate program. The UF team has over 30 members encompassing a variety of majors at the university. The team has access to two indoor arenas, a large outdoor arena, and 70 acres of on-site cross-country fences.
Bellamy, an Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding of unknown breeding, came to Tamra Smith’s farm in Southern California with his mane half-way down his neck and filled with burrs. Bellamy had been sitting in a field for a little over a year after unseating several riders in a row and Smith, known for being good with tricky horses, agreed to take him on.