Nestled in the heart of St. Louis County is Queeny Park, the former estate of the late Mr. and Mrs. Edgar M. Queeny. This gorgeous public park features trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, a dog park, and so much more. On any given day you can find cyclists, walkers, families, and more enjoying the sprawling grounds of Queeny Park, but once a year eventers take over as the park hosts the Queeny Park Horse Trials. It is not uncommon for park visitors to watch from a safe distance as horses gallop across the grounds at Queeny Park, making it an event that truly anyone in the community can enjoy. This family-friendly staple in the St. Louis equestrian community has run for over 40 years, offering eventers in Area IV and beyond the opportunity to enjoy the park's ample space and terrain during the weekend-long event.
This year, the Queeny Park Horse Trials takes place June 11-12 and will offer Starter, Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Modified divisions. The dressage and show jumping phases take place on Saturday at the National Equestrian Center (NEC) in Lake St. Louis, Missouri, and the cross-country portion kicks off on Sunday at Queeny Park in Ballwin, Missouri. This will be the second year that the Queeny Park Horse will run in two locations and the decision to do so was made in an effort to provide ample, permanent stabling as well as high-quality footing for Queeny Park competitors to enjoy during the first two phases. A quick 20-minute drive is all it takes to get to Queeny Park for the final phase of competition. There, horse and rider pairs will have the opportunity to enjoy both woodlands and open areas with exceptionally maintained cross-country jumps scattered between both.
This year's cross-country and show jumping tracks are designed by William Robertson and will feature one really exciting new addition to the Training level track: a train jump built by Graham Schick.
The organizing team at Queeny Park Equestrian Events (QPEE) the 501c3 non-profit that manages the horse trials at Queeny Park have put in countless hours to prepare for this year's competition. They take great measures to ensure affordability for the competitors involved. In fact, this year the Queeny Park Horse Trials is the most affordable event taking place within Area IV. Over the course of the event's lifetime, volunteers have donated an impressive amount of time, over 90,000 hours, to maintaining the course, constructing and repairing fences, mowing grass on the cross-country track, and repairing fencing for competitor safety.
Many of the volunteers at Queeny have made the Horse Trials a longtime passion project. QPEE President and Queeny Park Horse Trials Secretary Christina DeMauro feels that her additional hours as a volunteer serve an important purpose in keeping opportunities for eventers alive in Area IV.
"I grew up in St. Louis with a love for eventing. As a child my parents joked that a close event was four hours away because eventing in the Midwest just requires putting in the road miles. We don’t have options to school close by like those on the East Coast do. When I graduated from college, the founding members of QPEE asked me to become a board member. I had no idea what was required to put on a show for the sport I love. We are responsible for fundraising for almost everything from machines to the fuel required to mow the land we use to show and so much more. I am currently working full-time, volunteering as President of QPEE and Secretary for the Horse Trials, in addition to showing my own horses. Being able to show my horse and get my qualifying rides for 2021 American Eventing Championships while volunteering was one of my prized memories in all my years of showing. I really hope we can continue to run our show while sharing my passion for eventing in St. Louis."
DeMauro isn't the only volunteer who is passionate about keeping the Queeny Park Horse Trials going. "As a rider, volunteer, and advocate for QPEE, I've been competing at the Queeny Park Horse Trials since 2012," shared Area IV Adult Rider Coordinator Julie Simmons. "The horse trials is a labor of love by our group and we need more riders to join us for our wonderful event! Each year the horse trials committee meets months in advance and goes over a many-page checklist to ensure a great experience for volunteers and competitors."
Elise Vandover has dedicated 15 years to the teams at QPEE and Queeny Park Horse Trials. Like her fellow volunteers, the many hours spent mowing, weed eating, and maintaining the grounds at the park all boil down to one thing: "I can honestly say that we all do this for the love of the horse, for the love of the sport of eventing, and the great friendships that we forge while working together for this common goal. All of us enjoy working hard to welcome you to this year’s Horse Trials!"
In 2021, riders from 14 different states made the trek to St. Louis County to compete in the 2021 Queeny Park Horse Trials, and the QPEE team hopes to welcome many of them back for the 2022 competition.
Liz Lund of Liz Lund Eventing and Copeland Farms in Independence, Minnesota was one of the trainers who make the haul in to Queeny from another state last year. Lund shared her thoughts on the event: "I went to Queeny Park Horse Trials last year for the first time with horses and students. We absolutely loved it! I love to help support the smaller shows and it was great that they offered the Modified level. The stabling and arenas at the National Equestrian Center were nice and I enjoyed that they offered the cross-country on the last day so we could pack up Saturday evening and haul over Sunday morning, ride, and then head home! I am hoping to continue to come for shows with horses and students!"
For trainer Alexis Baker, the Queeny Park Horse Trials is a staple on her competition calendar. "Queeny Park Horse Trials is a destination event for all of my students in the heart of Area IV. Having dressage and show jumping at the National Equestrian Center and cross-country at the iconic Queeny Park in St. Louis makes this event one of my favorites. The hometown feel of this event is second to none, bringing together so many friends each year. My husband is active duty in the Air Force, which has allowed me to attend many events all over the country. Queeny Park Horse Trials is by far one of the best and a can't miss on our calendar every year."
Entries for the 2022 event close on Tuesday, May 24th. Refer to the USEA Omnibus for more information on entering.
Volunteer sign-ups are still taking place! Support your local horse trials by volunteering, contact Vandover here for more information.
Learn more about the history of the Queeny Park Horse Trials here.
Anyone who has ever gone from driving a runaround to taking the wheel of a Ferrari can testify that that there are cars—and then, there are cars. Ben Noonan had a similar epiphany on horseback when he went from riding a trail horse over cross-country fences to riding an eventer. “I didn’t really understand why everyone liked eventing so much,” said Ben, now 18 and on the cusp of a professional career, “until I was riding an event horse.”
From the tadpole division at the local starter horse trials through the CCI5* at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day, equestrian competition brings people together. At every level, horse shows can expand community and foster growth for the sport of eventing.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is excited to announce the renewed partnership with Auburn Laboratories, Inc. as a Silver Level Sponsor of the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC). Auburn Laboratories will provide gift certificates for one bottle of APF to the top three winners in every AEC division. This year’s AEC will be held August 30-September 4 at the beautiful Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana.
The 2022 United States Eventing Association (USEA) Annual Meeting and Convention will be a special year celebrating eventing in the historical city of Savannah, Georgia. Taking place December 7-11, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel, the USEA will also be celebrating the 8th Eventing Hall of Fame in true southern style.