The spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was canceled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show. As restrictions began to lift in May, we knew we needed to do something for our members so they could start prepping for the eventual upcoming show season as well as just get out and about to help keep the sanity.
We were so excited when we heard we would be able to host a cross-country schooling on May 16-17 and busily began the preparations to make it possible. Once insurance and the park dates were confirmed the only other hold up was, “How do we keep it to 10 participants at a time to honor the social distancing guidelines that were set by Johnson County?” and in true Midwestern fashion, we had a forecast of a solid week of rain leading up to the weekend.
Honestly, it went beautifully. People emailed or texted how many they would have in their group and two-hour time slots were assigned throughout the weekend. Trainers really worked hard to keep their groups organized and they were the main points of contact to minimize the confusion. We used STRIDER to have people sign up online and send their waivers. After a few days of constant communication (and some texting IT help to get the last few waivers) we had 100 percent of our payments and waivers of everyone who signed up by Friday night before the schooling weekend! The weather gods knew how badly we needed the weekend to happen, and all major storms for the week missed the park. We never get that lucky!
The footing was perfect. The weather was perfect! People showed up right before their assigned time slot and left when the next groups started. Check-in at the gate was 100 percent contact-less because everything had been done online prior to showing up. Our gate volunteers just had to ask for a name and just checked names off a list as people drove in, and if anyone has worked a gate for a cross-country schooling check-in, it can get quite busy. It was a true dream job and was flawless. Participants even brought their own water, buckets, and sponges so there was no contact of any kind. We had sanitizer and wipes on hand just in case someone needed to use the park’s water source. Groups of riders on course stayed to approximately 10 per time slot and rider’s commented frequently on how it felt like they were getting a private cross-country schooling due to the number restrictions. Many loved it and asked if it could be like that all of the time!
The smiles on the faces of our participants made the extra effort very much worth it. Happy riders, happy horses, and all of us finally back at it after the “longest winter ever!”
The USEA allowed educational activities to resume after May 13, 2020. Educational activities scheduled to be held after May 13 that are eligible for USEA recognition include clinics, camps, and cross-country schooling. All other activities applying for USEA recognition will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis until further notice. All educational activities must follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as federal, state, and local guidelines. Take a look at the complete list of USEA Educational Activities by clicking here. You can check out the Organizers' Guide for Educational Activities for more information on hosting a USEA Educational Activity and then fill out the Organizers' Application for Educational Activities.
Weren’t able to spend your morning glued to the livestream of the 2021 Maryland 5 Star cross-country? Couldn’t be there in person to trek up the hills? We have you covered with a play-by-play of what happened on Ian Stark’s cross-country course which gave both the designer and the riders many sleepless nights, but ended up riding quite well for the majority of the field.
The forecasted downpours held off until the last horse and rider crossed the finish flags during the CCI5*-L cross-country at the Maryland 5 Star today, confirming the event’s decision to move up the start. The majority of riders had sunny skies and a cool breeze as backdrop to tackle Ian Stark’s five-star course across the sprawling grounds at Fair Hill in Elkton, Md. Before cross-country there was much chatter about the testing terrain, but 11 pairs managed to make the time despite the hills. At the end of the day, the top three riders held onto their podium positions going into show jumping tomorrow with overnight leader Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B x The Swallow) impressing all who watched at each and every question.
It's the day we have all been waiting for, cross-country day at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star! Both the CCI5*-L and CCI3*-L field will contest Ian Stark's terrain-filled track across the historic grounds at Fair Hill today and there is lots of chatter about how the questions, terrain, and time allowed might impact the current placings.
Chris Talley came into the Dutta Corp USEA YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championships knowing that the Corwin Sport Horse LLC’s owned 5-year-old Hanoverian mare Gina (Gentleman x Ballerina) possessed a lot of quality, but to emerge victorious out of the 42 horse field was an absolute treat for the pair.