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.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.
Get to know each United States Eventing Association (USEA) Areas a little better in this new series, Meet the Areas! This month’s feature is USEA Area I which is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Founded in the 1960s, Area I was the birthplace of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA) which was founded in 1959 and would later evolve into the USEA in 2001. In 2021 just under 800 members made up the membership count in Area I.
Trainers, riders, parents, and more are in for a real treat when the all-new USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is officially released. Those participating in the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first to set eyes on this all-encompassing guide that has been two years in the making.
The USEA established the Young Event Horse (YEH) program in 2004 to identify young horses that possess the talent and disposition to, with proper training, excel at the uppermost levels of the sport. While the goal of the YEH program is to identify horses that will be successful at the four- and five-star levels, horses with the potential for lower-level success are also showcased by the program.