With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games taking place in the summer of 2020, athletes in all Olympic disciplines are hard at work to qualify. Equestrian disciplines are no different, and the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event is proud to serve as the only Olympic qualifying event in the Southeast United States for three-day eventing. Best described as an equestrian triathlon, the same horse and rider combination competes in three different disciplines over the course of three days – dressage, show jumping, and the popular cross-country competition which includes around 10 minutes of galloping over rolling hills with up to 40 cross-country jumps such as logs and water crossings.
“To serve as an Olympic qualifying event in just the fourth running of this event speaks to the quality of Marion County for equestrian sport in general, and the Ocala Jockey Club in particular”, said Pavla Nygaard, President of the Ocala Jockey Club. The excellent footing, viewing opportunities, and stunning spectator-friendly rolling hill terrain have propelled the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event to bring $1 million of annual economic impact to Marion County and to win the 2018 Florida Sports Foundation Small Market Event of the Year Award. In recognition of its sports tourism value, the event has been generously supported with a grant by the Marion County Visitors & Convention Bureau (MCVCB) as well as numerous local and national sponsors.
Dan Millstead of Equine Turf is again in charge of developing the turf gallops and arenas. The cross-country courses are designed by Olympic individual silver medalist Clayton Fredericks under the wing of Mike Etherington-Smith, the course designer for the Sydney and Beijing Olympic Games, as course advisor. In a Horse Capital TV video preview, Mike Etherington-Smith says: “It is a designer’s dream to be able to design at a venue like this. We both have been involved in eventing all over the world for many, many years. This features one of the best venues around. It really is spectacular. There is mature parkland, there are mature trees. Over the last few years, there has been a huge amount of work on the ground to upgrade the footing, and that’s the most important thing. It’s just a fantastic place to do it.”
Regarding the course design changes for this year’s event, Clayton Fredericks says: “We’re into our fourth year of the event. I had the idea to change the direction that we’re going in some of the places, so that is going to mix it up a bit and make it different for the riders when they come. We are turning some of the combinations around and giving it just a different feel.” With around 30 new or rebuilt fences, there will be plenty of new questions for riders and their equine partners.
This year’s fourth annual Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event is set to run November 14-17, 2019. Along with the eventing competition, there will be plenty of other spectator attractions with demonstrations, a kid zone, vendor village, and food vendors. General admission is $10 per day, or $25 for weekend admission and the event program. Parking is free. Tailgating is available on Saturday cross-country day for $95. VIP access in the picturesque Fireside Room of the OJC Clubhouse starts at $250. Tickets and event information are available on the event website at www.ojc3de.com.
About 200 acres of the 950-acre Ocala Jockey Club property serve as a Thoroughbred training farm and to stand stallions. The facility also includes townhouses and an iconic clubhouse, which serves as a unique venue for weddings, meetings, and other special events. For more information on the Ocala Jockey Club, visit www.ocalajc.com.
Over the previous decade, the number of upper level event horses that remain at the highest levels of the sport for extended periods of time has anecdotally been dwindling. Also, it is rare to see horses return to represent the U.S. on international teams. This discussion features statistics provided by the USEA and EquiRatings to strengthen our understanding of this issue and perspectives from coaches, trainers, riders, grooms, and veterinary professionals on the possible reasons and solutions.
For 60 years the members of the USEA have been coming together to discuss the business of the Association and make important decisions to keep the sport of eventing thriving in America. The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention has turned into four days full of meetings and more, but the Annual Meeting remains the backbone.
The focus of this presentation is mindfulness practice, how it ties into the core principles of mindset, fitness, nutrition, and community, and how these topics foster optimal performance in and out of the saddle. As equestrians, we invest a lot of time and energy making sure that our horses are in their best shape to compete and in doing so we often sweep our own needs to the side.
Each year at the USEA Convention, the Rule Change Open Forum looks to the future to discuss changes to the USEF Rules for Eventing for the upcoming competition season. Convention attendees have the opportunity to hear which changes are coming down the pipeline and have their questions answered.