Oct 26, 2015

Stuart Horse Trials Going Out on a High Note

By Stuart Horse Trials - Press Release
Kyra Stuart presents Leslie Law with an award at the 2010 Stuart Horse Trials. USEA Photo

Cherished “Triathlon of Equestrian Sport” Concludes After 26 Years

Every July since 1990, the Stuart Horse Trials has hosted thousands of local through international level riders and their horses to compete in the sport of eventing while being cheered on by thousands of spectators. Today, the organization has announced that 2015 was its final year.

Former competitor Heidi Vahue, who took Stuart’s “organizational reins” in 2013, says although it’s sad to see Stuart Horse Trials end, she and the Board of Directors “are proud to have offered something so special for so long.”

Kyra Stuart, founding organizer, recalls, “We started out as a local competition with 75 riders and grew into an international destination event. It has been a joy to see both our local riders with their up-and-coming horses and international competitors progress and benefit from the ‘Stuart experience’ as they moved up to the highest levels.”

Vahue concurs: “It’s been our honor to host Olympic, World Equestrian and Pan Am Games equestrian competitors through local riders, all of whom have been challenged by our terrain and our meticulous, Derek di Grazia-designed courses.” Vahue also notes that as a non-profit organization, education has been a large part of its mission. Through the years, Stuart hosted various educational clinics and schooling days taught by world-renowned instructors for the benefit of local equestrians.

Charitable organizations also have been recipients of Stuart’s generosity. The Horse Trials donated over $130,000 to such organizations as Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, EquiCenter, National Fragile X Foundation, Genesee Valley Hunt, local ambulance companies, Victor YMCA, Western New York Regional Pony Club, and Mercy Flight Central. Together, Stuart competitors and spectators have contributed millions to the local economy.

The Stuart Horse Trials was noted for many things, not the least of which was its unique location: the wide-open acreage of five contiguous landowners’ properties in Victor, NY. But the sport is changing, notes Vahue, with more horse park venues offering consistent, all-weather footing. “When you’re literally in someone’s backyard, there are elements you can’t always control.” In the last number of years, Stuart was a pioneering force behind significant national improvements in rider safety and live scoring.

Vahue and the Stuart Horse Trials board of directors are unanimous in acknowledging that their success would not have been possible without the patrons, sponsors, landowners, and hundreds of volunteers working year-round to make this a “destination event.” Vahue also expressed gratitude to the town of Victor for their appreciation of the prestige and economic benefit the horse trials brought to the area.

Last year, Jo Whitehouse, former CEO of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) recognized Stuart Horse Trials for being “a vital component of the USEA’s National Competition schedule for 25 years, offering educational cross-country courses that have played an important part in the development of many of our international team horses.”

“Long ago, we were the first and only CIC (Concours International Combiné) level competition in all of Area 1,” Vahue remembers. “Riders now have have many more choices and are competing more often. We’ll miss them, but wish them the best of luck in their competitive careers.”

Media Contact: Amy Blum PR 585-880-1698

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Weekend Quick Links: May 25-26

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

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