Jan 07, 2021

USEA Events A-Z: Barnstaple South Horse Trials

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The Barnstaple South Horse Trials take place in Morriston, Florida (Area III) offering Beginner Novice through Preliminary levels. Barnstaple South currently has two USEA recognized events on the 2021 calendar, the first of which will take place this coming weekend and the second in early May.

Derek Strine purchased 80 acres in Morriston, Florida – about 30 minutes northwest of Ocala – in late 2018 with the vision to create a training facility for eventers. Barnstaple South opened to the public in January of 2019, offering clinics, schooling shows, and other schooling opportunities. In 2020, Barnstaple South hosted the USEA Educational Symposium, featuring the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP), USEA Future Event Horse (FEH), and USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) programs, and offered several FEH and YEH qualifying events throughout the year.

In 2021, Barnstaple South will be adding USEA recognized competitions to their offering for Beginner Novice through Preliminary level competitors. “Derek decided to start running horse trials as a way to broaden the variety of all Barnstaple has to offer,” explained event organizer Emily Holmes.

Lisa Madren Photo.

Barnstaple South has full cross-country courses for Elementary through Preliminary levels with portable fences, coffins, ditches, banks, drops, logs, and a water jump. “There is a very cool massive tower in the middle of cross country, so someone can pretty much stand on the tower and watch all the horses go,” Holmes described. “The course is on 30 acres of irrigated, very well-maintained grass with a wide variety of obstacles to offer. The jumps are all less than two years old. The jumps are moving frequently so schooling doesn't eat up the ground. It is mostly flat with little terrain.”

Additionally, the facility boasts two training barns with attached living quarters, two irrigated fiber arenas, a grass pad that is irrigated strictly for dressage, and a hot walker, all located directly next to HITS Ocala. While the facility is designed to cater to eventers, Holmes stressed that all disciplines are invited to train at Barnstaple.

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

“Derek Strine is the visionary behind the horse trials, with builders Mark McCleerey and Tommy Neneman,” Holmes shared. “Alice Andrews started as the organizer and I took over in the fall.” Hugh Lochore will be designing the cross-country courses and Chris Barnard will be the show jumping designer for Barnstaple’s upcoming USEA recognized events.

Holmes said it’s the people involved with the competitions at Barnstaple South that make the event so special. “We really care about the sport,” she said. “Derek and I are both very passionate about creating events that cater to helping professionals produce young horses and helping amateurs and young riders develop up the levels. Derek is awesome - we're constantly bouncing ideas off of each other!”

Lisa Madren Photo.

“We really care about developing the sport,” Holmes concluded. “We want the event to be fun, competitive, advantageous, and a great outing for all.”

Barnstaple South’s first USEA recognized event will take place this weekend, January 9-10. Their second event will be held on May 1-2.

The USEA profiles the history behind each USEA recognized event in the USEA Events A­-Z series.

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