Copper Meadows Horse Trials in Ramona, California (Area VI), runs three USEA recognized events a year in March, June, and September, offering Intro through Advanced level competition. In September, Copper Meadows also hosts CIC*, CIC2* and CIC3* divisions. In addition to these USEA recognized events, Copper Meadows hosts Look B4 You Leap Clinics and Sun Series One-Day Horse Trials throughout the year.
In 1999, Taren Hoffos’ parents, Robin and Carolyn Hoffos, purchased a 70-acre property on the outskirts of Ramona, California. Over the next year, the Hoffos worked tirelessly to add everything the property would need to host an event, including infrastructure, arenas, and, most importantly, a cross-country course. In 2000, Copper Meadows hosted their first USEA recognized event. According to Copper Meadows’ website, “At the inaugural event, Robin Hoffos was the announcer, Taren ran the ‘snack shack,’ and the Hoffos’ son, Drew, operated the water truck.”
“My mom grew up horse-crazy,” explained Taren. “She got her first horse at age 10 and has ridden ever since. She rode dressage for many years, and when she discovered eventing - through putting me in lessons at an eventing barn - her new dream became to own her own facility and run events.”
Even though the event has grown since its inception in 2000, Copper Meadows has worked hard to keep the feeling of a family-run event. “I think that our event is special because it is small and, up until recently, family run. Even though Robert [Kellerhouse] and Del Mar Eventing now put the shows on, we retain the family feel. My brother caters the competitor's dinner, my dad's band plays the party, and my mom and I ride in the show and help out as much as we can.”
Copper Meadows has a dedicated team of volunteers that help make everything happen. Chief among those supporters is Margie Davis, Copper Meadows’ volunteer coordinator. “She's been our volunteer coordinator since the beginning of time,” said Taren. “She's gotten so good at this job that she now does it for Galway Downs also. She's the most loyal Copper Meadows fan ever!”
Copper Meadows also has a great relationship with the local businesses, including Elston Hay and Grain, the local feed store. “They’ve been a sponsor since the beginning of the show, and never hesitate to donate to make the show successful. They are truly interested in seeing the show succeed.”
“I think the best day of the event is the day everyone arrives,” said Taren. “The anticipation and hard work of the months before comes to a head the week of the event, and when I see the trailers pull in I am happy to see my friends in my backyard, but also feel so much pride for our beautiful facility.
Copper Meadows is a boarding and training operation in addition to an event venue. The permanent barns and office are near the front of the property by the show jumping and upper-level dressage court. Adjacent to that are additional arenas for dressage and warm-up, temporary stabling for competitors, and trailer parking. The back 40 acres of the property houses the cross-country courses for Intro through Advanced levels.
“Two signature things about our facility have to be the huge (30') eucalyptus trees planted in a row that separates the cross-country from the arenas, and the massive boulders sprinkled throughout the cross-country course. The eucalyptus were planted to create a wind barrier back when the land was used for farming. The boulders are gorgeous, and create striking views and interesting terrain - great for building cross-country jumps around!”
“The cross-country course has always been one that we've considered a good move up course,” said Taren. “We're a small facility, and I think our strength is in creating a show that is a positive experience for horses and riders. We added FEI levels [in 2014] which is exciting, but I still think that our focus is rooted in being a 'low stress' type of show. The course is beautifully built, with lots of original jumps, dating from our inaugural show in 2000, built by Bert Wood. We've got three water jumps, many banks and ditches. It's a great course for schooling too!”
“We're all about a friendly, hospitable experience at Copper Meadows,” concluded Taren, and anyone who has attended an event at Copper Meadows will attest to that. “We love our facility and try very hard to make every competitor feel welcome.”
The USEA is profiling the history behind all USEA recognized events in the USEA Events A-Z series.
From Washington to Vermont, Championships were held on both coasts over the September 18-19 weekend. The Area I Championships took place at the GMHA September Horse Trials in South Woodstock, Vermont where over 60 pairs battled it out for the champion title. The organizers of the Area I Championships would like to thank Essex Equine Inc. for serving as the official pinny sponsors and North Bridge Equine for being the start box sponsor! Flatlandsfoto was the prize sponsor for the championship divisions, as well as the event’s official photographer. Following the weekend’s festivities, we chatted with some of the newly minted champions to share their thoughts on the weekend and their performance overall.
The first of the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) East Coast Champions were crowned today at the FEH East Coast Championships held at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland. Eight colts and fillies were presented to judges Robin Walker and Lori Hoos in the FEH 4-year-old Championship, while the 3-year-old division was split into two sections: a FEH 4-year-old Colt Championship consisting of eight colts, and a FEH 4-year-old Filly Championship consisting of ten fillies.
The Area VII Championships were one of three Area Championships to run over the weekend of September 18-19. The Aspen Farms Horse Trials of Yelm, Washington was host to the over 150 combinations who qualified for the Area VII year-end Championships presented by Tin Men Supply. With ten Championship divisions running over the course of the weekend, the team of staff and volunteers putting on the event were quite busy ensuring that the Championship atmosphere was top-notch!
The 2021 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) Championships will take place at three different regional competitions. The first of the three to kick off the FEH Championship season is the FEH East Coast Championships which will start on Saturday, September 25, and run through Sunday, September 26 at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland. The 2021 USEA FEH Central and West Coast Championships will take place in October.