Feb 21, 2019

USEA Events A-Z: May Daze at the Park Horse Trials

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Photo courtesy of the Champagne Run Farm Facebook page.

The May Daze at the Park Horse Trials are held yearly in late May at the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) in Lexington, Kentucky (Area VIII) offering Starter through Intermediate levels.

When Russell Tudor stopped running the Blue Grass Horse Trials at the Kentucky Horse Park, Maggie Wright, organizer of the Champagne Run at the Park Horse Trials, stepped in to fill the empty space in the calendar and in 1999 the May Daze at the Park Horse Trials was born. “Having organized the Champagne Run at the Park Horse Trials since 1994, we had a knowledgeable volunteer base who were critical in running this show,” said Wright.

Wright opened her Champagne Run Farm down the road from the Kentucky Horse Park in 1990, and it has been her students and clients who have contributed to the success of not only the May Daze at the Park Horse Trials, but also the Champagne Run at the Park Horse Trials and the numerous unrecognized schooling events that Wright hosts at KHP and her own farm throughout the year. “Our students and barn family and their energy continue to be vital to the success of our competitions today,” Wright stated.

JJ Sillman Photo.

Wright credits Nancy Clinkinbeard and Lori Shook, her longtime secretaries and stabling stewards, for their help making the event possible over the last 20 years. “They both have full time jobs with Nancy running her own business and Lori working as a neo-natal intensive care doctor,” Wright explained. “I can't thank them enough for their time and energy spent dealing with the variety of entries and ride time scheduling. Many long nights were spent dealing with old-fashioned, hand-written entries. They are both thankful for online entries today!”

“Before automated scoring, we were fortunate enough to have the services of the wonderful Janie Atkinson (EEI Executive Director) and her crew including Helen Coleman (mother of current EEI Competition Director Vanessa Coleman), Nancy Herring, and Carmen Rader-Bowles,” Wright continued. “We all knew to leave the ‘ladies’ in the scoring trailer alone until last score was in!”

JJ Sillman Photo.

“We are also very thankful to have Carolyn Borgert and Rudy Vogt as our longtime cross-country jump judge coordinators as well as JJ Johnson as our chief of control,” Wright said.

Held at the Kentucky Horse Park in late May, the May Daze at the Park Horse Trials give riders the opportunity to gallop across the bluegrass that hosted some of the best riders in the world at the Kentucky Three-Day Event just a month before. Steve Buckman designs the courses for Beginner Novice through Intermediate while Wright herself designs the Starter level courses.

“I enjoy May Daze as a good first spring event and love to see the smiling faces of riders after a successful cross-country round,” concluded Wright. “We see a lot of enthusiasm for the event since it is the first time riding over KHP’s cross-country course after they watch the Kentucky Three-Day Event. “I believe [our event] gives riders a good and confident start to their competition season.”\

The USEA is profiling the history behind all USEA recognized events in the USEA Events A­-Z series.

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