Dec 27, 2018

USEA Events A-Z: Middle Tennessee Pony Club Horse Trials

Carissa Lynn Photography Photo.

The Middle Tennessee Pony Club Horse Trials in Nashville, Tennessee (Area III) is run once yearly at Percy Warner Park on the first weekend in October, offering Starter through Preliminary levels. It is the oldest continuously running recognized horse trials in the United States.

The first horse trials in America was produced in 1953 at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tennessee under the direction of Miss Margaret Lindsley Warden, writer of the 'Horse Sense' column in The Nashville Tennessean newspaper that ran for 55 years. Miss Warden became interested in the subject after reading an article by Major General Jonathan Burton in The Chronicle of the Horse, who was then stationed in the Military Calvary at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Major General Jonathan R. Burton. USEA Archives Photo.

Warden invited Major Burton to demonstrate dressage atThe Nashville Tennessean sponsored initial pleasure horse and horsemanship show, The Horse Sense Riding Tournament, late in 1952. The next year, The Southeast's Initial One-Day Event was added to the Second Annual Horse Sense Riding Tournament. Major Burton participated, along with Major Paul M. Wimert and several local riders. Majors Burton and Wimert officiated often at these horse trials after retiring from the cavalry.

In the fall of 1954, the Olympic Three-Day Trials ran along with the Riding Tournament and and One Day Event. By 1960, the The Southeast's Initial One-Day Event had grown to become the Nashville-Tennessean One-Day Horse Trials and was included in the list of USCTA sanctioned events.

The 1960 list of USEA sanctioned events. USEA Archives Photo.

In 1979, the Middle Tennessee Pony Club became the official sponsor of the Nashville-Tennessean One-Day Horse Trials. Miss Warden was also the founder of the Pony Club in 1954, the first Pony Club chartered in the United States. This past October, MTPC Horse Trials celebrated the event's 66th anniversary. The original structure of this type of competition remains steadfast, with dressage and cross-country on day one and show jumping on day two.

As noted above, the event began and grew under the guidance of Miss Warden. When the Pony Club took over the organizational responsibilities, she remained involved but the Pony Club District Commissioners (DCs) took over the organizational responsibilities. In 1986, Co-DCs Monty West and JJ Johnson took on the responsibilities, and Johnson continues to play an important role.

The Middle Tennessee Pony Club continues to hold the event, led by the Organization Committee made up of Johnson, Peppy Butler, and Delana Owen. Butler, who is a lifelong Pony Club member, parent and former DC, is the driving force of the event and works closely with the Percy Warner Park staff and all officials and volunteers for all of phases of the event.

Carissa Lynn Photography Photo.

Peggy Snow served as secretary beginning in 1983 through 2006. Fred and Leigh Roberts stood in for 2007, then Deborah Lovett was the event secretary until 2013 until Delana Owen, current Pony Club DC and Pony Club parent, took over that role five years ago. Many other families have remained involved even after their children 'graduate' from Pony Club and the event could not carry on without this support from long-term volunteers in the Middle Tennessee community.

Percy and Edwin Warner Parks are a 3,100-acre facility in a historical location within the city limits of Nashville, Tennessee. A portion of Percy Warner Park has a section devoted to equestrian use and the MTPC Horse Trials shares this area with the long-established Iroquois Steeplechase, held every year in May since 1941. The race is named for Pierre Lorillard's beloved "Iroquois," the first American-bred horse to win the English Derby. The Park has an historical stabling barn that has been restored and is used for both the Steeplechase and Horse Trials. The Pony Club built an all-weather fenced riding surface in 2008 dedicated to honor Miss Warden. The Pony Club hosts many other activities during the year at the Park, including a one-day schooling event, rallies, training camps, and clinics.

Carissa Lynn Photography Photo.

The cross-country courses run on well-established turf with terrain variations. A new water complex was built in 2008 with improvements made each year to various fences. The courses include a bank complex, ditches, and many varied types of fences and are built to design standards. In the era of the long format three-day event in the late 1980s, Neil Ayer designed the courses for the long format. Ritch Temple took over for many years, and Jon Wells has been on board for 13 years.

The Middle Tennessee Pony Club Horse Trials is the longest continuously-running horse trials in the United States and its longevity is a testament to the dedication of multitudes of volunteers. Working with all the devoted volunteers, many who return year after year, is one of the highlights of each year’s event.

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

Sep 23, 2020 Intercollegiate

A Day in the Life of a USEA Collegiate Member

It’s back to school for the USEA Collegiate Members! Last week several eventing teams described what it was like going back to school amidst COVID-19, and this week eventing teams participated in the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Video Contest. The videos submitted represent a day in the life of a USEA Collegiate Member. The most creative video would win its own social media post on the USEA social media accounts.

Sep 22, 2020 Profile

Now On Course: Jennarose Ortmeyer Shoots for the Stars

My road to success is a bit different and quite a bit longer than most. Hi, my name is Jennarose Ortmeyer. I am 24 years old and my eventing journey started three years ago in the summer of 2017. Originally from Saint Louis, Missouri, I moved to North Carolina in June of 2017 seeking to further my career. I was a professional in the hunter/jumper world then and I hadn’t the faintest idea of how drastically my life was about to change.

Sep 21, 2020 Education

How Strong is Your Training Game?

How competitive have your Training results been? What’s a good dressage score? What scores could earn you a top finish? We’ve been taking a look at each USEA level and as we continue this series, EquiRatings offers some stats and graphs to help evaluate your Training game.

Sep 20, 2020 Competitions

Smith Wins CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S; Turner Takes CCI2*-S at Twin Rivers Fall International

The CCI4*-S had an exciting shake-up of the top placings to finish out the International divisions at the Twin Rivers Fall International. It was Tamie Smith and Passepartout, an 11-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Pasco x Preschel) owned by Tamie's daughter Kaylawna Smith-Cook, who came out on top with the fastest cross-country time of the group. Ruth Bley’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danito (Dancier x Wie Musik) took second. Erin Kellerhouse and her own Woodford Reserve rounded out the top three.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA