Jan 17, 2019

USEA Events A-Z: Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Photo courtesy of Erin Woodall.

The Midsouth Pony Club (MSPC) hosts its annual Horse Trials at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky (Area VIII) in late June of each year offering Starter through Intermediate/Preliminary divisions. The event runs concurrently with the Midsouth Pony Club Rally and also serves as a fundraiser for the Club.

The Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials ran for the first time on the last weekend of June in 2001 as a fundraising event for the Midsouth Pony Club. This new Horse Trials ran concurrently with the Club’s United States Pony Club (USPC) Rally and Team Competition while simultaneously raising money to make the Rally possible. “Tom Adams get significant credit for creating the event, along with all of the subsequent Midsouth Regional Supervisors and numerous volunteers who have supported the event over the past 20 years,” said current organizer Erin Woodall.

Riders out for a course walk at the Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials. Photo courtesy of Erin Woodall.

The MSPC Horse Trials is one of seven total events held during the year at the Kentucky Horse Park, also including the Spring Bay Horse Trials, May Daze Horse Trials, Champagne Run Horse Trials, Park Equine KY Classique Horse Trials, Jump Start Horse Trials, Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event, and, of course, the Kentucky Three-Day Event. “The Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) is one of the most well-known facilities currently hosting USEA events,” Woodall observed. “KHP does an incredible job of hosting the Kentucky Three-Day event, which helps provide top-notch facilities to our event running Starter through Preliminary.”

“Shelley Ryan, who organized the event for many years and continues to support the event even now, deserves a significant amount of credit for turning it into the premier event that it is, Woodall added. “Jan Whitehouse, the longtime secretary does a great job and always has a smile for the competitors, volunteers, and officials.”

One of the beautifully constructed and decorated jumps on course at the Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials. Photo courtesy of the Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials Facebook page.


Each event run at the Kentucky Horse Park brings in a different team to design the cross-country courses for their unique event, and Midsouth Pony Club brought course designer Jeff Kibbie on board in 2015. “[His courses] are average for horses who have experience at the level, [but are still] challenging for all competitors,” Woodall stated.

As one of the few events in the country run in conjunction with a USPC Rally, Woodall explained that it creates a community and camaraderie between the Pony Club members and eventers in attendance. “It provides a great experience for up and coming Pony Club members who get to experience their rally in conjunction with a recognized Horse Trials,” she said. “This also gives non-Pony Club Horse Trial competitors the opportunity to see Pony Club members showing on their horsemanship and team skills. This provides a new experience for our officials, who also oversee the administration of the rally.”

Photo courtesy of Erin Woodall.

“I love seeing the teamwork of the members and the support that they give each other throughout the weekend,” Woodall continued. “Just this year I received the sweetest note from a Pony Club member thanking me for my efforts. Additionally, spending time with the all the long-term volunteers who have become like family over the years is always special. It is truly a family event, whether biological or chosen.”

2018 was an exciting year for the Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials as they were honored to have recent Pony Club Graduate William Robertson join the MSPC team as show jumping course designer. “Robertson, who is a USEF licensed course designer, created courses for our D Rally divisions all the way through our Intermediate/Preliminary Horse Trials divisions. Having Pony Club graduates coming back to assist with the event reminds me why I love to be associated with USPC."

Watch Bobbie Jones and Rebel's HeartBreaker tackle the 2014 Novice cross-country course at the Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials.

“We always have and will continue to provide a quality, challenging event and one of the best facilities in the world,” Woodall concluded. “[The riders’] support of the event helps provide education and guidance to up-and-coming equestrians. We look forward to seeing them in 2019!”

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

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