May 02, 2019

USEA Events A-Z: Penny Oaks Horse Trials

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Penny Oaks volunteers Jill Hungsberg, Ryan Conkin, Lisa Rexroat, Liz Brown, and Colleen Rosemeyer: these ladies all make the event happen! Photo courtesy of Kate Gress.

The Penny Oaks Horse Trials run once a year in late July at the Hoosier Horse Park (HHP) in Edinburgh, Indianan (Area VIII). The event offers Starter through Intermediate/Preliminary levels and is one of two Area VIII events to take place in Indiana.

In 1987, a portion of Johnson County Park in Edinburgh, Indiana was developed to host the 1987 Pan American Games. This 200-acre parcel became Hoosier Horse Park, and the following year the Park began hosting events, including the Indiana Eventing Association (IEA) Horse Trials. Among the events hosted at the Park were the Hoosier Horse Trials, organized by Dannette Morgan. After 10 years of running the Hoosier Horse Trials, Morgan approached Kate Gress about taking over the event, and so the Penny Oaks Horse Trials ran for the first time at Hoosier Horse Park in 1999.

Organizer Kate Gress and her husband, John, who feeds all the volunteers! Photo courtesy of Kate Gress.

Gress grew up on a farm in Chobham, Surrey, England called The Oaks on Pennypot Lane. After moving to the United States, she attended the Morven Park International Equestrian Institute and completed degrees in Equestrian Science and Marketing at Lake Erie College before taking a job in the corporate world. In 1987, Gress decided to put her equestrian education to use and opened Penny Oaks Stables in Noblesville, Indiana.

Officials Cathy Weischhoff and Deb Boeh on course. Photo courtesy of Kate Gress.

Gress’s farm in Noblesville is 140 miles from the Hoosier Horse Park, presenting a unique challenge from an organizer’s perspective. “We're very lucky here in Indiana to have the Hoosier Horse Park,” Gress stated. “It's a real challenge though to run this event 140 miles from home because the management [at the Park] isn't 'horsey', [so] I work closely with the Indiana Eventing Association. I've personally donated more than 23 cross-country jumps [to the Park.]”

“We have this amazing core crew of volunteers that make this event happen,” Gress continued. “I absolutely could not run it without them. My husband has done the hospitality for most of the years of this event and he comes from a restaurant background. Our son and daughter grew up learning (not that they had a choice) every aspect of putting on an event!”

Volunteer Ivan Dixon moving cross-country jumps at Hoosier Horse Park. Photo courtesy of Kate Gress.

Gress explained that it takes her seven full trailer loads from Noblesville to Edinburgh to transfer all the show jumps and other equipment necessary to put on the event. But, it’s all a labor of love. “I love the creative process of watching the cross-country come together,” Gress shared. “The courses are very inviting. I really look forward to working with Cathy Weischhoff, our course designer, because I learn so much. We have a really good time.”

“Running an event is a great way to give back to this amazing sport,” Gress concluded. “The officials, competitors, horses, and volunteers - everything has to run like a well-oiled clock!”

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

Apr 15, 2024 Eventing News

USEF Announces Defender U.S. Eventing Team for Chatsworth CCIO4*-NC-S

The United States Equestrian Federation has announced the four combinations from the European Development Tour selected to represent the Defender U.S. Eventing Team at the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Great Britain CCIO4*-NC-S. The event will take place during the Chatsworth International Horse Trials in Bakewell, England, from May 17-19.

Apr 15, 2024 Education

Calling All Commentators: Join John Kyle at the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event

Do you want to break into the world of providing eventing commentary at events or brush up on your already-acquired skills? Legendary equestrian commentator John Kyle, who has been "the voice" of the Kentucky Three-Day Event live stream since 2014, has provided commentary for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and is contracted to provide his services during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, and so much more.

Apr 15, 2024 Eventing News

Defender Kentucky Five-Star Entries Down to 40

The five-star field for the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event has narrowed, with eight riders having withdrawn since entries were released on March 28. As of the morning of April 15, the following pairs have pulled their entries: Grace Taylor, Tamie Smith, Rosalind Canter, Sydney Solomon, Emily Hamel, Phillip Dutton, and Nicolai Aldinger.

Apr 15, 2024 Profile

Bec Braitling is Back at the Five-Star Level After 21 Years

Bec Braitling was 23 when she tackled her first four-star, now five-star, level competition at Adelaide in East Park Lands, Australia.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA