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.

Oct 26, 2021 Competitions

US Equestrian Announces Additional CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and Advanced Level Competitions for 2023-2027

US Equestrian is pleased to announce two additional competitions approved by the USEF Board of Directors to host CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and Advanced level events during the 2023-2027 competition cycle under the new Eventing Calendar Process. The Florida Horse Park has been allocated the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and Advanced levels on Week 16 and the Advanced level on Week 40.

Oct 26, 2021 Volunteers

The VIP Volunteer: Jim Moyer

If you take one look at Jim Moyer’s Facebook page, you will see it is filled with sweet sentiments from the lives he has touched through his work in the equine industry. Moyer’s involvement with horses began when he met his future wife Jean 50 years ago. As Jean went on to become a prominent instructor in eventing, Moyer found that their friend circle was full of horse people, so it was only natural that he should find his place in the community.

Oct 25, 2021 Competitions

Winning Day for the Law Family: Great Britain's Leslie Law Claims CCI4*-S and Open Prelim Victories at The Event at TerraNova

Horses and riders in 12 divisions, from Starter to CCI4*-S, tackled the show jumping phase of competition Sunday at The Event at TerraNova, over a track designed by Nick Granat in the world-class setting of the main arena. Prize money was awarded in all divisions.

Oct 25, 2021 Convention

USEA Podcast #295: Maryland 5 Star Review with Jennie Brannigan & USEA Convention Preview

USEA Official Podcast Host Nicole Brown looks back on a brilliant Maryland 5 Star with Jennie Brannigan, reflecting on her fourth-place finish and highlights of the inaugural running of the event. USEA CEO Rob Burk and USEA President Max Corcoran then join Nicole to look forward to the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention which takes place in December.

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

Official Horse Clothing of the USEA