The Radnor Hunt Horse Trials takes place yearly in mid-October in Malvern, Pennsylvania (Area II), offering Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels.
The early beginnings of the Radnor Hunt Horse Trials can be traced back when, in 1964, Lana duPont Wright was the first woman to compete in Olympic three-day eventing, claiming a team silver medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. When she returned to the United States, she, along with Master of Foxhounds for the Vicmead Hunt Kathleen Crompton and District Commissioner of the Middletown Pony Club Joannah Glass, founded a horse trials at Glass’s farm, The Gambit, in Warwick, Maryland. “The 1960s were exciting times and women were empowered and emboldened into independent leadership activities and businesses,” Glass recalled.
Glass later moved back to her hometown of Malvern, Pennsylvania where she started hosting the Bryn Lea Horse Trials just a few doors down from the Radnor Hunt Club, the oldest continuously existing hunt club in the nation, founded in 1883. In 1972, Glass and Sheila Hundt helped the Radnor Hunt Pony Club host its first horse trials, an event that would grow into the prestigious Radnor Hunt International Three-Day Event.
“The Radnor Hunt Three-Day Event was the premier event in the country and nearly every American Olympic rider cut their teeth at Radnor,” said Richard Walkup, prior Chairman of the Radnor Three-Day Event and current Chair of the Radnor Hunt Horse Trials.” In fact, our committee was tasked with managing the Olympic Three-Day Events in Los Angeles in 1984 and Atlanta in 1996.”
Over the years, the Radnor Hunt International Three-Day Event hosted the Junior and Young Rider Championships and Intermediate Championships in addition to international one- and two-star levels and national Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced divisions. The tradition continued until 2006, the last year that Radnor offered international divisions.
When attendance dwindled and made the prospect of hosting international divisions untenable, a group, spearheaded by the iconic Marilyn Taylor, got together to pivot the International Three-Day Event to the Radnor Hunt Horse Trials of today, which started by hosting Training and Novice levels and later added Preliminary in 2016. “Many of the old gang converged for competing, volunteering, collaboration, and a fun day,” Glass described.
The facilities for the Radnor Hunt Horse Trials are nestled in the beautiful rolling countryside just North of Philadelphia. “We have excellent cross-country obstacles, a variety of well-maintained dressage, show jumping, and warm-up rings, ample parking, and a variety of food vendors,” said Walkup.
Walkup described the cross-country course, currently designed by Jeff Kibbie, as “well thought out, on scenic countryside with beautifully designed obstacles, challenging, and, in the words of our technical delegate, ‘Three-Day quality.’”
One of the highlights of the weekend for all in attendance at the Radnor Hunt Horse Trials is the annual Roast Pig Party, held after cross-country is completed. Free to competitors, this party is a chance for all to gather and celebrate the legacy of the Radnor Hunt Horse Trials with good company, great food, and live music.
Radnor Hunt Horse Trials also offers a variety of different awards to celebrate its competitors. The RH Thompson Award, named of Dick Thompson, is a $1,000 cash prize for best overall performance of the day; the Fox Creek Farm Award goes to the rider with the best Preliminary level score; the Shelia Hundt Award is presented to the rider with the best dressage score of the day; the Founders Award goes to the top-scoring Radnor Hunt Pony Club rider; and the Willistown Conservation Trust Cooler is awarded to the top junior Training level rider.
“A moment that typifies our event for me was when our Founders Award for top Radnor Hunt Pony Club score went to Annie Rogers riding Some Kind of Wonderful trained by our own committee member, Beth Wicas,” recounted Walkup. “Unfortunately, Annie had to leave immediately after her fantastic performance and missed the awards presentation at the Roast Pig Party. Her hasty departure, after a grueling day of eventing, was due to her competing in the swimming portion of a tetrathlon that evening! The next day she went on to complete the running, shooting, and riding portions of her competition, winning her division and the Equitation Award! We are so very proud to support these young athletes!”
“Most of our committee members are multiple generation equestrians and are passionate about the sport and the success of our competitors,” said Walkup. “Seeing the culmination of our committees’ efforts in the successes, joy, and gratitude of our wonderful competitors is certainly a highlight of the weekend.”
“We are a friendly event whose goal is to perpetuate the sport, supporting our local riders and preserving our countryside.”
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Boyd Martin claimed the win aboard Fedarman B on a final score of 29.0 in the CCI4*-L division to claim the CCI4*-L USET Foundation National Championship, adding nothing to their dressage score after two double-clear jumping rounds. In reserve, and the highest-ranked international rider, Colleen Loach and Vermont, the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Van Helsing x Heraldik XX) owned by Peter Barry, also completed their weekend without adding any points, ending on a score of 29.3. Clinching third place honors via double-clear stadium round for a total of 31.0 points was Leslie Law and Lady Chatterley, the 11-year-old Holsteiner mare (Connor 48 x Mytens XX) owned by Lesley Grant-Law, Jackie Brown and Steve Brown.
In 2021, Strides for Equality Equestrian (SEE) and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) established the Ever So Sweet Scholarship which provides a fully-funded opportunity for riders from diverse backgrounds to train with five-star eventing Sara Kozumplik Murphy for one season (winter or summer). The scholarship funds cover full board and training costs for one horse, several lessons per week, housing, a stipend for living expenses, competition fees, and coaching at competitions. During the duration of their working student opportunity, participants learn to manage, care for, and compete horses in an immersive program and will have the opportunity to work as part of the team in all aspects of running a large, competitive barn, in addition to making critical professional connections that would otherwise be unattainable.
Reddick, FL - The organizing committee of the Majestic Oaks Ocala H.T. is sad to report that No Limits, Oops a 16-year-old gelding ridden by Aline Briot in the Training Rider division experienced a fall at fence 17 on the cross-country course. The horse received immediate veterinary attention at the fence and was euthanized onsite. Aline Briot was uninjured in the fall.