Aug 22, 2019

USEA Events A-Z: Radnor Hunt Horse Trials

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
USEA Archives Photo.

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.

Photo courtesy of Joannah Glass.

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.”

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

Apr 17, 2024 Profile

The VIP Volunteer: Debra Sue Waters

Since the mid-’80s, lifelong horsewoman and professional artist Debra Sue Waters has devoted countless hours to the sport of eventing, and last year topped the rankings of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in Area V. Assisting behind the scenes at an event just comes naturally to the Millsap, Texas, resident.

Apr 16, 2024 Education

Tips to Keep Eventing Competition Management Happy

Have you thanked your competition management team lately? Here’s your spring season reminder to do just that! Whether you’ll be debuting in the Starter division or cruising around at Advanced, competition management has a lot of moving parts to manage that will ensure a great experience for you and your horse. Keep your competition management team happy and help support the future of eventing with these quick tips from STRIDER.

Apr 16, 2024 USEA Foundation

MARS Bromont Rising Returns for June 2024

The MARS Bromont Rising U25 scholarship program, administered by the USEA Foundation, is pleased to announce that up to 10 grants of up to $2,500 each will once again be available for talented young riders aged 25 and under, who are aiming to compete in the MARS Bromont (Quebec, Canada) U25CCI divisions in June, 2024. Highlighting this year’s program is the return of three-time German Olympic team member Bettina Hoy, as a guest coach for 2024.

Apr 16, 2024 Young Event Horse

Young Event Horse Graduates Flock in Droves to the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event

The Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event is just over a week away, and a slew of USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program Graduates are slated to make the trip to the Bluegrass State to compete in what is looking like an epic weekend of sport. Between the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*-L and the Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S divisions, a total of 24 former YEH participants are set to go down centerline in the Rolex Arena next week. With the Paris Olympics quickly approaching, and the event serving as one of the final selection trials for team spots, the entry lists for both divisions are full of star-studded combinations setting their sights on big goals in 2024.

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