Jun 06, 2024

USEA Events A-Z: Tomora Horse Trials

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
The Tomora Horse Trials in Greeley, Colorado, is receiving positive reviews from Area IX Competitors. Your Horses Photography photo

The land on which the Tomora Training Center in Greeley, Colorado, was built was purchased by the Roach family in 1969, and three generations later it is still in the family being run by the dynamic duo sister-pair of Natalie Ellis and Nicole Roach-Reinsvold.

“Everything that is here, our family has built ourselves,” shared Ellis. “We have one of the largest indoor arenas in the area, 320 acres with trails and hills and valleys, and very large outdoor arenas. The name of the farm, Tomora, is actually my grandparents' two names, Tom and Eudora, blended together.”

While Tomora remains in the family, its purpose has shifted some throughout the years. The sisters’ grandfather raised Arabians and later their father competed in combined driving. As Ellis and Roach-Reinsvold grew up, however, their interests shifted to that of FEI-level dressage, and they adapted the facility to suit their needs as such. They never imagined the facility, which sits about 30 miles south of Fort Collins, Colorado, would be home to USEA-recognized horse trials or that one of them would begin to event herself.

Beautiful views are plentiful at Tomora. Photo courtesy of Tomora Horse Trials

Tomora hosts dressage shows and clinics throughout the year, so when they were approached by Erin Contino and Chris Kawcak, co-organizers of the then Moqui Meadows Horse Trial, about the possibility of utilizing Tomora for stabling, dressage, and show jumping, and then trailering for cross-country at Moqui Meadows, the two women decided to give this new partnership a shot in 2021 and they were hooked. It worked out that in 2022, the Tomora Horse Trials were born with all three phases now taking place onsite at the facility, but it wasn’t just the organizing side of eventing that captured Ellis’ heart.

“After that first time when we hosted part of the competition, I thought to myself, 'This looks exciting! I want to try this!’ ” she said. Next thing she knew, she had the ride on Kawcak’s retired Canadian Warmblood mare Maggie Belle, who is somewhat of a celebrity in the Colorado eventing community, and was dipping her toes into the sport of eventing. After winning their first unrecognized Starter division at The Event at Archer, their first USEA-recognized event out together was at the inaugural Tomora Horse Trials in 2022.

“It was full circle to be able to be on home turf with sweet Maggie and to have Nicole ringside as my coach in all three phases," said Ellis.

It’s not just Ellis who is enjoying the eventing world—Roach-Reinsvold’s oldest daughter is also getting into the sport. Eventing has truly become a family affair for the sisters, and it’s a space that Ellis and Roach-Reinsvold are proud to be a part of.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide an event for competitors to enjoy at our home,” said Ellis. “We feel really lucky to be able to do this and to have the support of such a wonderful community.”

Contino has also enjoyed watching the facility at Tomora grow each year and the community coming behind the event to support it. The Tomora Horse Trials were just awarded the USEA Area IX Championships for the Starter through Training levels in 2025.

“I think that is really what our wheelhouse is,” said Contino. “Designing and running a very, very good horse trial at those lower levels and creating a very friendly, inviting event that people want to come compete at.”

One of Tomora's many spacious rings set up for show jumping. Photo courtesy of the Tomora Horse Trials

As a competitor herself, Contino tries to put a lot of thought into the Tomora Horse Trials from a rider's perspective. One of the things she loves most about the event is how competitor and spectator-friendly it is.

“In our area, we don’t always have a lot of shows that have stabling and multiple arenas as well as other amenities, so having it be a place that you can stay the night and attend the competitor's party (complete with complimentary delicious local microbrew beer!) all while getting your horse seasoned to a larger horse show venue is really nice. It’s typically a lovely time of year—we have some beautiful colors in the fall, and the weather can be quite spectacular, which makes it a nice show to finish up the season. And it's a really spectator-friendly event. The stabling is close to the dressage and show jumping, which isn’t that far from cross-country. Plus, we have wide open fields that you can really see the bulk of the course from one area.”

The stabling on site consists of 40 permanent stalls and 50 temporary stalls brought in each year. Stabling at Tomora sells out quickly, but luckily offsite stabling is made available at Island Grove just a quick 15-minute trailer ride away.

Contino, Kawcak, Ellis, and Roach-Reinsvold try to make the experience competing at Tomora a smooth one for everyone who sets foot on the grounds.

“I think we just really try hard to make it very organized and very well run because we know that that showing is really stressful,” said Contino. “We try to attend to all those little behind the scenes details so that everyone knows the routine and knows where they're going so that we don't add that layer of stress to the competition. We try to minimize the rest of the chaos by really doing our work ahead of time.”

With over 300 acres to play with, the cross-country courses at Tomora are very visually appealing and are designed to be horse and rider-friendly. It is not uncommon for some competitors to have the opportunity to gallop through the trees and across some lovely, aerated terrain in the hay fields before making their way to or from the property’s water complex.

Your Horse Photography photo

“We also have a water feature that really allows a lot of variability,” continued Contino. “It’s a big U-shape, so there's a peninsula in the middle, and there's no banks in or out of it. It creates a great opportunity for us to design courses that are really friendly for the younger horses. We try to give many divisions the opportunity to run through the water twice and at the lower levels, we don’t even flag it the first time so riders can get their horses through it without it counting against them. That way when they come back through the water later in the course, the horses have already seen it.”

In addition to the USEA-recognized divisions that the event offers, they also try and offer educational opportunities at the grassroots level. Last year, their competition schedule included a Tadpole Combined Test that gave competitors the option of adding on a cross-country run.

“We put tiny logs on the ground and ran it alongside our Elementary division,” said Contino. "It wasn’t timed, and you could go out with your trainer or a friend. It was a great opportunity to just get the riders at—they could even go through the water if they wanted!”

One of the biggest joys for Contino is hearing positive feedback about the event, even in its infancy.

“It’s fun when I am competing somewhere else, and people say, 'Oh I have heard great things about Tomora; I really want to go there,’ having no idea that I am the organizer, but then I get some real-feel feedback, and I feel like I have only heard good things about it.”

Entries for the 2024 Tomora Horse Trials open August 13 and close September 10. The event takes place September 27-29.

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

Jul 13, 2024 Eventing News

Road to the AEC: Chalman and 'War Horse' Classic Greeley Are Headed to Kentucky

I have been working towards my goal of qualifying for AEC for quite some time now. I made the switch from hunters to eventing about eight years ago because I loved the adrenaline rush of cross-country. Although my family wasn’t able to buy a horse that had “been there, done that,” they have shown so much support for me in this dream.

Jul 12, 2024 Classic Series

Keyser, Caflisch, and Romero Add USEA Classic Series Wins to their Resume at Coconino H.T.

The Summer Coconino H.T. and Western Underground Inc. T, N, BN 3 Day Event is a staple on the Area X calendar for its fun environment and, of course, its Classic Series divisions. Competitors from all over flock to Flagstaff, Arizona, to check the box on one of their eventing goals. This year, the event at Coconino offered three long-format divisions and saw two first time winners and one Classic Series veteran rise to the top.

Jul 12, 2024 Adult Riders

Adult Riders All Over the U.S. Forge New Friendships Thanks to USEA Adult Team Challenges

One of the exciting ways that members of the USEA Adult Rider program can come together throughout the year is by participating in a USEA Adult Team Challenge! Adult Team Challenges give adult riders from across the country a chance to compete in a friendly team competition. Read up on some of the Adult Team Challenges that have taken place across the country so far below.

Jul 11, 2024 Eventing News

Weekend Quick Links: July 13-14

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered!

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle 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

Official Shockwave of the USEA

Official Horse Wear of the USEA