Feb 20, 2020

USEA Events A-Z: Valinor Farm Horse Trials

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Photo courtesy of the Valinor Farm Facebook page.

Valinor Farm in Plymouth, Massachusetts (Area I) hosts their yearly horse trials in mid-June, offering Introductory through Modified divisions.

Nestled in the rolling hills of Plymouth, Massachusetts is 60 acres that is home to Valinor Farm, owned by the Risso family. Valinor Farm is a boarding, training, and lesson facility that caters to eventers, although all disciplines are welcome. In addition to their yearly USEA recognized horse trials, they also host unrecognized horse trials and schooling jumper shows throughout the year.

Valinor Farm offered their first USEA recognized horse trials in October of 2005, offering just Beginner Novice and Novice levels. “Our daughters were in Pony Club and we were introduced to eventing at that time,” recalled Robyn Risso, owner of Valinor Farm and organizer of the Valinor Farm Horse Trials. “My daughter asked for a cross-country course for her 16th birthday, and so it began!”

Joan Davis/Flatlandsfoto Photo.

In 2007, Valinor Farm added Training level to their offering and in 2008 switched their show date from October to June. In 2009, Valinor Farm offered two horse trials, one in June and one in August, and continued to do so until 2016, when they went back to hosting one show a year in June. In 2019, Valinor Farm offered the Modified level for the first time.

For the Risso family, the Valinor Farm Horse Trials is a family affair, with everyone pitching in to do their part. “We have four daughters who all contribute 100 percent to running the event,” Risso said. “Their significant others are all put to work that weekend as well. Our boarders all help too, and we really could not do it without them.”

Risso said that as time has gone on, the facilities at Valinor Farm have adapted to suit their needs. “Valinor has changed so much over the years, it seems like we are always clearing land,” she said. “Over the years we’ve added an indoor, more outdoor rings, and recently expanded our cross-country fields significantly.”

Photo courtesy of the Valinor Farm Facebook page.

“Our farm is quite hilly – which is great from a spectators view as you can see much of the course from several vantage points,” she continued. “From a competitor perspective, we have amazing gallops! We believe the terrain adds to the character of our venue and the designers work it into many of the questions on our tracks.”

Risso explained that her favorite part of hosting an event at Valinor Farm is the chance to give the competitors a good experience. “It’s seeing that our hard work is appreciated and helping to keep eventing fun and enjoyable for the lower levels. It is indeed a family affair, and we do it because we love it and want to contribute to the sport.”

“We are a smaller event but try to give the competitors a top-notch experience. We take feedback seriously and are always trying to improve.”

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

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