May 07, 2020

USEA Events A-Z: Willow Draw Charity Horse Trials

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Terrie Hatcher Photo.

The Willow Draw Charity Horse Trials, located in Weatherford, Texas (Area V) is held twice yearly as a one-day event in May and October and offers Starter through Training levels.

Janet and Tre’ Book own Willow Draw, 125 rolling acres in Weatherford, Texas just west of Fort Worth where they host the Willow Draw Charity Show twice a year. Founded in the spring of 2016, the event is run as a one-day competition and is limited to 100 entries. That first event offered Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training levels to the riders who traveled to North Texas to compete at Willow Draw.

Janet Book is a longtime eventer and retired schoolteacher, and together with her husband Tre’, they developed their private property for equestrian use. At first, the facility’s two large arenas, cross-country course, and trails were available for the public to trailer in and make use of. “We allow people to come in monthly, as a membership, and they can come onto the property and do whatever they want to do – use the arenas, the cross-country, anything – and we’re not trainer-specific, so anyone can bring their trainer and use the facilities,” Tre’ described.

After some time, the Books realized if they were doing all the maintenance to keep the property ready for use, they would be able to stage a horse trials. “We decided to start hosting clinics and hosting unrecognized horse trials,” explained Tre’. “We had a lot of acreage, and we’d already built all the jumps and were keeping everything mowed . . . We were already doing all the work, so running a horse show seemed like the next logical step. That’s how the Willow Draw Charity Horse Trials came to be.”

Terrie Hatcher Photo.

One of the most unique things about Willow Draw Charity Horse Trials is that, from the start, they’ve donated the proceeds from the event to charity. “From day one, we decided it was going to be a charity show,” Tre’ said. “We donate $10,000, either to the Semper Fi Fund, which is a great charity for all armed forces, or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.”

Willow Draw has a Texas-based team that comes together twice a year to put on the events. “Our number one, go-to people have been Adri Doyal and her mother, Ana Schravesande,” Tre’ shared. “They’re both FEI officials, Adri is a course designer and she has many FEI licenses, and they both live here in Texas. They know everyone and they help us find all our officials. They really help us that way. Kathi Roof, our show secretary, helps with all the competitors. Steve Sheehy runs control with a deftness that keeps the officials and riders at ease. Debra Sue Waters is a local artist and our course decorator – our courses are decorated at a championship level every time, they’re over the top. She probably spends a week on it and everything has to be perfect. And, of course, my wife, for putting up with it all!”

Terrie Hatcher Photo.

Willow Draw is located within the Red River Region of the United States Pony Club, which itself encompasses several different Pony Clubs. Many of the Pony Clubs volunteer at the Willow Draw Horse Trials, and Willow Draw offers all Pony Club members discounts on facility use fees. “We host many clinics for Pony Club,” Tre’ said. “I believe there needs to be more USEA and Pony Club promotion and mixing because the Pony Club is the feeder into the sport. I’d like to see the USEA and the Pony Club working together more. There are more people out of Pony Club that go into eventing than hunter/jumpers, and you see a lot of Pony Club graduates at the top levels of the sport. We need more of that kind of integration, we need to keep moving that forward.”

Willow Draw boasts two arenas, one covered 300’ x 160’ arena and a 250’ x 250’ outdoor arena directly across from it. This, Tre’ described, has made for a convenient flow for their events. “Everyone likes to use the indoor for jumping because the footing’s nice, but we actually use the indoor for the dressage warmup,” he described. “They just have to go out the gate and maybe 100 feet away is the outdoor where we put the two dressage arenas. That way, if it’s inclement weather, you spend all your time warming up under cover and you just have to go out and bear the weather during your test. That flow really works well.” Instead of being held in an arena, the show jumping takes place on undulating grass terrain.

Terrie Hatcher Photo.

“Willow Draw is on bottom land, so it can be a problem if it gets too wet,” Tre’ explained. “We have Willow Creek that runs through it, and we installed an old county iron bridge so we can use the back section of the property. We have the main water complex right in our backyard, and we’ve got another smaller water complex out in the main field. Our property is sandy loam and we have an aggravator, so the footing is always cared for.”

“We are really proud of the place in regard to the effort we’ve put into it,” Tre’ concluded. “We run a nice, lower level, local event. It’s focused on the lower levels, and unique because of the one-day format, and it’s the attention to detail we put into the event."

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

Dec 08, 2022 Convention

Thursday Board of Governors Meeting Launches USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

In a bittersweet moment, USEA President Max Corcoran called to order her last USEA Board of Governors (BOG) meeting on Thursday, December 8th at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. The BOG will meet one final time during this week’s gathering on Sunday, December 11 led by incoming USEA President Lou Leslie

Dec 08, 2022 Education

Show Jumping Building Seminar Kicks off USEA Annual Meeting & Convention With a Wealth of Information

Show jumping: there is so much more to it than just setting out a set number of jumps in a ring. Professional course designers Marc Donovan and Chris Barnard broke down the fine details that come with show jumping course design during the Show Jumping Building Seminar which kicked off the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention on Wednesday, December 7th in Savannah, Georgia. With an in-classroom session discussing rules, regulations, theory, and more, followed by a practical hands-on course building session held at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center where participants were able to put all of the morning’s education to work, this year’s Show Jumping Course Building Seminar was full of useful information for both eventing lovers and course design hopefuls alike.

Dec 07, 2022 Convention

Meet Your USEA Board of Governors

During the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, there will be two meetings of the USEA Board of Governors (BOG), one on Thursday, December 8th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and one on Sunday, December 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The USEA is run by a BOG of around twenty individuals. These individuals discuss and vote on important matters related to the organization and its members. BOG members come from all over our ten USEA areas and come from various backgrounds from grooms, to professional riders, to amateurs, to course designers, and much more. Each BOG member serves a three-year term.

Dec 07, 2022 Convention

Fast Facts: 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

USEA members from near and far are getting ready to converge on the historic city of Savannah, Georgia this week for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention! With four full days jam-packed with educational seminars, committee meetings and social gatherings, the convention is sure to excite all members of the eventing community that will be in attendance. The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel this year, and we have all of the information you need to know to make the most of your experience!

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 Outerwear of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA