The organizers of the Heart Of The Carolinas Three-Day Event and Horse Trials announced on Dec. 20 that they’ve canceled competition for the foreseeable future.
The event has run for 10 years at Brad Turley’s Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, South Carolina, and celebrated the long format by hosting beginner novice, novice, training and preliminary level three-days.
It was a destination event for lower-level riders, and co-organizer Cindy Deporter said they tried to make their competitors feel as special as upper-level riders.
“We did it much different than everybody else did,” she said. “We tried to make it a true destination event. If you came to us we tried to treat you like people treat big-time riders because we feel like all riders are important. It takes a lot of money to do that.”
Deporter said she and co-organizers Leslie Threlkeld and Erin Kimmer set a goal to break even and be self-sufficient, but even with record high entries this year due to adding horse trials divisions, the numbers didn’t add up.
“Our three-day entries stayed pretty much the same every year,” she said. “We had put in preliminary, but we didn’t get significant numbers. I don’t know if it was because it was the week after [the Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*-L]. We had our biggest entry yet this year because of the horse trials. It’s a matter of economics to run something like we ran it because we sure didn’t cut any corners. You always want to be self-sufficient. You don’t want to run in the red all the time. We’ve been lucky. Our sponsors have been very generous with us. We had great sponsors, and Brad was very generous with his farm and his financial contribution.”
Deporter said they looked into moving the event to another location in Virginia but felt it wouldn’t have the same character.
“The people that did this were all volunteers,” she said. “I had a core group of people that were absolutely phenomenal. They gave up their time generously. We just didn’t feel like we could put back together what we had. It’s most certainly a labor of love, but we thought that if you came, you came away with a good experience. You try to do the best you can and try to make it a fun experience, and we had fun doing it.”