View Full Version : Area 1-Millbrook OR Fitches

Mar. 5, 2010, 10:09 PM
The title basically says it all but can anyone tell me about either the novice or training level xc courses at either Millbrook HT or Fitches HT? What one you like better, not just the XC course but anything about them.

I am adding late to this thread but also I was wondering if people could give me there experiences/advice on either Groton house HT or Stuart HT. . . .same sort of thing with hints, advice, perferences, which one is easier, how was XC courses are, etc all at the novice & training levels.

Thanks so much! Hopefully people will add more about these two new events!

Mar. 6, 2010, 08:06 AM
Well, I haven't ridden novice at either, and it looks like I won't any time soon, nor have I been to Fitches. But I've been to Millbrook and it's a lovely event. Wonderful footing for dressage and SJ. It's fun to be at a big time event where you can watch BNRs going advanced. If my horse were sound, I'd go. I'd go every year I could.

Mar. 6, 2010, 08:40 AM
I havent been to either, but Im planning on Millbrook :)

silver pine
Mar. 6, 2010, 09:11 AM
I have not been to Millbrook but hear wonderful things! I rode Fitches Novice last year. It was the only event I went to that has a true adult amature devision. It was fantastic to compete against other adults that were at a similar level.

There were lots of rails on stadium. The course asked some serious questions, one particular was uphill towards the busy spectator tent to a very airy vertical. My usual steady eddy was surprised to see a Mercedes parked in the ring!

After Groton House it was my fovourite x-country course of the year. It was forward going, it asked fair turning questions for a solid novice horse/rider.

The organizers were excellent. It was wonderfully run, the heat that weekend was excessive they even provided bags of ice! The trade show was a ton of fun as was the competitors party.

The only down side was accommodation, we stayed in poughkipsee which was 30 min away. You cant go wrong with either event but I loved fitches and will always put in a good word for an excellent event

Mar. 6, 2010, 10:30 AM
I've ridden Novice at both. Fitch's is a very nice gallopy course. The fences are beautiful and fairly beefy. I remember walking the training course and thinking that the fences looked really big too compared to most of the trainings I had run in Area 1. As I remember it,the Millbrook course didnt' look as big, but was probably a bit more technical. the training course had some elements that you usually don't see, like a ditch infront of an upbank, and a fairly hard combination that caused a lot of trouble. Showjumping at Fitch's (while I didn't get to ride it b/c show was cancelled due to storm before my division) was really quite a thing. The fences were very fancy and there were a lot of spectators, so it might be a bit looky for a green horse. Fitch's overall was much more of an "event"--sort of like groton house but bigger! Millbrook was a bit more subdued, but still a lovely event.

Mar. 6, 2010, 10:33 AM
I dunno about the rest of you but this is making me want to get out and show :D Since I moved and am so close to the venue I hope to attend both shows, even if I am just a spectator!

Mar. 6, 2010, 11:28 AM
Fitch's is fun and they have a great course BUT Millbrook is absolutely gorgeous - wide open land, beautiful vistas and the xc is excellent and very gallopy. With Millbrook you don't feel all "scrunched" up because it's so wide open and you get a real "horsey" feel there.

Fitch's doesn't have as much land as MB so you feel crunched. They also try to make it "south hamptony" which is wonderful but is funny to see women picking their way through the mud in highheels and other fancy dress!

Mar. 6, 2010, 02:33 PM
Thanks everyone!

So If I were going to take a horse, that isnt green but moved up to N last year and did well no stops alll season but can somtimes be looky but doesnt usually act on it, do you think Millbrook would be the best?

Which one is less intimidating for SJ an XC?


Mar. 6, 2010, 04:12 PM
I would do Millbrook. The stadium is held in the huge sand ring - you should have no problem. Fitch's stadium is roped off and the spectator's tent is on one side and on the other side are the vendors. If your horse is prone to ADD you may have problems keeping him focused. Since MB's xc is spread out over a much larger area than Fitch's you will also encounter little problems with people walking around the course. One time at Fitch's I had to SCREAM heads up to someone walking right in front of my jump like 10 times. Just way too many people in too small an area at Fitch's. At MB they designate certain areas where spectators can walk/stand/watch whatever and it is highly policed. XC and stadium are both highly doable but some technicalities and challenges. Nothing though will overface your horse. They all seem to enjoy the forwardness the xc course offers as well. It is a wonderfully designed xc. Fitch's changed their designer last year and it rode wonderfully as well. If I had to choose though it would be MB hands down. MB is less intimidating and you get more bang for your buck too.

Mar. 6, 2010, 05:02 PM
I've ridden Novice at both events and if I had to choose one it would definitely be Millbrook. Millbrook has more big gallopy land for xc. The approaches to some of the jumps make the xc at Millbrook a teensy bit more difficult than Fitches.

Fitches stadium gets more stops and rails because of the location and design. There are tents lining two sides of the ring, the main walkway for people and horses is right next to the ring and the jump standards are big and decorated. (Think uber jumper class with giant Tiffany boxes and miniature barns.)

Overall the feeling at Millbrook is really great and it's fun to ride alongside the big guys!

Mar. 6, 2010, 05:35 PM
Thanks so much! I think I will definetly be going to MB!

Mar. 7, 2010, 04:51 PM
I would say I prefer Fitch's for any level. The courses are always very well-maintained and inviting. I always find Millbrook to be very technical and closely-spaced, with a lot of tight turns. I prefer the trakhener at Fitch's as well, even though it looks really big and scary-- it's much more inviting than the approach at Millbrook. They are both nice events but I just prefer Fitch's.

It always rains at Millbrook as well!

Little Valkyrie
Mar. 7, 2010, 06:28 PM
The only year I went to Fitch's was when a tornado went through the stadium ring about 45 minutes before I went in the ring, there was cloud to ground lightening hitting all around us, a transformer blew up, the stabling tent was lifting off the ground because of the wind, and we were standing knee deep in water. In the tent. However, the XC and dressage were wonderful and the stadium course looked great when I walked it. I would say the XC was a little on the beefy side, but not technically challenging. Millbrook has always been on my "to-do" list because it is just such a lovely event.

Mar. 7, 2010, 09:10 PM
Thanks for the advice!

Mar. 10, 2010, 08:42 PM
If people could do the same thing with either Groton House HT an Stuart HT that would be great! Thank you!

Mar. 10, 2010, 10:17 PM
Groton House for sure! Stuart is very hilly and the stabling is SUCH a pain to get to. Groton House is always my "dreamboat" event that I love to go to whenever I can make it. It's always so professional and well-run. I've only been to Stuart one year, though.

I always liked the courses at Groton House and found them really inviting. It's an easier event for spectators as well (including parent/SO 'grooms') :winkgrin:

The dressage warm up is enormous, which is good, but it can also be a pain trying to stick close to your trainer. Stuart seems to be the more "high-caliber" event in that it still runs levels above Prelim, but for the lower levels I would definitely choose Groton House.

Also, if you're close to Millbrook and Fitch's, Groton House is easier to get to, from what I recall of the trip to Stuart.

Mar. 11, 2010, 10:29 PM
thanks so much!

Mar. 12, 2010, 08:22 AM
Never been to Groton, but Stuarts is about a 2 min drive from my barn.... There is also a Bobby Costello clinic with the xc portion being held on Stuart grounds. They pretty much never have schoolings there. Its gonna be pretty cool to ride the jumps a month and a half before the event. And the clinic is insanely cheap because it is being sponsored by Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption :) Not sure how close you are though...

Mar. 12, 2010, 02:59 PM
Oh wow thats awesome! Something to think about, thanks!

Mar. 12, 2010, 10:54 PM
I've never been to Fitch's, but I have been to Millbrook, Stuart and Groton House.

Groton House: Novice XC is straightforward and gallopy. Training XC is also straightforward, with a couple of good questions (full coffin, multiple elements at the water). Novice stadium is usually maxed, but terrain is flat. Training stadium depends where you are. They set up in two different areas- one for Novice, and one for Prelim. Training divisions are split between the two areas. If you are with the Novice horses it is straightforward. If you are with the Prelim horses, the course is tough both because it is based on the Prelim track instead of the Novice track and because the terrain is a factor (downhill and uphill approaches).

Stuart: Novice XC is more technical than other Area I events (there will be a half coffin at Novice, banks, combinatino at the water, etc.) and it is hilly. Training XC is big and not a move-up, but not as technical as Millbrook- you need a fit horse though because of the terrain. If there is mud- it can be slick because it is clay. Overall it feels more like an Area II event than an Area I event. Stadium ring is electric and tight at both levels- courses are maxed.

Millbrook: Great footing for dressage and stadium. Novice XC is gallopy and bigger than Groton House. Training XC is technical- technical jumps are not maxed, but the course caused trouble for several experienced horses last year- it is not a move-up. Stadium is twisty, but lovely. Open Training divisions have a harder stadium than the Training Rider and Junior Training divisions.

Mar. 13, 2010, 12:03 AM
Thanks so much!