View Full Version : Area II Folks--Best event for a return to competing with a "green" horse?

Jan. 13, 2011, 11:07 AM
I am looking for some ideas of good events (unrecognized or recognized) for a nervous adult amateur and a first time competing mount in Area II.
I want to be successful (complete all phases safely with a smile on my face) and have a great time in the process to build some confidence for us both. My horse is "green" since she has never competed before, but is pretty well-schooled. Beginner Novice is the goal. Take warm-up areas, etc. into consideration. Thanks in advance!:)

Sonoma City
Jan. 13, 2011, 11:20 AM
There are so many great unrecognized events in the area, I would recommend one of those first. They are all extremely well run, often using the same courses as the recognized events, but are half the cost. Sometimes I wonder why bother competing recognized when the unrecognized events around here are so nice! Loch Moy, Waredaca, and Marlborough all run recognized events I would recommend. Good luck and have fun!

Beam Me Up
Jan. 13, 2011, 11:20 AM
I like the starter trials at Maryland HT

Jan. 13, 2011, 11:21 AM
Depends on what time of year and where in Area II. Generally, I love Morven/Spring Loudoun for green horses or folks moving up: rings with good footing for both dressage and SJ, there isn't much terrain XC at the lower levels and courses tend to be solid and well built. They are not usually small for the level, but they tend to be inviting and fair, and it's a fun place to canter around. Maryland Horse Trials has the same good footing for dressage/SJ, and it's a very compact course so user friendly and easy to walk. CDCTA tends to be quite inviting and fun, but I think it can be a little hard for a green horse to show jump and do dressage on grass and then go over the hill to the start of XC (away from their friends). I would not recommend Surefire or Rubicon - they are super events, but can be harder for the greenies with the atmosphere. Virginia is a great event, but it may depend on how you feel on the potential for show jumping in the indoor (i can't recall whether the BN jumps inside, but I feel like they did at at least one of their shows).

Jan. 13, 2011, 11:33 AM
It sometimes gets a bad rap, but I do still think Redlands is a nice, low key event for green horses and riders. The pony club who runs it staffs it with great people, the courses are low key, fun and inviting (nothing is ever huge and it is a little more "old school" without massive amounts of flowers and decorations), and it has a pretty chill atmosphere. Unfortunately, it is April and often gets the short end of the stick with the weather :( It is all on grass, which in good weather holds up well, but can be greasy, which is a bummer.

Marlborough is another nice, low key event. I haven't done the unrec, but if it is anything like the rec, it should be great.

Also can't beat any event at Loch Moy/MD HT, Waredaca, or Fair Hill, rec or not. Rec will always have more atmosphere, but unrec generally runs over the same or similar courses, without all the buzz of a rec event.

Right on Target
Jan. 13, 2011, 11:47 AM
The two events in MD that I think fit are Full Moon Farm and IronBridge Pony Club (both unrecognized). I felt that my horse and I did pretty well at both and if I being a green eventer did ok on a green OTTB, then anyone can have a nice time at these events. I also did Fair Hill and I found that unrecognized is much easier then recognized, both the courses and the overall ambiance. FH was very hectic and the course was much harder.

I like Full Moon Farm best as a first time event. It is pretty low key, and it has a nice, open XC course.

Dressage in the rings or indoor, dressage warmup on grass near the rings and tack sellers
Show Jumping on top of hill on grass with plastic/rope/flapping plastic, warmup on side of hill.
XC in a large open field on a hill.

Pro's: Well run, I think their BBN and BN courses are inviting for the horses. I like their jumps and the placement was fine for me. Their pipe openers are also great for practice. From what I remember they were on time, and the experience was pleasant overall.

Cons: The warmup areas are my least favorite of the places I've been. The dressage warm up is right next to the tack sellers and the jumping warmup slopes as it is on the side of a hill. It is ok, but as my horse and I were quite green, I found the warmup to be a little nerve wracking with my nervous horse. I also didn't love the fencing (rope/plastic that flapped in the wind) for the show jumping course, but my fella only spooked a little at it- more in warmup, so I think I was more worried about it than he was.

IronBridge is nice as well, but doesn't have as nice a XC in my opinion, but the course is mostly inviting.

Dressage in grass rings in flat area, back to XC course in woods, dressage warmup on a slope
Show jumping in the ring
XC course at least half in the woods

Pro's- well run, XC was ok but not as good as FMF (we did BBN here although I later schooled their BN jumps)

Cons- I didn't love the dressage warmup area, and the horse got quite nervous in the dressage competition area with the horses on XC cantering by in the woods. I think if he could have seen the horses on XC better he wouldn't have minded, but it was more that he could hear them thundering by and we could just see flashes of them cantering through the woods. Show jumping was fine. XC is in the woods a lot and there were a few jumps that had tricky approaches, so it was hard for my greeny to get himself together on those jumps.

Jan. 13, 2011, 12:46 PM
Interesting question!!! I ran through the events I typically go to and couldn't come up with one clear good answer, so maybe someone else will!

I'm not currently familiar with most unrecognized except for the ones we run at Waredaca, where I board, so I'll leave that to someone else.

I started my greenie at Waredaca but some things that might bother a green horse there were off the table since it was our "home" barn...


pros: very inviting cross country course, SJ usually not technical or large, friendly venue with a low key vibe
cons: early season timing means xc can be mucky in spots, ditto SJ. Sometimes the pony clubbers go hog wild and the jumps in SJ can be a bit shiny. Dressage warmup is NOT flat.

pros: love their XC course design, very horse friendly. Dressage warmup is large and totally removed from jumping areas.
cons: SJ is well within sight (sort of in the middle of) cross country. Not really that distracting but perhaps not ideal. XC course is very decorated -- even when the lower levels are not, it can be visually busy in places, like the water, due to all the levels etc.

Fair Hill:
pros: dressage again totally removed from jumping. XC courses very open and flowing.
cons: LONG hack from trailers to jumping area -- might be mentally hard on a youngster. I don't love their SJ -- warmup is crowded.

pros: xc course is separate from everything else. Great turf, inviting course at lower levels. Sometimes SJ and dressage are in big open stone dust area, very friendly (but not BOTH at same show -- you either get one or the other)
cons: seems like a crapshoot where you will do dressage and SJ. You might do dressage in the indoor. You might do it in a footed area outdoors. There is one ring that is over by the xc course.
SJ can be in the big arena outside, very open and friendly. It can be in the little arena. Very tight and closed in. SJ warmup can be a complete zoo and is not well managed. More then once I've just given up on warming up altogether and taken my chances in the ring.

pros: new for this year, our big dressage pad -- all tests will run on good footing. There are scary white dogs behind these rings; not sure how well the newly planted trees will screen them. Jump ring also on footing although I think our warmup will now have to be in the parking field. XC again removed from SJ/dressage
cons: we have lots of terrain; makes the lower level courses possibly more challenging than at other places. Not sure how much of an issue the dogs near dressage will be with our new layout. SJ can be very visually loud (lots of panels, painted things) although BN is usually toned down some.

pros: super friendly, lovely place, xc courses beautiful and thoughtful. Dressage warmup on grass but level and fairly large. Sj is not too close and XC is pretty far away from dressage
cons: SJ can be challenging for a young horse since there is some terrain and it is not a huge ring. Courses can be a bit big (I have not done BN there so ...) but usually horse friendly.

I would not vote for Seneca. Dressage is smack dab in the middle of the xc course. This alone can be too much for lot of horses.

YB is right, there is a lot to like about Marlborough. But I will say that their SJ is on a slope and they have a tendency to design it so you are jumping downhill way more than you would have thought possible in one arena. Last time I went to watch Novice, the first fence was at the end of a long downhill approach. Very glad I didn't move my greenbean up there!

Jan. 13, 2011, 12:47 PM
I like the VA SHT down here. That and all the ct's and ht's Penny puts on. www.vahorsetrials.com
Winston's 2nd BN was at Redlands and it was fine. I just wouldn't do anything above that there.
MD HT puts on schooling stuff and their venue is top notch.

Jan. 13, 2011, 01:39 PM
St Augustine PC (Chesapeake City) has Springfest on 5/1- very low key and inviting, and no PA system to shake horses up LOL.
Also, Olde Hope in Earleville has a whole series.

Jan. 13, 2011, 02:48 PM
I'll add another one.

I like to use Difficult Run (At FPP in VA) as a first recognzed event, becuase it is open for schooling (no charge) until quite close to the event. Even tough not all the portables are out, it gves the green horse a chance to get used tothe place.

Yes, the footing can be chewed up (though the do a great job of prepping it). Yes, you may have to do Dressage or Show Jumping in the indoor.

But for a greenie, I think the ability to school multiple times in advance REALLY helps the first time.

Meredith Clark
Jan. 13, 2011, 04:12 PM
St Augustine PC (Chesapeake City) has Springfest on 5/1- very low key and inviting, and no PA system to shake horses up LOL.
Also, Olde Hope in Earleville has a whole series.

I've taken every single one of my horses to Olde Hope for their first events. It's gotten busier than it was the first time I went there (maybe 2002?) but it's still a great event for young horses.

I think St. Augustine has more challenging x-country and stadium courses. But I also love that about it!

Sonoma City
Jan. 13, 2011, 04:26 PM
I'll add another one.

I like to use Difficult Run (At FPP in VA) as a first recognzed event, becuase it is open for schooling (no charge) until quite close to the event. Even tough not all the portables are out, it gves the green horse a chance to get used tothe place.

Totally agree, being able to see the course before competing over it is a great confidence booster! Last year for the unrecognized starter trials, Marlborough had a xc schooling day the day prior to the event, which I thought was great. They also made the water at BN mandatory but unjudged, which I also thought was a great concept for an unrecognized event.

Jan. 13, 2011, 07:42 PM
Always go to Fair Hill unrec. for first time horse and/or rider.
Not listed yet;
Stonewood Farm-Dover, Pa
Harmony Hill- York Springs, Pa
Plantation Field- very low key, but they have more entries @ the unrec. than a few yrs ago.

Jan. 13, 2011, 08:38 PM
I think Loch Moy would be close for you and also stuff in Virginia? How close is Maryland stuff?

Jan. 13, 2011, 10:20 PM
Maryland HT is about 30 to 45 mins at most from Charlestown. Compact course, good footing, Excellent atmosphere. Dates for the spring started series should be posted on the website, another place to look is the MDHT facebook page.
Difficult run is pretty good, lower key than I think morven is or at least in my opinion.

Jan. 13, 2011, 11:08 PM
Difficult Run or IBHPC.

Difficult Run will be more like a normal HT, since it's recognized, but both have a ton of jumps in the woods, making it more inviting for a greenie and preventing opportunity for runouts. IBHPC often cancels the spring HT, however, since the facility won't let them run if it rains :(

Jan. 13, 2011, 11:32 PM
another vote for Olde Hope being a great starter trial. non-timed. first couple jumps on xc for BN were shared with BBN, so you were able to give the horse a couple easy fences going away from the start box. warm-up is usually nice. stadium is not very technical, pretty straight forward and inviting.

I have to disagree about Full Moon being a good place to start. It was a well run event, with very nice fences/courses/and rings. but they do present a couple tough fences xc. My issue is the warmup. It was TERRIBLE this fall. Dressage warmup was on a slope and was tiny. They run 4 dressage rings, so you had about 30 or more people in the warmup at once. every flat spot or corner was taken up by a full moon trainer coaching a student. forget trying to canter in there, you're dodging riders to much. Then stadium warm up for the big ring was about the size of a dressage arena. They had plenty of room to make that larger, but the footing was a bit spongy, so I guess they didn't want to tear any more grass up than necessary. Again, I enjoyed their event, but for a first time out, warm-up is just not suited to allow a relaxing warm up.

Jan. 14, 2011, 12:22 AM
How far are you from central VA? I am from around richmond and the local Pony club puts on a really nice unrec. event every spring. (It was my first ever event when I was 12, and I try to make it back every year just to support the local PC)
here's the website. http://deeprunhuntponyclub.org/

Jan. 14, 2011, 10:01 AM
Oh, and to get a headstart, St Augustine is holding March Madness XC Schooling Days on weekends in March, so you can even school the fences before the event in May......

Jan. 14, 2011, 11:31 AM
I would go to any of the Loch Moy unrecognized shows. Very low key, everyone there is committed to a learning experience and if you have trouble xc, they sometimes open the xc course for schooling right after the show.

Jan. 16, 2011, 08:53 PM
The Ark (Charlotte, NC) may be a bit too far south for you, but we run an unrecognized HT in February and USEA HT in May (Maiden-Preliminary). Many riders bring their babies to run Maiden in February before doing a recognized BN later in the spring. The Maiden jumps are all 2' versions of their larger counterparts, and the BN course is also a good transitional/move up course.

Have fun getting out and about!