Combine a five-star resort with five-star show jumping, and you get Dan Carr’s brainchild, the ArenaMend Classic, which is set for Oct. 13-17 at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Carr announced Feb. 22 that this fall he will put on a Fédération Equestre Internationale CSI5* and CSI2* at the 18th century resort’s Meadows Golf Course.
The idea to host a competition there grew after Carr traveled to West Virginia in search of a location for the 2020 Pennsylvania National and Washington International Horse Shows. And while the Greenbrier didn’t fit the bill for those two shows, which were relocating because of COVID-19, he also didn’t discard the idea of hosting a horse show there that would cater to the elite level of show jumping.
“No one’s done this before,” said Carr. “No one’s put a five-star resort together with a five-star horse show [to] bring everybody together for one week.”
The show is limiting the number of horses on the grounds to 200, with 50 five-star riders and 60 two-star. Total prize money will be $711,200. On Friday five-star riders will compete in a class, with all entries invited back for the big Sunday event.
“The reason I did limited classes is so the riders and the families can come in as a destination and do other activities there. Obviously, there’s golf, the shooting, the falconry; I mean [there are] a plethora of things the resort offers,” said Carr. “I’m trying to make it more of a destination weekend and create a long-term event year after year. And the reason there are limited entries is [because] I don’t want them at the horse show from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. I really wanted to have a high competition but also [have riders] be able to enjoy everything else that the resort has to offer. We’re all on property. It could be a really fun weekend.”
Carr owns ArenaMend, a sustainable footing company. He’s passionate about limiting the environmental footprint in equestrian activities, and he’s bringing that focus to the ArenaMend Classic.
“We’re trying to make the whole horse show carbon neutral,” said Carr. “Part of the show is we’re willing to offer a carbon credit for all the horses, all the travel. For instance, if you are coming from California, it’s X amount of credits that need to be purchased for carbon to make your trip there—between your horses, your personal travel, grooms, etc.—to be zero carbon in the atmosphere.”
In addition to carbon credits and using his footing in all the arenas—the main competition arena, a schooling arena and a flatting arena—the Greenbrier will use compostable products for the event.
“We’re trying to take a big bite out of it,” he said. “My big push over the last seven or eight years was to try to create a product that was completely organic and is not hurtful to the environment. And so that’s how I decided to do the horse show as a platform [for] how to get this [message] out, at a beautiful place, at the Greenbrier.”