Millbrook Horse Trials Canceled For 2022

May 5, 2022 - 3:15 PM

Update: This story was updated May 9 to include a statement from Riga Meadow Equestrian Center, which owns part of the property upon which Millbrook Horse Trials runs.

Millbrook Horse Trials has been canceled for this year, its organizing committee announced Wednesday. It was scheduled to be held Aug. 4-7 in Amenia, New York.

The last advanced-level event left in Area I, which comprises New England and New York, Millbrook has long been popular with riders and spectators alike. It has been the only horse trials in the area to hold levels from beginner novice through advanced.

“Despite the effects of the pandemic, last year’s event was particularly vibrant and well attended, and we were expecting to expand on that this year,” a statement said, “Unfortunately, however, we have not been able to come to a mutually acceptable agreement with one of the landowners on whom we rely to host the competition.”

The event runs on two properties: The Millbrook School, which is leased by the event, holds the cross-country courses and has two small arenas. Next door, Coole Park Farm is a private barn and stable that has two main arenas crucial to the event.

Millbrook’s chairman of the board, Simon Roosevelt, said the use of Coole Park Farm is the source of the disagreement, but he hopes it can be resolved so that the event can run next year. Coole Park changed hands in 2019 and now is operated by Linda Bushnell, who runs her Riga Meadow Equestrian from the property.

“It’s difficult that we weren’t able to come to an agreement, particularly in view of the competition’s importance to so many communities and its long history,” he said. “That’s really disappointing for me and for the board and organizers and the many, many volunteers that come each year to support the horse trials and help us pull off a really terrific competition. We’re very hopeful, and we’re going to do our very best to make sure we’re back next year and even better.”

A statement issued by Riga Partners and Riga Meadow Equestrian Center indicated they, too, are interested in continuing the event:

“Riga Meadow Equestrian Center at Coole Park has been proud to host the Millbrook Horse Trials in the past.  It is our hope that it will return to this property in the future,” the statement read.  “MHT and Riga have been working for over a year to develop a mutually beneficial agreement for this year’s event, and we feel it is unfortunate one was not reached.  With renewed discussions and compromise, hopefully MHT will return to our farm next year.”

The event takes place on land protected by the Dutchess Land Conservancy and has become a fixture in the Area I. It celebrated 20 years in 2021.

“We’re hopeful for lots of reasons that it will continue next year,” Roosevelt said. “We feel that we have a commitment and an obligation to ensure the horse trials continues to operate at the highest standard of competition, particularly as we support all the upper levels, including the advanced. We’re hopeful we’ll be able to be back and better next year.”

The U.S. Eventing Association has vowed to help organizers save the event.

“The USEA has committed to assist Millbrook to make sure that this incredibly important event continues into the future,” said USEA President Max Corcoran, who grew up in Area I. “We will work with the organizers of Millbrook to solve this and make sure that the event is viable.”


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