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Olney Farm Horse Trials

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  • Olney Farm Horse Trials

    Help! I need feedback ( and entries too!). The new event at Jersey Horsepark this year has pretty much taken all my entries for my USEA event Aug 1 and I am in danger of cancelling. I have been running this event for 20+ years and have always wanted to stay small and friendly to encourage first year eventers or green horse eventers, but are the mega-events the "new wave"? As a competitor, would you rather go to the big ones (and pay more?). What do I need to not make my event the multi level, mega event, but still attract enough riders to make a go of it. I think I could do it with 60-75 riders - and we have been running 85-100 every year....but not this year. Has anyone been to Olney Farm HT in the last couple of years and can offer some constructive criticism? We are building new tracks with input from Sarah Connelly who has been co-organizing Denis Glaccum with Plantation Field Horse Trials and is going for her CD license, but do I spend the money ---or just go to unrecognized events? Oh yeah...I run BN, N and T. Is that just too old timey and backwoods?
    One of the reason I started a USEA event was to get USEA officials to look at my courses and make suggestions for better courses and fences , and improve safety. Good USEA judges won't work at unrecognized events because they don't have the liability insurance coverage that the USEA gives the recognized events gives them.

    Here's a chance for you as competitiors to let an organizer know what you want! And I can't complain because I asked you to tell me.....

  • #2
    Hi Ami,
    I had actually been looking at Olney HT. I usually am able to find some something online to let me see what the event is like... whether by looking through pictures of the HT through a photographers site, or looking at videos on YouTube of what the venue has been (from competitors posting their xc runs etc.) I know Olney is more of a "pony club type" event (I do not mean this in a demeaning way at all!) and so it does not get all of the "press" that the Jersey Park might get because it is smaller.

    That being said, it could be nice to see some sort of course walk for the levels. The photographer from the 2009 event took the pictures down due to space overload, and I was unable to find anything else via Google etc.

    I assure you that the mega-events are not always better than the PC type events. There is something very refreshing about a hometown type of event Kind of a deep breath after being thrown in divisions with Phillip and Boyd, you know?

    Hope this provides some useful feedback.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ami,
      We love your event - and sent our entry in last week. I know others from our barn were planning to come...so I'll bug them to make sure they send in their entries if they haven't done so already!
      Hannah O. and Redmond
      ~Drafties Clique~Sprite's Mom~ASB-loving eventer~
      www.gianthorse.photoreflect.com ~ http://photobucket.com/albums/v692/tarheelmd07/

      Comment


      • #4
        2 horses entered

        Ami:
        I'm bringing 2 horses (sent entry late last week) and a good friend sent an entry in yesterday. My feedback - the indoor makes it difficult for some of us to do a test in. I never (well...rarely) ride my horses in an indoor, so they are very tense in the indoor.

        Please don't shoot the messenger, but I've heard others complain about the inconsistency of the tracks for XC. I wasn't able to come last year, but I do remember thinking (I think it was) 2 years ago that the entry into the water for N and T was switched. I thought the N entry was more difficult than the T. But I could be wrong...

        I hope you run it. I enjoy your HT and think we need to continue to support the small private farms trying to do HTs.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ami,
          PM me. I am a photographer and up in your area a lot and can walk what you've got and help you get up a virtual course walk if needed -- can be done in a quick 1-hour walk!
          And don't panic. All organizers are reporting late and last minute swells of entries.
          Another suggestion would be the mixed levels -- BN/N, N/T -- where the dressage and stadium are the higher level and cross country the lower for those on the cusp of moving up. Do you have enough time/space/jumps to run a T and P combined test, too?
          The calendar in Area II had a bunch of changes this year. July was pretty empty after a couple of cancellations. It was sad that the NJ event ended up the same weekend; with the empty weekends BEFORE. Perhaps next year it can be moved up one week or back one week? Speaking out of turn here of course since I am far removed from any of that date-obtaining stuff (whew - that's like lifting up the water tub to dump it over and finding lots of little creepy animals waiting to bite you).
          Please don't cancel. It is an oldie but a goodie and we need you. Yes you could save money and go unrecognized but I hope not! Hang in there! And PM me, I'll get your pictures...
          Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
          Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

          Comment


          • #6
            I just sent my entry in yesterday . I wasn't planning on going, but I was talked into it .

            I was there two years ago (Novice) and I had dressage in the indoor, which I didn't like because my horse spent the entire test spooking, but, it seems the judge took that into consideration. I thought stadium was- how can I put this?- inconsistent and poorly designed. IIRC, there were sharp roll backs and a long gallop to vertical at the bottom of the hill. There were several TEs because riders missed a jump because the flow was so bad. I thought the XC was tough, but I like harder XC courses, so that wasn't really an issue with me. I am looking forward to coming again; I just hope the stadium is a fairer test this time .

            Comment


            • #7
              Just as a bump- Olney Farm has run a great horse trial for years! My first time there was 1991. Ami and everyone involved have always been awesome!

              I've brought friends over the years for their first Olney experience, and they always loved it!

              My guy is recovering from an injury so we are getting a late start, and won't be ready in time, or we would definitely be there!
              My big man - April 27, 1986 - September 04, 2008-
              You're with me every moment, my big red horse.

              Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting a battle of some kind.

              Comment


              • #8
                Question Ami: If I decide to enter a second horse next week, would that be too late? (I want to see how he goes this weekend first before I decide.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have been a couple times at T.
                  I love the smaller, more local events.

                  I think the online course walk is a great idea! I love to see what I'm signing up for first, and if you're finding that people are more familiar with the big events, that might improve their comfort level.

                  As others have said, the indoor is really dark and that tends to spook the horses. I thought the s-j was good, but I did hear other complaints. The x-c was a little hard to navigate at times (the wooded parts are pretty narrow/not great footing) but overall I liked it.

                  I'm not sure if I personally would make the drive again--it was a haul from NoVA, which made more sense before a lot of closer summer events started up (Surefire, MDHT, etc.). Long trailer rides being no fun in August.

                  But if you were closer I'd definitely go.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Love Olney!

                    Ami,

                    I love that Olney HT offers nice move-up courses. I always encourage folks to go there when first starting out or trying a new level. It was one of my early events and will be my first event this season now that my horse is successfully re-habed from a few injuries. I have only ridden in the outdoor arena for Dressage so can't speak to the indoor, but could see the difficulty. Stadium is a challenge with the space you have, but I think a good CD can use the terrain to your advantage as other events on grass do. We spent a few years moving things around to get ours where we like it....finally!

                    One note on stadium... I was lucky enough to watch Phillip Dutton ride the stadium course before my rounds a couple years ago and it helped when I went without my coach. I think it's great that riders of his caliber come to your event to school new horses and we get the added benefit of learning by watching.

                    Entries are very frustrating and very late for every event anymore. I really hope you get enough as I'm traveling a lot but committed to making it work.

                    Have you thought about adding Prelim (is it even feasible?) or even a PT division where you could run T XC and P SJ? I liked the other ideas for NT also and think we have to be more flexible than ever, which I know you are.

                    Perhaps you can address this with the Area 2 council for some resolution next year. I agree NJ is probably putting the pressure on your event.

                    Donna

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Olney Farm HT

                      Originally posted by Catalina View Post
                      Question Ami: If I decide to enter a second horse next week, would that be too late? (I want to see how he goes this weekend first before I decide.)
                      Not too late. Hope he goes well!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Olney Farm HT

                        Originally posted by Silver Notebook View Post
                        Ami,

                        I love that Olney HT offers nice move-up courses. I always encourage folks to go there when first starting out or trying a new level. It was one of my early events and will be my first event this season now that my horse is successfully re-habed from a few injuries. I have only ridden in the outdoor arena for Dressage so can't speak to the indoor, but could see the difficulty. Stadium is a challenge with the space you have, but I think a good CD can use the terrain to your advantage as other events on grass do. We spent a few years moving things around to get ours where we like it....finally!

                        One note on stadium... I was lucky enough to watch Phillip Dutton ride the stadium course before my rounds a couple years ago and it helped when I went without my coach. I think it's great that riders of his caliber come to your event to school new horses and we get the added benefit of learning by watching.

                        Entries are very frustrating and very late for every event anymore. I really hope you get enough as I'm traveling a lot but committed to making it work.

                        Have you thought about adding Prelim (is it even feasible?) or even a PT division where you could run T XC and P SJ? I liked the other ideas for NT also and think we have to be more flexible than ever, which I know you are.

                        Perhaps you can address this with the Area 2 council for some resolution next year. I agree NJ is probably putting the pressure on your event.

                        Donna
                        Denis (Glaccum) encouraged me to add Prelim and I did consider a PT course last year, but as soon as you step over the Training "line" you are in to FEI levels, rules and expenses. However, maybe it is something I need to consider!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Catalina View Post
                          Question Ami: If I decide to enter a second horse next week, would that be too late? (I want to see how he goes this weekend first before I decide.)
                          you mean when he goes nice this weekend - you'll enter him!!!! No need to wait!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            UPDATE:
                            To those who requested photos of the course -- we have a plan in the works and hope to get some up as soon as Ami gives me the word that the various jumps are ready to be photographed. Stay tuned!
                            Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                            Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I started riding at Olney and hence have been volunteering for, oh, 13 years now? You won't find a better group of organizers and volunteers who love the sport, the riders, and the horses. I wish I could be there this year but moved to NC for grad school so am a bit far away now

                              Ami, just a couple ideas...

                              maybe for rides in the indoor...have the judge let them have a little more time before they ring the bell to acclimate their horses to the indoor?

                              Virtual coursewalk is a great idea, glad you're on top of that!

                              SJ can get confusing...just make sure the track flows...remember it's hot in August and most riders are terrible at keeping themselves hydrated, a difficult twisty course to remember isn't necessary, our brains are already operating below normal! The terrain is always more of a challenge than people think too.

                              Would definitely consider adding PT back in (I think you did that a couple times, years ago?) I don't think you necessarily need to do a full P track, but there is definitely a market for PT in the area

                              Good luck! A lot of area II entries are low this year until the last minute.

                              -Kara, Hop, and Owen

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Olney HT

                                Some good thoughts have come...
                                Indoor: originally I put BN in there because there is no opportunity to jump out of the ring - and sometimes that's a problem with "baby" horses! Most of the judges do let riders make a circuit around inside before they ring the bell; but some don't. This year, we'll just open it as another schooling area.

                                Show jump: Our arena does measure larger than many, but there is terrain. Since we are an eventing facility, our beginner riders are schooled in winding tracks and lots of varied jumps - even from the very first cross rails and sometimes I forget not everyone has access to that. Kara may be right, that heat and lack of hydration may make your brain a little fuzzy trying to remember a twisty track!

                                New tracks for the courses - hope they will be as good or better than last years.

                                Thanks for all comments. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can pay the judges and put new paint on the jumps!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Please don't cancel your event - many of us don't want to go as far as NJ or spend the $ to participate in the pricier events. We need facility owners just like you to continue to offer non-professionals a great option and fun day!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Thank you Ami for listening to our suggestions . I look forward to being there in a few weeks!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Catalina View Post
                                      Thank you Ami for listening to our suggestions . I look forward to being there in a few weeks!
                                      ...with 2 horses!!!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        we just entered 4. you should recieve those entries shortly. first time at your HT ! looking forward to it
                                        www.yellowroseeventing.com

                                        Comment

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