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Feedback Wanted: St Augustine PC Unrecog HT (MD)

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  • Feedback Wanted: St Augustine PC Unrecog HT (MD)

    So.........we are now officially co-organizers of the St Augustine Pony Club Unrecognized Springfest HT here at Unicorn Farm in Chesapeake City on Sat 4/24. We have always loved riding here- everyone is friendly, the courses are well built, the footing is good, and it runs on time- but entries have been light in the last year or two, and we are revamping the event.

    We have added a pre-elementary (leadline allowed), plus the regular elementary, intro, beg novice, and novice. The novice division will have some training options flagged if someone wants that challenge.

    We are also adding "dressage only" rides so people can ride the new 2010 eventing tests in a competition setting- and will schedule those rides early in the day. You can come and just ride one or more dressage tests, or if you are entered in the HT, you can ride an extra test if you want. Dressage tests will be scored according to eventing rules (converted to penalty pts, low score is better) and ribbons will be awarded in the dressage only classes- blue (teens-20's), red (30's), yellow (40's) depending on your score.

    Finally, we are offering an award for the lowest scoring PC'er, lowest scoring TB (of course!), and a discount for PC members.

    BUT! We want and need your feedback on how to make this event the best it can be. Have you ridden here in the past? What did you like/dislike? What would you change?

    Thanks in advance!
    Bev & Ginny
    MidAtlantic Horse Rescue
    Be a part of the solution~ Adopt a thoroughbred!

  • #2
    Hey Bev- It's been a looong time since I've ridden there! Let me know if you need any help with things. The only thing I would love to see is for you to start a service.... cattle prodding us older folk into actually tacking up one of our herd and riding!!!! LOL! I have no motivation. :*(

    eta- I have overnight stalls available if any of your enteries need close stabling.



    • #3
      I am fairly close, but tend to go to the northeast ohio series for unrecognized events. Definitely do all you can to get the word out over here in PA, as we often have to travel a little further and I suspect many would be happy to come your way. Will you have stabling available?

      You might also consider adding a CT, especially if you are running dressage test of choice already, maybe including a level or two up from where you are doing the HT to possibly draw more entries. I think that would be helpful for many people, especially early in the season.


      • Original Poster

        Hey Laurie! This is actually the event that got Ginny and I back into eventing again after all those years at the track- we dared each other to ride, we took rescue horses, went elementary and those 18" fences looked huge! Since then Ginny has gotten Chuck going well at Training and has her rescue mare now going Novice- my rescue guy is finally starting Novice this spring after some minor soundness issues last fall. Maybe we should have an award for re-riders- for those who are thinking about dusting off those tall black boots and finding a coat that fits after all these years.
        Be a part of the solution~ Adopt a thoroughbred!


        • #5
          Opinion coming from someone who is typically riding ottb's going to their first few events.

          - Previous courses didn't make any sense to me and instead of giving confidence they backed the horses off. My issue has always been that they like to throw some big scary fence within the first 3 fences on course which doesn't help get your horse in the flow. Example- red coop with metal strip on top for BN/Novice or those ugly looking wine barrels as a first fence for BN! and I could go on and on. I remember riding my horse in intro for his first event and they had this rolltop covered in thatch and it was highly decorated with all these stalks sticking out of it http://pets.webshots.com/photo/14906...58815717rIONkQ and the first three people either fell off or were eliminated at that fence. It was fence 2 on the course. My horse was pretty brave but I can see that fence backing off a good bunch of horses.

          I don't want an easy course but for a starter event a course that helps the horse develop confidence make me more likely to attend. A natural fence for the first fence that you can ride up to and a course that makes sense it it's development from easy to hard as you go along.

          I love the terrain and there are so many options to use uphill and downhill fences and of course the light to dark options as well. I love exposing the horses to those types of questions early on in their careers but using inviting fences that will help you if they make a greenie mistake.

          Would love to see some smaller banks and ditches for the greenies incorporated into the course. I have never seen a ditch used even at Novice so it would be fun to have one.

          I always love the stadium and find that it rides well and is nicely decorated. Footing is excellent, nice layout, good food and great volunteers.

          I suppose my other thinking on why entries have been low is that this event is a starter trial and can be a bit challenging really requiring you to sit up and ride. They do use the terrain, light to dark questions, road crossings and the horses are unable to see any buddies which can result in some behavioral issues. For whatever reason I see more people have issues on this course than many of the other local starter trials. I do believe it is because they aren't being taught how to ride properly or answer the questions being asked so they just don't know what to do when it shows up on the course.

          I think I would dumb down the intro level to make that a bit easier but leave it a bit challenging at BN and Novice. Maybe satisfy more people that way? The intro has ridden more like a BN in the past and many people don't want to do elementary but they aren't quite ready for BN either. Make the intro softer to fill that gap? Just thinking out loud.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks Lucky Star- we actually toyed with running a CT with Training as well as the HT but opted for straight dressage - we were concerned about the scheduling aspect more than anything else...Once we get Springfest under our belts, we may look at that CT option for Harvestfest this fall, for riders who want to try a bigger course before the season ends.
            Last edited by BeverlyAStrauss; Jan. 15, 2010, 01:09 PM.
            Be a part of the solution~ Adopt a thoroughbred!


            • Original Poster

              Jess, I am glad you saw this, I was going to email you! I agree, the xc courses have not had a lot of flow and there are some "UhOhWhatsThat" fences esp early- yet I found the Novice to be log, log, log, another log, after you jump the red coopy thing. I agree about the ditches, and have already tackled that- there is a nice "dip type of ditch" (similar to Plantation) we can use, and there is a Novice ditch but it is really deep and I hope to fill it in a bit so it is not so scary- or build a new one. Someone at Fair Hill thought the xc fences were over decorated adding to the uh-oh factor so we are gonna fix that too.
              Be a part of the solution~ Adopt a thoroughbred!


              • #8
                I am in the area and just getting back into eventing. When I was thinking about where to go for a friendly starter trial last year, my coach said that St. Augustine has some spooky fences and recommended that my horse and I go someplace else first. I had planned to go to St. Augustine's fall Derby, since we had gotten a bit more experience by then, but the weather intervened.

                I think Olde Hope really does a great job with starter trials. Everything is in the same general area, and the courses are super straightforward, but with some variety to the fences. For the Elementary and Intro, I think it's better to err on the side of too easy, since one half of the partnership is likely to be green and maybe nervous. For horses and rider just starting out, you want a competition to be welcoming and fun - there is lots of room to move up when it's not challenging enough anymore.
                "A canter is a cure for every evil." -Benjamin Disraeli


                • #9
                  I have never shown there, but I know it makes a difference to me to know I am going somewhere where a licensed designer and TD have looked over the course. While you probably don't want to pay a designer to completely design a course, maybe you could pay to have one come out and look over things, make suggestions, etc and then have someone come take a look when it is almost ready (you could even invite some rider rep types that live near to walk course and point out their concerns). Probably better at a new (or newly revamped) event to err a little on the side of too easy.
                  OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                  • #10
                    Alot of riders aren't prepared or don't know the rules[neither do their instructors] at these starters-there are other threads on that.
                    I seriously would NOT offer a leadline, the few extra bucks isn't worth it.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ltc4h View Post
                      Alot of riders aren't prepared or don't know the rules[neither do their instructors] at these starters-there are other threads on that.
                      I seriously would NOT offer a leadline, the few extra bucks isn't worth it.
                      Leadline is VERY popular at Olde Hope. If it is run the way they run it, or similarly, then it will be fine. At Olde Hope, leadline is completely enclosed. The jumping is less than poles on the ground. The dressage is done in a fenced in arena. It is very safe and inviting and Jane has found that it offers the younger siblings of the other competitors something to do at shows.


                      • #12
                        FYI, Bev, Tuckahoe Pony Club has it on their schedule, so will be there! Thanks for the PC discount

                        Teams are fun, especially for re-riders, who can con their friends into going and feeling part of the fun, instead of alone and quaking from fear at doing the first dressage test they've done in 400 years.
                        Alison Howard
                        Homestead Farms, Maryland www.freshorganicvegetables.com


                        • #13

                          I think that is great....

                          I agree about what others are saying about the x-c. It looked like the course went where the jumps were convenient, rather than any purpose. With all that great turf that always holds up well, don't leave the baby logs in the woods path and have horses sliding over them. Even if the course is a bit on the short side distance wise. And NO metal drainage pipe jumps!!

                          Stadium was a bit disorganized last year. No one could decide what the distance should be in the in and out. Get someone like Sally Cousins to come down and "proof" everything if you don't use a recognized course designer, or TD.


                          • Original Poster

                            Wow, what great feedback! Keep it comin'!

                            I was one of those "How long is this combination supposed to be" riders in stadium! I went to Sally's just to school combos and come up with a strategy (we had a nice eensy two at the event-it was either that or blast through (or maybe by) in one. Not for my old war horse. I am so NOT a metal pipe person, have to work on that one. The pre-elem is offered by popular demand, we have some young riders who are not comfortable off a lead and/or need to be enclosed.
                            Be a part of the solution~ Adopt a thoroughbred!


                            • #15
                              St Augustine

                              I am a re-rider on a green intro(2'3") level horse. I would attend your event if it is friendly with appealing jumps. I attend every one at Olde Hope and Fair Hill,find Plantation BN slightly too big a move up(they have no intro) have not gone to St Aug. because I feared some wildly decorated jumps might back off my timid mare. I would, however, appreciate miniature versions of "real" questons- ditch, water, bank , skinny,real terrain etc, all of which we practice but have not found much in competitions. We are not ready for novice, but are way beyond elem., and are somewhat bored. I love Fair Hill intro level course, but it is somewhat boring. Good luck with your event!


                              • #16
                                I really like St Augustine I got to school there for the first time with my OTTB this fall.

                                I have watched competitions there before (my sister rode there 2 or 3 years ago) but I never realized how many courses they have and how far into the woods it goes. I guess they used to run big people HTs there so there's some cool old jumps.

                                I know it's a Pony Club that host the events but I wish that people wouldn't forget about 4-H. I didn't do pony club when I was little (I didn't know of them and I also rode western as well as english) but I always was frustrated when horse shows offered a "Pony Club" discount and not 4-H, they work really hard and are good horse people too and maybe they would be willing to join PC as well if they were reached out too.

                                Can you tell that I resent never being a PC-er ?

                                Also... I hate when dressage isn't marked well. I did a starter event recently and on top of being nervous and on a horse who had never been to a show before.. I couldn't find my dressage ring! The rings weren't marked, the judges weren't there and no one seemed to know what was going on. It was hard warming up and trying to get ready when I had no idea where I was supposed to go or when. Having a dressage Stewart can really help things run smoothly.

                                It's just one of those simple things that can ruin the start of your day!
                                http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                • #17
                                  oh and I LOVE the TB award!!! I plan on winning that
                                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                  • #18
                                    Hey Bev, this is great news! Thanks so much for taking this on, and good luck! If I may, I would like to pretty much follow along what Jess has said -- more flow on the courses, just a little more thought to what fences are where.

                                    One thing I think about with a green horse or rider is where and how the start is placed so that the first fence is inviting, framed, and has a good takeoff where the horse is encouraged to go forward. Sometimes the first fence is facing the woods away from warmup, etc. and boy is it hard.

                                    I think saving yourself some time and don't decorate too much! Mulch the ground lines, brush - that's enough. Not too wild! I ride as many horses on all levels of this event as anyone -- I don't think I've missed entering one in three or four years -- and I just love the footing and the kids and the ambiance.

                                    One more thing - please please please move that log jump after the water. It's off stride and rides awkwardly. And, I really would like to see some of the training stuff beefed up a little or moved around some, and having the N-T option is a great idea - option the T dressage, and the T stadium but allow the XC to stay at the upper end of novice - great idea and good way for those who want to move up to get a feel for that before a recognized event...

                                    As far as pumping entries, just get the word out early and keep the website up to date and clear - if you can figure out a way to allow entries online or by email that would super - very convenient and might bring in more entries. Love the event and glad to see you guys working on it!

                                    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                                      As far as pumping entries, just get the word out early and keep the website up to date and clear - if you can figure out a way to allow entries online or by email that would super - very convenient and might bring in more entries. Love the event and glad to see you guys working on it!

                                      I forgot that.. I don't like the webpage at all! It's just really confusing and before I knew about the horse trial I wasn't sure why I was on a Pony Club's website and if i could even enter.

                                      Also at one time (can't remember what event it was for) the date for the event or derby or something was different on the home page than it was on the event's own page. Just confusing!

                                      Maybe it could have it's own direct page

                                      www.StAugHorseTrials.com or something ya know?
                                      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                      • Original Poster

                                        You are all so awesome to take your time to put all this down- and believe me, we are taking it all seriously! Great points-

                                        As far as the website, we are ON it. The site is being redesigned as we speak and should be operational in the next week or two- Barb from Website Design and Images is on it (she did our MAHR site), and I am going to maintain it-- and yes, we are gonna have online entry and payment options- for the events and any xc schoolings and clinics. Worked on ads today and got all stuff to the various calendars (Horse of Del Valley, Marketer, Equiery)(It is a good thing it has been too cold to show rescue horses I guess) Also have paper prize lists and entry forms in the works to take to PC Quiz, Olde Hope, tack shops, etc.

                                        And Meredith- if there are any 4Hers who want to come, they can have the discount too! I will see if I can get the entry form revised.....a good friend of mine ran the 4H at UD for awhile but I really don't know a whole lot about how active the clubs are around here......Can't wait to see your guy. I hope to have my job done so on THE day, I can ride my Wish horse........but I doubt we would be in the running for the award just bc he isn't convinced dressage is something an old stake horse should be doing.......

                                        Keep the feedback coming!
                                        Be a part of the solution~ Adopt a thoroughbred!