It’s cross country day at the Colorado Horse Park, which is hosting the Area IX Championships this weekend and they’ve made a full-out spectator event out of the occasion.
The cross country course received a complete overhaul earlier this year courtesy of course designer James Atkinson, and the September horse trials have made some additional improvements and tweaks since the new course debuted in June.
“On this course I wanted to make sure that you’re not locked into a single track,” James said of CHP earlier this year. “As a designer, you want to allow for changes, reroutes, and creativity. We’ve built some very cool fences that are going to be somewhat decorative, but really represent the history and feel of this community.”
In addition to the open and Area IX Championship divisions, there are also two 3-day long format divisions for Novice and Training level riders. For those who are devoted to the fitness, flair, and stamina of the long format, this undulating prairie course will be an exciting challenge.
But it’s not just the competitors who will be having their share of fun this weekend; CHP also holds a family festival in conjunction with cross country day that features food vendors, kid activities, a craft beer tent (YES PLEASE), and live music.
Debuting at the Fall Family Festival is the “Cross Country Safari”, which takes guests on a driver-guided tour of the course during the action to see up to six different questions up close and personal. This is an ideal option for families with young children or even riders from other disciplines who have never seen eventing close up (word on the street is that there’s a large H/J going on at CHP this weekend, as well!)
The Family Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and cross country rounds begin at 8:00 a.m.