We are very pleased to wish a warm EN welcome to Area X’s newest event, Southern Arizona H.T.! Held at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tuscon, Arizona, the inaugural competition will take place March 24-25, 2018.
Though this event is brand spanking new, it’s creation is years in the making. It all starts with George and Nina Masek who owned Grass Ridge Farm in Sonoita, Arizona.
They faithfully served their eventing community for decades, and their Grass Ridge Farm H.T. was a staple on the Area X calendar. Following their deaths, the last of their farm’s namesake competitions was sadly held in 2014. The Grass Ridge Equestrian Foundation (GREF) then set out to ensure the sport’s future in southern Arizona.
“‘GREF’ was tasked with the unfortunate reality of wrapping up operations, but wanted to preserve the Masek’s legacy and eventing in Southern Arizona in same way,” explained Marian LaLonde, President of the Southern Arizona Eventing Association. It was the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one and from there, the Southern Arizona Eventing Association (“SAzEA”) was born. The GREF Board worked to preserve the jumps and equipment and passed the torch to SAzEA and a new Board of Directors who accepted the mission to find a new home to continue eventing in Southern Arizona.”
The SAzEA explored their options for an eventing hub, eventually finding a home at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tuscon, Arizona, where 60 acres have been allotted by the Southwestern Fair Commission for a cross country course.
Check out a tour of the Southern Arizona H.T. venue:
In addition to the spacious cross country track, which is being designed by Adri Lea Doyal, the fairgrounds also boasts permanent stabling, hundreds of RV hookups, accessibility to the beautiful city of Tucson and close proximity to Interstate 10.
“This is a dream come true and SAzEA is the story of how a collaborative effort consisting of an amazing group of board members, coordinators, builders, trainers, donors, supporters, family members and invaluable volunteers can make a positive difference in our sport!” Marian continued.
“We are so pleased to be able to provide another venue for the training and education of our Pony Clubs, Young Riders, and Adult Riders who are all part of keeping the sport of eventing alive. We look forward to seeing everyone in March for our first annual Southern Arizona Horse Trials and future Arena Eventing or clinic events in 2018.”
“We are dedicated to continuing to improve and expand the course and to offer new and exciting opportunities for our sport in the years to come. We are so grateful for the fantastic amount of enthusiasm and support we have received and we are especially appreciative of all of the encouragement and generosity from our donors, exhibitors and trainers in Area X. This project was a huge undertaking and those of us on the SAzEA Board didn’t fully appreciate what we were getting ourselves into, but we have learned that it pays off to dream big. At long last, it is finally time for all of us to KICK ON AND RIDE! See you all soon!”