Eventing in the Pacific Northwest Is Stepping Up Its Game

Exciting things are afoot in Area VII, which encompasses Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Cadence Michel is a Young Rider from the area who has kindly agreed to keep EN updated on what's new! If you're interested in writing for EN, let us know at [email protected]

Junior Novice competitor Emilie Everett and Yankee Bay at Aspen Farm H.T. Photo by Cadence Michel. Junior Novice competitor Emilie Everett and Yankee Bay at Aspen Farm H.T. Photo by Cadence Michel.

Eventing in the Pacific Northwest is often overshadowed by the sunnier scene down south in California, perhaps due to our shortened season or disagreeable weather. However, after the start to the 2016 season we’ve seen up here in Area VII, I think that should change.

The new horse trials at Spokane Sport Horse in Spokane, Washington, which took place at the end of May, posed an exciting and testing course despite being the first event of the season. With scores incredibly close after dressage throughout the levels and competitors on top of their game, the weekend was one for the books, and surely will be in the future as well. A fall horse trial will be held at the venue Oct. 7-9.

This past weekend Aspen Farms H.T. in Yelm, Washington, held its annual spring event. It newly features CIC1* and 2* divisions, the addition of which has been very positive for Area VII as it has previously been impossible to break onto the FEI stage without traveling to California.

The weekend definitely did not disappoint. As always the courses for both cross country and show jumping presented at Aspen Farms were challenging and fun, making for good competition. The development and focus on creating excellent upper level courses at the venue over the last several years has become an integral and much needed part of the Area VII season.

The seventh obstacle on the CIC2* at Aspen Farms. Challenging questions and courses made for an exciting and competitive weekend. Photo by Cadence Michel.

The seventh obstacle on the CIC2* at Aspen Farms. Challenging questions and courses made for an exciting and competitive weekend. Photo by Cadence Michel.

Area VII’s competitors seem more game than ever. The CIC2* was a nail biter, with Emily Pestl-Dimmitt and Airlington sitting in first on her dressage score of 41.6 going into the final day of competition. Marc Grandia on Indio BMW and Mary Burke on Prince William sat in second and third after dressage and maintained their positions after serving double clear show jumping rounds. Cross country ran fast and time proved to be the biggest test to competitors. Marc Grandia prevailed on the final day of competition, adding only 3.6 time penalties to his dressage score of 43.6 over a trying course. Mary Burke finished close on his heels, ending the weekend on a score of 48.6.

Competition in the CIC1* division proved just as thrilling. Maris Burs on her own Cooley Wick took first, finishing on her dressage score of 45.2, and Young Rider Patience O’Neal on BC Huw took second in the pair’s first one star effort.

Many thanks to Chesna Klimek for the videos! View complete results from the event here.

Speaking of Young Riders, the Area VII program is in the midst of developing some very competitive pairs, who are consistently winning and placing not only in Junior divisions but Open and Challenge divisions as well. After sending competitive teams to NAJYRC for the last two years, and Patience O’Neal and Madelynn Snoozy individually bringing the silver medal home for Area VII two years in a row, this area has the potential to develop an incredibly strong new generation for our sport.

Not only is it heartening to be developing upper level courses that can hold their own with those outside our area, it is equally exciting to be seeing competitive horses and riders coming out of this area as well. The Pacific Northwest is stepping up its game, and I’d be paying attention if I were you — but then again, maybe we prefer the element of surprise.

Area VII Young Riders cheesing in a group photo with team coach Dayna Lynd-Pugh after Aspen Farms Young Rider Social.

Area VII Young Riders cheesing in a group photo with team coach Dayna Lynd-Pugh after Aspen Farms Young Rider Social. Photo by Cadence Michel.

Also, on behalf of myself and the entire eventing community of Area VII, I’d like to offer my condolences to Amy Evans, whose beloved horse Harrison was euthanized at Aspen Farms H.T. after fracturing his right foreleg during their cross country round. Losing a friend and partner is never easy, our thoughts and support are with you.

Amy Evans and Harrison. Photo courtesy of Amy Evans.

Amy Evans and Harrison. Photo courtesy of Amy Evans.

Amy Evans and Harrison. Photo courtesy of Amy Evans.

Amy Evans and Harrison. Photo courtesy of Amy Evans.

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