Copper Meadows proved once again yesterday why it is a favorite of eventers of the West, despite the sometimes very long drive! Those coming from Northern California often drive approximately 10 hours to reach the event, but once there, they are treated like family.
When rider concerns arose yesterday around the show jumping footing, Taren Atkinson and her team got behind their riders and figured out a better alternative. In order to not mess the timing of all the divisions, the CIC2*, CIC3*, Advanced and Intermediate riders agreed to start their stadium rounds at 8 a.m., and keep their same cross-country time.
For the CIC3* riders, this means less than an hour in between stadium and cross country, where all the riders will be tackling a newly designed Hugh Lochore course.
Lauren Billys, a long time supporter of Copper Meadows, reflected on the fact that this new format will make things a little different for West Coast riders. “For us West Coasters, this is a little bit different of a test for us. But it should be fun. It requires a little more strategy, limiting the number of jumps in warm up, for example.”
Woodland Stallion Station in Woodland, CA, held the West Coast’s only one day recognized event earlier in May. On the West Coast, three days are typical, with even two days being rare. This is quite a difference from the East Coast! When Lauren was back east for a stretch, she said she watched Boyd Martin ride seven horses in a one day. That’s 21 different rides, not to mention remembering which test and which course go with each horse!
Our CIC2* leader, Amber Levine, echoed Lauren’s thoughts about the adjusted format. “It’s really just about logistics,” she said. “One of my horses has two different bridles, and (you have to) rush back to get the other horse — it’s really just the little things.”
A pair contesting their first Advanced, Sarah Braun and Perfect Intentions, also have positive things to say about the change. “It should be fun! I have never done the double jumping format from stadium to cross country, so I’m not sure what to expect, but it’ll be a good warm up going into cross country.”
This is Hugh Lochore’s first time designing in California, and the course is completely different than ever before. Amber, who came down with Chocolate Horse Farm earlier this year, is excited that she has an entirely different CIC2* course to run! “It seems to have a good flow to it but with spots for a good gallop.”
Competitors familiar with the old course knew it as a twisty, turning course with undulating terrain and Hugh has tried to level it a bit to get some gallop stretches in. You can catch Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Hugh previewing the new CIC 3* track here.
While no new complexes have been built, things have been definitely moved around, and there are some new jumps. From the familiar keyhole now residing on an unfamiliar island, to starting and finishing at different places, the course has everyone excited. As Hugh himself said, “The course has changed so much with just the route change!” The consensus among riders is overwhelmingly positive, with quite a few looking at this as their final prep for Rebecca Farms in July.
All of which is to say that coming to Copper Meadows is more than just coming to an event. The venue is small, but gorgeous. Horses and riders both have advocates in the event organizers and volunteers. Perhaps Lauren Billys said it best: “The one thing I love most about Coppper is that they always take the riders into consideration. When you go there, you feel like you are welcomed into their home.”
“I think there’s a piece of Taren and her family’s heart in every event. It’s more than consideration, accomodation, more than respect. You become part of a family. Kudos to Taren Atkinson and her fabulous team.”
The venue released a statement sharing the love right back. “Copper Meadows strives to be the best that we can be, and when things don’t go perfectly as planned it is wonderful to have the support of our talented, encouraging Area VI riders!”
Go Copper Meadows, go eventing, and go #copperstrong .