As the international eventing season is winding down throughout Europe, the action is just kicking into high gear here in the USA. The $100,000 Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event is one of several highly anticipated competitions still to come, this year set to take place one week before Thanksgiving on Nov. 16-19.
The 924-acre venue in Reddick, Florida escaped Hurricane Irma without sustaining any major damage, and course designers Mike Etherington-Smith and Clayton Fredericks visited the site at the end of September to inspect the courses and make final preparations for the CIC3*, CCI2* and CCI* tracks.
“I was delighted with how the courses rode last year,” Mike said. “There has been a massive effort ever since, and the course is more mature and grown in this year.
“The Ocala Jockey Club is one of the nicest places to design a cross country course in the U.S. It has exceptional viewing and course visibility from every angle, fantastic tailgating opportunities, great atmosphere, great interest from the riders and a great organizing committee.”
Mike is once again designing the CIC3* course this year, with Clayton returning as the designer for the CCI2* and CCI* courses.
“The footing is the best in the U.S. It is a real park with open space, long gallops and gentle undulations,” Clayton said.
“As a rider, there are four important things to me about an event — the footing, the quality of the course and fences, the ability to entertain and keep your owners and sponsors happy, and the opportunity to win some prize money. This event and this venue check all four. There are great opportunities to feel the excitement, watch and meet Olympic-level riders and build up the local community.”
The $100,000 in prize money proved to be a big draw for competitors last year, with more than 70 horses entered in the CCI* and 20 apiece in the CCI2* and CIC3*. Like last year, special awards and prize money will also be given to the highest placing Jockey Club registered Thoroughbreds or foreign Thoroughbreds recognized by the Jockey Club in each division.
In addition to the competition, Ocala Jockey Club will also host community activities during the horse trials, with a Family Fall Festival offering sack races and a scavenger hunt on the cross country course. Ticket information and more details are available at ojc3de.com.
Entries are open through Oct. 30. Click here to view the Omnibus listing. To get a feel for the event, view last year’s courses and read about all the action from the inaugural horse trials in 2016, click here to read all of EN’s coverage from last year.
Are you planning to be at the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event as a competitor or spectator? Let us know in the comments below!