Oregon Horse Center Opens New Eventing Venue

When I showed up to volunteer at the Oregon Horse Center’s DX Eventing competition last month and saw the course that was no more than a twinkle in organizers’ eyes prior to June, I was delighted to find so many beautiful jumps for riders from the Grasshopper to Novice/Training level.

Just a few of the jumps on the OHC cross country course. Photos by Biz Stamm.

Oregon Horse Center in Eugene, about 100 miles south of Portland, is a popular venue for breed shows, western performance shows and most famously known for the extreme mountain trail course, which has produced many a viral video, but it’s not really known for hosting any kind of sport horse competitions.

Major Defoe, the owner and founder of the OHC, explained what it was like navigating this new territory and how he managed to make so much progress so quickly. “Getting into something you don’t know a whole lot about will always be challenging, but I have great people working for me with the skills and knowledge to make it happen.”

Major hired Annie Fike, who has many years of experience in both eventing and show jumping, as the OHC Director of Eventing. OHC eventing has access to the same talented builders and grounds crew that make the outrageously unreal extreme mountain trail course a reality. With a newly purchased excavator, who knows what kind of fun terrain modifications you might find on the cross country course in months to come.

While volunteering, I manned my post as a dressage steward while Annie simultaneously monitored the warm-up and ran and scored tests. I’m going to take it upon myself to bestow the title of Multitasker-in-Chief upon her. Her top goal, she explained, is to create a safe and inviting venue where people new to the sport of eventing can try it out in a low pressure situation.

Currently OHC eventing is offering a new eventing format that’s become popular in Oregon due to the scarcity of full cross country courses: DX Eventing, which the USEA introduced last year as part of the organization’s ongoing mission to make the sport as inclusive as possible.

The two-phase competition begins with a dressage phase, followed by a jumping phase that combines both show jumping and cross country fences.

In the months to come, OHC eventing is looking forward to hosting its winter indoor eventing series, with a course running through the multiple connected indoor arenas at the  venue, and jumper nights. OHC is also considering hosting an eventing equitation class to highlight the importance of a strong, effective jumping position, which made my inner Denny Emerson jump for joy.

Major said OHC hopes to host USEA recognized horse trials in the future, and EN wishes the venue the very best of luck as they continue to grow and serve the Pacific Northwest eventing community. Click here to access OHC’s calendar of events.

All horses and riders appeared to have a blast at the OHC DX event, and I suspect many will be back for the next. I had so much fun just watching that I’m seriously considering taking my little dressage horse for a spin around the course.

Go OHC Eventing!

Jenni Autry contributed to this report.

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