Taren Atkinson, wife of James Atkinson, was kind enough to send us an event report and photos from Grass Ridge in Arizona. We greatly appreciate Taren keeping us updated on events from the West Coast! Thanks to Taren for writing, and thank you for reading.
James and I are just driving home from the Event at Grass Ridge, in Sonoita, Arizona, and I thought I’d send some photos and give riders an idea of what this cool, small event is like. Sonoita sits about 40 minutes south east of Tucson, and is considered high desert, so the landscape is scrub brush, grassy rolling terrain and small trees with big thorns on them! The facility hosts multiple combined driving shows a year, one horse trials in October and small schooling shows. The cross-country course is designed and built by Greg Schlappi, and is very Arizona-esque: the jumps all look natural and like they belong on the land they sit on, most are made of dark wood and are friendly shapes (think round edges everywhere). This show is a small one, but runs smoothly and is a great event for bringing young horses up through the levels. That being said, there is also stiff competition in the Area X Championship divisions, and excellent prizes to be won. This year I saw Frederic Bouland win money and a bridle for his 1st place finish in the Prelim Champ divisions aboard Elliot of Leeds.
Competition ran on Saturday and Sunday, with dressage and show jumping Saturday followed by cross-country on Sunday. Some things that I love about this show: the town of Sonoita. They don’t even have a stoplight. Seriously, not even one. However, the Steak Out Restaurant serves amazing food, and is the perfect blend of cowboy bar and upscale dining to accommodate girls and guys in breeches and hats. The On The Road Cafe cooks up great breakfast food and gives free coffee refills all day. The weather’s perfect: 70’s all weekend, sunny but not hot. The vibe: Nina and George Masik, owners, are two very nice people, and it is always fun to see them out and about on show days mingling with riders. That attitude carries down to officials, and there is a very laid back air to the show. Stabling: open stalls that allow tons of air through, lots of light in, and the horses love them. The drive: only 7 hours from Southern California – it’s one of the closest events for us at Copper Meadows! I’d love to see more Area 6 riders at this lovely event, we sure won’t be missing another one!