Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Tradition Meets Adrenaline at Fresno County

While much of the eventing world had its eyes turned on the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event two weeks ago, a group of eventers in California experienced the ultimate thrill of the traditional long-format three-day event at the Fresno County Horse Park. They kicked off the 2018 Classic Series season, the calendar for which grows every year and currently sees 11 venues on the docket running various combinations of Beginner Novice through Preliminary long-format divisions.

Auburn Excell Brady and her 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding BSP Tuxedo led the FCHP Training Three-Day division from start to finish, winning on their dressage score of 31.2. The pair has finished on their dressage score in their last four consecutive Training level competitions (with three wins) and entered the three-day in anticipation of a move up to Preliminary.

“I really like the Training Three-Day format as a preparation to move up to Preliminary,” Auburn said in an interview with USEA. “I think it’s a great opportunity to train your horse and do something a little more challenging before you move to the next level. It’s a nice opportunity to test your horse’s fitness and I think that’s important when planning to move up.”

While the long-format no longer exists at the highest levels of the sport, the Classic is alive and well at Preliminary level and below. As more organizers add long-format divisions to their schedule and competitors recognize the educational value (and immeasurable fun) of the experience, the USEA Classic Series has grown from a desperate cling to tradition to being a popular bucket list item as well as a useful tool for competitors as they progress through the levels.

However, a Classic is not a competition to which you will simply enter at the last minute. It takes months of careful conditioning and planning to execute well. More than just a horse trials, long-format competitors also present to the veterinary delegate and ground jury at two formal horse inspections and cross country day climbs to a new level of intensity with a steeplechase round sandwiched between two roads and tracks phases. And that’s before they ever even see a cross country fence.

The Classic long-format remains the ultimate test of horse and rider and an experience no one should miss. Watch Auburn and “Tux” on their journey to the win at Fresno. Get inspired! Then check the Classic calendar to find a long-format event near you and start working on those trot sets.

[Blue Skies and Blue Ribbons: Fresno County Horse Park Starts the 2018 Classic Series Season]

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