Willow Draw’s First Recognized Event Benefits Wounded Veterans

Kadi Eykamp on Last Dance, owned by Janet Book, second place in Open Training Division 1. Photo by Terrie Hatcher Photography.

Kadi Eykamp on Last Dance, owned by Janet Book, second place in Open Training Division 1. Photo by Terrie Hatcher Photography.

Willow Draw’s first USEA recognized horse trials, held this past Saturday, May 28 in Weatherford, Texas, debuted Carsten Meyer’s new course to Area V eventers for a confidence-building one-day event. Results are posted here.

“We donated $10,000 in horse trial profits to the Semper Fi Fund to help wounded veterans from all branches of service,” said Tre’ Book, owner and organizer along with his wife, Janet. “Semper Fi passed our review criteria for effective assistance and financial and accountability ratings, and has done great work with veterans in need of extra assistance.”

Chris Lowe of Saginaw, Texas, a veteran who served two tours in Iraq, attended the horse trials to represent Semper Fi with his wife Crystal and service dog Koda. Chris enjoyed the event and expressed gratitude to Tre’ and Janet Book for their support and for helping get the word out about the help that Semper Fi has provided to himself and thousands of other wounded veterans.

Chris rides through Semper Fi’s Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program. “I know more about western riding, and our program does things like cattle drives where we stay in tents at night near the animals,” Chris said. “Semper Fi offers both equestrian and non-equestrian activities and sports, as well as direct support with things like equipment and therapy. Working with the horses helps me keep things in perspective. Even if I’m feeling angry that day, a horse teaches you that you can’t stay mad, because that won’t work.”

Tre’ and Janet Book, organizers of Willow Draw Charity Horse Show (horse trials) and owners Willow Draw Presenting $10,000 from the show to the Semper Fi Fund Chris (veteran) and Crystal Lowe, representing Semper Fi Fund for wounded veterans Chris’ service dog Koda Volunteers for the Willow Draw May 28th horse trials. Photo by Terrie Hatcher Photography.

Tre’ and Janet Book, organizers of Willow Draw Charity Horse Show and owners of Willow Draw, presented $10,000 from the show to the Semper Fi Fund. Chris (veteran) and Crystal Lowe, representing Semper Fi Fund, accepted the donation alongside Chris’ service dog Koda. Photo by Terrie Hatcher Photography.

Carsten Meyer, course designer for the May 28 horse trials, explained that he set the cross country courses from Starter through Training to be inviting and confidence-building. “At Training level, for example, we built a water combination that encourages both horse and rider. We want the courses to help everyone be confident, safe and happy.”

“Willow Draw is an unusually beautiful place,” Carsten says. “It’s like an English country estate when they are going to run a horse trials.”

Janet Book added: “With our user-friendly course and facilities, our aim is to help everyone have a good, safe time. Janet, an event rider and retired schoolteacher, also said, “I put a priority on making Willow Draw a smoothly run, well-organized event.”

Willow Draw is known to eventers in Area V not just as a farm or equestrian center, but as a name that stands on its own. Owners Tre’ and Janet Book open the meadow and the terrain-rich hillside, with its majestic trees and watery draw, to local riders for training, trail riding and boarding. Willow Draw’s cross country course has been in place for several years for clinics, schooling days, derbies and an unrecognized horse trial.

Willow Draw is about 35 miles west of Dallas-Fort Worth and the juncture where north-south Interstate 35 meets east-west Interstate 20. Willow Draw’s 125 rolling acres feature a large covered arena, and outdoor show jumping arena, and a boarding barn, in addition to the cross-country course.

Willow Draw will follow up the spring horse trials with a recognized two-day charity benefit horse trials on Nov. 5-6, 2016.