Anni Grandia: Area VII Young Rider Benefit Showcases Hard Work

Last weekend, Area VII hosted the Young Rider Benefit Horse Trials in Centralia, Wash. This year the horse trials ran in a two-day format, offering Starter divisions through Preliminary, including team competitions. Anni Grandia has been involved with organizing this event for 10 years and recapped the weekend's competition for EN readers.

Jen Johnson and Flash Player, first in Novice Sr. A. Photo by Dave Grimmer. Jen Johnson and Flash Player, first in Novice Sr. A. Photo by Dave Grimmer.

From Anni:

How many young riders does it take to run a horse trials? Honestly, after 10 years of organizing the Area VII Young Rider Benefit Horse Trials, I still couldn’t tell you! This last weekend, we ran the 30th annual Area VII Young Riders Benefit Horse Trials at Lincoln Creek in Centralia, Wash.

For the first 25 years of the event, it was held at Donida Farm in Auburn, Wash. Five years ago, we made a change and moved the event to the lovely hay fields of Lincoln Creek. With this came more options for the cross-country courses, including some of the best footing in Area VII, but also less infrastructure (i.e. sand rings, reliable running water, things like that).

Madelynn Snoozy and Udealer, first in Jr./YR Prelim. Photo by Dave Grimmer.

Madelynn Snoozy and Udealer, first in Jr./YR Prelim. Photo by Dave Grimmer.

It has certainly been a learning curve, but this past event was the first time I really felt like we nailed the event. The courses were open, inviting and fun; we have solved the water issue; stadium and dressage rode well on grass; and we changed the event down to a two-day format, which helped starter numbers.

In some ways I feel like we have taken a step back in time to the older days of eventing: all phases on grass, water that is not entirely safe to drink, no cell service and a true group of volunteers that pitch in to make the event happen. That is also what makes our event so unique; it is the only event in the country run by young riders and their families and is the only event that helps fundraise for the Young Rider program.

This year’s horse trials sported many changes. We cut the format to two days, increased starter numbers by 40 horses, ran schooling dressage tests and show jump rounds on Friday, had new courses designed by Marc Grandia under Adri Doyal, ran a Starter division and offered free appetizers (which were amazing!) instead of our catered dinner in conjunction with our auction. The new courses ran well, and some new jumps are already in the works for next year.

The show crew is 90 percent young riders. Other than the safety coordinator, secretary, course controller, course builders and officials, every volunteer was a young rider or competitor that had a little extra time to jump judge. We have an amazing group of young riders that all pitch in and come together to make this happen.

They spend the week prior out at the event site, decorating, staking, prepping and flagging the course; setting the dressage arena; and moving stadium fences around. Not only is it a fun, laid-back venue and event, but it is really amazing to see these young riders come together and bust their tails to get the event ready to roll. Many also compete over the weekend, so they are doing six things at once all the time.

Those young riders whose horses are getting a vacation after Rebecca Farm come down to just volunteer. I love the fact that we can give back to Area VII in providing a quality, fun, laid-back event with move-up courses mid-season; teach these young riders what it takes to provide these events for them; raise some money for the program; and show the area that these young riders really want to make things happen.

ot Hamilton and Cabrio, winners of the Open Prelim division. Photo by David Grimmer.

Dot Hamilton and Cabrio, winners of Open Prelim. Photo by Dave Grimmer.

The top finishers in Open Prelim were Dorothy Hamilton and Cabrio in first, Devin Robel and Highlight in second, and Anna Collier and The Green Machine in third. The top finishers in our Jr./YR Prelim were Madelynn Snoozy and Udealer in first,  Patience O’Neal and Markus in second, and Ashley Loucks and Dominic Q taking third. Louise Reulbach and Kaoimhe won our Training Senior division.

It was yet another successful year at the Area VII Young Rider Benefit Horse Trials. We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and look forward to yet another benefit next year; have a fantastic fall show season!

Young Rider Benefit Horse Trials: [Final Results]

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