For almost five decades the Fox River Valley Pony Club, along with the support of an entire community, has helped organize and host the FRVPC Horse Trials. This year’s edition, held June 21-23 in Barrington Hills, Illinois, saw an exciting development: the return of the international-level competition in the form of CCI2*-L and CCI2*-S divisions.
“FRVPC recognizes how important international level competition was to the Area IV eventing community and decided to bring back the FEI divisions,” says Caroline Charette, an Area IV eventer who sits on FRVPC H.T.’s organizing and fundraising committees. “Instituting was a very large feat but the event was a huge success!”
The hardworking FRVPC H.T. team was joined this year by new course designers. Brody Robertson, whose resume includes includes WEG and the Longines World Cup Finals in addition to a number of events, designed the show jumping courses. Jay Hambly, FEI “I” cross country course designer and lead builder for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, created the cross country courses at all the levels.
By all accounts the tracks were well received as challenging but educational for horses and riders alike, and a great deal of work was put into tending the footing this spring from fertilizing and seeding to aerovating. Peter Gray, dressage judge and president of the ground jury, remarked that the event continuously improves and noted the quality of this year’s courses. Jay reflected that he was happy with the way the weekend went: “I think [the courses] rode very well and the riders all made smart decisions and finished with better horses than they started with.”
The CCI2*-L was won by Hannah Hubsch and Bethel Park, her own 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (E Dubai x Bosanquet, by Pleasant Colony). The pair was second after dressage on a score of 31.8 then jumped into the lead with double-clear jumping rounds. The pair has a well-established track record of making short work of Intermediate horse trials but FRVPC H.T. marked their first FEI outing together.
“Honestly it was an incredible weekend,” Hannah said. “‘Spiderman’ had his game face on in every phase and he gave me all the confidence in the world that we were going to have a great weekend! I was just going to be happy to finish our first FEI event together, let alone a win it! That was icing on the cake. I love this horse so much, he’s so honest and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this sport. I can’t thank enough all my family, friends and fiancé that support us so much. And Fox River Valley put on a hell of a fun event!”
The CCI2*-S was won by the experienced team of Ashley Hays and Call it Courage, her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Karabik I, by Lennon). The pair led the 11-strong division from wire to wire, adding one rail to their dressage score of 29.5 for the win.
The event hosted a Pony Club Rally in conjunction with the horse trials this year. Alongside the FEI divisions, the Pony Clubbers had to present their horses and ponies to the ground jury at the beginning of the competition as well as on the final morning.
Congrats to all the winners!
CCI 2 Star Long: Hannah Hubsch & Bethel Park (31.8)
CCI 2 Star Short: Ashley Hays & Call it Courage (33.5)
Open Preliminary: Elly Bates & Bold Move (35.1)
Preliminary Rider: Olivia Coolidge & Bold Impression (31.5)
Jr. Training Rider: Louisa Ward & Wonder Girl (32.6)
Open Training: Elle Choate & Paddrick (29.8)
Sr. Training Rider-A: Chantil Ruud & L’Alezane (24.8)
Sr. Training Rider-B: Kailey DeMeyer & Ninjutsu (37.6)
Jr. Novice Rider-A: Kaylianna McMorris & Clifton Peekachu (27.3)
Jr. Novice Rider-B: Jessica Pollesch & Lambeau Gold (35.7)
Jr. Novice Rider-C: Maia Ramberg & CMF Cougar Roo (22.9)
Novice Horse: Kristen Rozycki & Vandalia (25.0)
Open Novice: Caitlyn Ruud & Colono de la Galerna (20.5)
Sr. Novice Rider-A: Katie Clapp & Lulu (31.0)
Sr. Novice Rider-B: Casey Vanecek & Over and Out (25.5)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider-A: Lily Hamilton & Maverick (39.8)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider-B: Brooke Krueger & Lila (36.5)
Open Beginner Novice: Emily Grant & It’s Otto (28.6)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider-A: Katie Sisk & Miss Eminence (20.0)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider-B: Amy Fowler & Ginnetts Manricko (24.0)
Starter: Kim Kind-Bauer & Chasin’ Mason (29.0)
View complete results here.
USEA CEO Rob Burk is one of eventing’s most beloved volunteers and everyone was excited to see him out and about at FRVPC H.T. lending a helping hand. “This is a wonderful event and it is obvious how much the volunteers and organizers love this event,” Rob said. “The mix of the Pony Club rally and he horse trials make it even more special. I will definitely be back to visit!”
A few snapshots from the event courtesy of Rob and FRVPC:
The future looks bright for this special event.
“In 2020 FRVPC Horse Trials will celebrate its 50th year!” says Caroline of the organizing committee. “In addition to supporting the sport of eventing in the midwest and the educational mission of the FRVPC, the running of the FRVPC H.T. also plays a critical role in the preservation of open space in the unique equestrian area of Barrington Hills. It is a truly special event that unites an entire community and a legacy we hope will continue on for years to come.”
Visit FRVPCHorseTrials.org to find out how you can help support the horse trials and ensure its sustainability for years to come.