Brian Rutledge Checks In from USPC Championships

Colleen Rutledge's husband, Brian, has traveled to Kentucky Horse Park this weekend to support their daughter, Cassie, as she competes at the USPC Championships. Brian generously sent us a write-up on his experience so far, and it sounds like he's having a blast. Many thanks to Brian for sharing, and thank you for reading!

USPC Championships Opening Ceremony. Photo by Brian Rutledge. USPC Championships Opening Ceremony. Photo by Brian Rutledge.

Hi everyone and greetings from the United States Pony Club Championships. My name is Brian Rutledge, Colleen’s husband, and EN has asked me to give a little write-up about the goings-on down here in Lexington, Kentucky.

Our twelve-year-old daughter, Cassie, qualified this year in Games and she is on a Scramble Team, which is basically a mixture of players from different regions. She is playing with one girl from her club and the Capital Region and three from Southern Virginia.

Cassie is making her momma proud down here because a little known fact about Colleen is that before she became an international eventer she was an international games player. I am here with Cassie for a little daddy daughter time since mom is getting ready for some events coming and couldn’t get away.

I will start by saying that I will never, ever say to Colleen again that there are a lot of competitors at an event. This event has over 1100 competitors in it – and that isn’t 1100 horses and people riding multiple horses like Colleen or Buck Davidson at events! This has an actual 1100 separate competitors, and it is insane.

There are seven different competitions going on: Quiz, Games, Show Jumping, EVENTING, Polo Cross, Dressage, Tetrathlon. To add to the craziness, you have the NAJYRC going on here at the same time. I have no idea who works out the logistics on this event, but my hat is off to you!

It really is run very smoothly from what I can see and it is basically run by all volunteers. It is quite amazing how many parent volunteers they have here. Not to say that this place does not look crazy from 6 am until 6 pm – it does – but somehow they make it work.

People who have been to Rolex, competed here and been in the stables know what they look at when there are 60 horses here. Try this out for size: every single stall in that area is full! Even the stalls closest to cross country, every stall on the other side of the road, and the all of the stalls down near the Alltech Arena are filled up. That is the magnitude of how big this show is, and it is pretty amazing to me as someone who has never been to one of these championships.

The USPC Championships have Games going on in one arena and Quiz going on upstairs. Dressage for eventing is going on in another and straight dressage in yet another ring. Show jumping is in two rings; they have the Tetrathlon show jumping going on beside regular Show Jumping. While that is going on Polo Cross is going on in the field down below the Alltech Arena. Needless to say, there is a lot going on at once!

I witnessed all this yesterday with it being the first official day of competition. I don’t understand how you couldn’t find the sheer magnitude of that just amazing. The Opening Ceremony was last night, and it felt just like the Olympics to me.

Iit was pretty awesome seeing all these hard working kids walking in to the Alltech Arena waving their region’s flags and being so proud to be there at Championships. If you have never been to a Pony Club Championships event and you get a chance,  you need to get to one to see it first hand.

If you want to know what being at the Championships is like from a twelve-year-old’s perspective, check out Colleen’s Facebook page. Cassie is blogging everyday about her experience and she is a great writer also.


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