David O’Connor Takes On Training & Preliminary Course Design at Waredaca

David O’Connor teaching a clinic at Waredaca. Photo by Sarah Gonzalez.

Though he’s designed many Intermediate cross country courses at Waredaca Horse Trials, David O’Connor will now expand his responsibilities to include laying out the Training and Preliminary tracks, beginning with the June horse trials this year.

David, who is is licensed through the 3*/4* level, first started designing at Waredaca in 2009, and he is taking on these new levels with a fresh sense of vision for the Laytonsville, Maryland venue.

“We’re trying to look at the property in a new way, with a multi-year plan to build some new features there,” David said. “We are trying to change the features around a little bit to give us more flexibility for the future.”

Mounds, which are slated to be built this summer, and a new facelift for the water complexes are among the planned changes for Waredaca’s course.

“Waredaca has always been a good working event for riders in Area II to get their practice done and their qualifications,” David said. “It’s a good course because you can run clockwise and counterclockwise in the spring and the autumn with the multiple events they have.”

David has a storied experience with Waredaca, having spent countless hours riding there as a child while growing up in the area, which makes this project even more exciting for him and the venue’s dedicated team.

“In many ways, this was David’s ‘home’ event and I believe still holds a unique and special place for him,” Gretchen Butts, event organizer, said. “His mother, Sally, was the person who started Robert and I organizing events in 1979, and we never looked back. David, too, has always been very supportive of our work here and has been very generous with his talent, time and efforts with the design aspect.”

Of course having a designer of this caliber at a local event is exciting, but what riders are always dying to know is what they can expect from the new course.

“It’s more of a move-up kind of course,” David said. “It’s a course at the beginning of the summer, so they aren’t overly technical, but they will all be up to size because I am a believer that the straightforward fences should be up to size. It’s a good place for educating riders and horses, and that’s the main goal.”

David’s Training and Preliminary courses will debut at Waredaca Horse Trials on June 3-4, 2017. Steph Kohr will return to work alongside David as the Beginner Novice and Novice cross country course designer.

Interested in learning more from David at Waredaca? He will be leading an Expert Day at the venue next Monday, May 22, which still has a few riding spots spots available and is free to auditors. Click here for more information.

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