Flood Damage Forces Cancelation of GMHA Festival of Eventing

Photo courtesy of Bruce Perry.

After suffering two significant flooding events this month, the Green Mountain Horse Association (GMHA) has made the painful decision to cancel the upcoming Festival of Eventing August H.T., which was scheduled to take place August 11-13 in South Woodstock, Vermont.

“It is with great regret that GMHA must cancel the Festival of Eventing for 2023, both FEI and National divisions,” GMHA Executive Director Bruce Perry announced in a statement. “The combination of the two rain and flooding events at GHMA so close to the Festival has resulted in there being insufficient time to make repairs to the cross country fields and water crossings. There was also significant damage to some of the upper-level fences that will take time to rebuild. Horse and competitor safety is the primary concern at GMHA and the uncertainty of being able to provide a safe competition drove this decision.”

After the initial flooding event on July 10, which devastated other parts of the state, GMHA was initially cautiously optimistic about being able to host the Festival. Swift cleanup work by the grounds crew enabled the venue to still host the annual Area 1 Young Riders Camp from July 17-20, but a second severe storm sat over South Woodstock on the night of Friday July 21. Flooding from the July 21 storm was more destructive for GMHA than the initial statewide storm, not only washing away all prior progress and repairs but adding more damage to both the grounds and fences.

GMHA’s Festival of Eventing is Area 1’s only FEI event, offering CCI2*-S and CCI3*-S divisions in addition to hosting national Beginner Novice through Intermediate levels. The cancelation announcement comes the day after the event’s closing date for national levels, but a refund policy is in development: “We understand that this decision comes a day after the closing date and its no refund policy. We will have updates through email and social media as decisions are made,” says the statement.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Perry.

GMHA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which hosts events throughout the years for many equestrian disciplines in addition to eventing, estimates needing to raise $200,00 to make up for lost revenue and repair costs. Anyone wishing to support GMHA can make a tax deductible donation to the organization’s Annual Fund.

At this time, the facility grounds and GMHA’s vast network of trails remain closed. The board is hoping to run a combined test and eventing derby to replace the August Horse Trials — details will be coming soon, and you can follow GMHA on Facebook for further updates. The September Horse Trials, which offers Beginner Novice through Preliminary levels remains scheduled for September 16-17 and entries open next Tuesday, August 1.

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