While folks may believe we are freezing up here in the cold New England states (and we are), eventing passion goes a long way to keeping us warm. To that end, in February, a volunteer organization named Friends of UNH Cross Country was founded to both update and upgrade the University of New Hampshire cross country course. Powered by dreams that spring soon would come and start of eventing season would again actually commence, the Friends began their work.
UNH is the traditional start of the eventing season here in Area 1, so many of us have a soft spot for it. The UNH event has been running on the UNH campus for more than 40 years and is the only USEA sanctioned event in New Hampshire. It holds two important places in the Area 1 calendar: the first of the season and one of the last. Often the UNH fall event is used by riders to move up a level after a season at a lower level.
As with any event that has been running for so long, the course has weathered and aged. (We as riders, have NOT weathered and aged, it must be pointed out, gentle reader.) The Friends’ main objective is to upgrade existing fences and build new jumps, bringing the course up to par with other Area 1 event courses.
In addition, improvements will potentially include building an elementary level course to appeal to and attract even more equestrians to the wonderful UNH campus. Jim Gornall, talented course builder and UNH alum, has been generous with his time and attention to UNH, but his efforts need an infusion of funds. The Friends seek to raise over $50,000 for this project.
The group has recently sent out an appeal to Area 1 instructors, clinicians and farms to hold clinics or shows that will benefit this project. The response has been immediate and heartwarming. A great many professionals, including Denny Emerson, Jocelyn Hawe, Dawn Dascomb, Katie Murphy, Jackie Gilbert, and the folks at Pipestave Hill have already generously offered clinics and shows.
There will also be a derby cross series of three that will offer great fun and practice, and will benefit the cause. In addition, hats and polos with the sharp and oh-so-on-trend “Friends of UNH XC” logo are being offered for sale.
The Area 1 website is hosting the donation page, and all donations are tax deductible. In addition, a Facebook page has been created to keep folks apprised of clinics and shows as well as progress toward our goal. (Plus, all of us selfie-hounds can post pictures of ourselves riding at UNH – what could be better?!)
Please consider a donation or hosting a clinic or show – with your help we are well on our way with some positive momentum! We will all benefit from an improved course, as will other organizations who use the UNH course in pursuing their horse-related passions!