Gillette, Wyoming, might not be your first thought for a destination when it comes to a recognized horse trials, but the Powder Basin Equestrian Association (PBEA) is hosting its 26th event this summer, July 7-8.
When Colorado Horse Park cancelled its scheduled events this year, PBEA stepped up to bring back its Preliminary course which had not run since 2014. Organizer Carol Muirhead and cross country steward Jamie Gilbert are enjoying the challenge of bringing the existing jumps back to life and adding new fences where needed.
With urging from a vocal group of competitors within Area IX, hiring course designer John Michael Durr began the journey back to a Preliminary division offering. This past weekend, Jun 8-11, John Michael and a small team spent hours reworking the course to leverage the club’s rolling terrain and two water features.
The work ended with a successful USEF course advisor walk with Tremaine Cooper, who commented on how little he found that should be changed to improve the course for this event. As the course inspection proceeded, Tremaine and John Michael offered a vision for further upgrades and improvements that can be implemented for future events to further advance and support our area competitors.
Carol, a transplant from central Pennsylvania with her own love of casual eventing back East has kept the event moving forward since organizing the 25th event in 2017 for a small but mighty group of competitors. The 25th year offered an updated Starter through Training course brought to life by up-and-coming course designer Allessandra Allen-Shinn.
Carol is backed by a dedicated committee including: Jamie Gilbert, cross country steward; Teresa Craig, dressage steward, a 15-plus-year veteran to organizing this event; Madison Gilbert, club president and show jumping steward; and Regina Hays, who currently holds treasurer duties.
Together this small committee and many volunteers prepare the equestrian park so PBEA may offer a fun, low-key, challenging event which is also a path to the AECs for those trying to qualify.
Somewhat unique to the West is the western flavor of awarding a belt buckle to the winners of Beginner Novice through Preliminary, a much coveted trophy for their accomplishment.
Registration for the event closes June 19 for on time registration with $30 late fee for entering after closing.
The cross country course will remain open through June 25 and be available for unlimited schooling after the event and throughout the summer and fall as long as the weather allows. Membership is reasonable — just $30 individual/$50 family which includes unlimited cross country schooling and use of the show jumps and dressage ring.
Go Area IX and Go Eventing!