Gearing Up for Fall: Local Show Season About to Begin
Although equestrian competitions in the Sandhills become less frequent during the hot Southern summer months, fall is just around the corner — as is an abundance of local horse shows, both schooling and nationally recognized, for all from the elegant dressage queen to the hell-bent-for-leather foxhunter.
Five Points Horse Trials, the Carolina Horse Park’s annual fall eventing staple, will take place Sept. 8-9. The USEF/USEA-sanctioned event will see riders of all ages at all levels, from junior beginner novice to open intermediate.
Entries are no longer being accepted, but all are encouraged to come out and enjoy the day as a spectator or, better yet, as a volunteer. Contact volunteer coordinator Pat Gibson at (910) 695-6206 for more information on how you can help out — no experience necessary.
For eventers looking for a different early September show opportunity, Foxtrack Training Center will hold its final schooling horse trials of the season on Sept. 2. Divisions from maiden to a training level combined test are offered.
Following Five Points, the Horse Park’s popular starter horse trials series will continue, offering events on Oct. 6 and Nov. 3. These low-key, affordable shows are the perfect opportunity for a green horse or young rider to get their first experience off the farm in a stress-free environment.
A week after Five Points, hunters and jumpers will take the Horse Park’s center stage in the Sandhills Circuit SCHJA “C” Show, put on by manager Rick Cram of Progressive Show Jumping Inc.
The fourth of five competitions in the new Sandhills Series — a joint venture between the Horse Park and the Pinehurst Harness Track — the show offers a wide variety of hunter, jumper and equitation divisions. Class entry fees are lower than at the elite “A” shows, and the atmosphere is competitive, yet relaxed and fun.
The third series event is scheduled two weekends prior, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, at the Harness Track. The final show in the series will take place at the Horse Park Nov. 17-18, where series high-point champions will also be honored.
There will be no shortage of hunter-jumper events this fall; the Horse Park will see three annual fixtures return. Autumn in the Pines, a USEF “A” show, is Oct. 18-21. The Thanksgiving Classic will be Nov. 25, and the USEF “A” December Classic will be held Dec. 6-9.
Sean and Vicky Kelley’s Antares Farm in Aberdeen is continuing its regular series of dressage schooling shows this fall, with a competition Sept. 16 and another Oct. 6.
In between those schooling opportunities is the Harness Track’s USDF-sanctioned Pinehurst Fall Dressage show Sept. 29-30, which will include several veteran dressage horses and riders performing musical freestyle tests.
The American Polocrosse Association’s Eastern Zone Championships, featuring players from novice E-grade to A-grade elite, will take place over a three-day span, Sept. 14-16, at the Harness Track.
This fast-paced sport is spectator-friendly and exciting to watch. Tournament matches will be running all morning and afternoon.
Foxhunters looking to get back in shape after summer vacation can bring their horse to the Moore County Hounds’ Foxhunting Clinic Sept. 23 at the Horse Park. The day will feature mounted clinics and unmounted seminars, and all from first-flight regulars to hilltoppers are welcome.
A social event that none should miss is “An Evening with the Stars,” a formal dinner Oct. 27 that will honor the equestrian legends of the past and present who make up the Horse Park's “Wall of Fame.”
Don your cocktail best and enjoy a night with many Horse Park Hall of Famers, while also witnessing the unveiling of a new, life-sized statue of a local equine superstar. The statue will serve as a welcome for CHP competitors and spectators for many more years. Cocktails start at 6 p.m., dinner and slide show at 7 p.m. RSVP by Oct. 12 to Nicole at (910) 875-2074.
For specific contact information and a more inclusive list of Sandhills area equestrian events, see the Equestrian Calendar on this page.
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