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“Want it to rain? Try planning a Horse Trial,” Christie Tull said.
She’s been dodging the autumn weather patterns for the annual September 30 –Oct. 2 horse trials since 1995.
Last year, competitors at the challenging “horse triathlon” event even endured a rare flash flood. The conditions for this fall’s event have only one thing for certain: excitement is guaranteed.
For the first time, 250 competitors from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and western Louisiana will gather at Greenwood Farm in Weatherford for the United States Equestrian Association’s nationally recognized Area V Championships.
The same horse and rider combination will first compete in dressage, where patterns are ridden to highlight the horse’s obedience and correct movements at all gaits. Then the same pair will seek to avoid penalty points by having a clean round of stadium jumping.
During the three-day event, all competitors live and breathe for cross-country jumping, the unique phase of their sport.
Beginners through veterans focus on completing cross-country courses designed for their level of experience by John Williams of North Carolina. He is also designing the Pan American equestrian games course in Guadalajara, Mexico, and has represented the United States at the World Equestrian Games in Juarez, Spain, among other accomplishments.
“John Williams is the ‘Jack Nicklaus’ of cross-country course design,” Tull said. “Galloping a cross-country course requires a unique blend of precision and speed. We have a great course with miles of safe but challenging obstacles and terrain.”
Spectators are welcome free of charge to the event, located at 2390 Greenwood Rd. in Weatherford. Food and tack vendors will be on grounds.
Thurs. Sept. 29: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Young Event Horse Tests (at Willow Draw location)
Fri. Sept. 30: 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Dressage
Sat. Oct. 1: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Dressage, Stadium Jumping, and Cross-Country Jumping
Sun. Oct. 2: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Stadium Jumping and Cross-Country Jumping