Spring 2019 with ETB: Looking Back at The Fork and Fair Hill

We’ve had a busy spring with The Fork and Fair Hill as highlights. Next on the calendar is the Arena Eventing at the Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania. If you’re in the area come on out, it’s always a fun and lively event.

Fair Hill was a bit wild and crazy this year! There were storms predicted for the whole weekend; we woke up Saturday and thought we must have missed it, but it started raining an hour later and was complete mayhem all day, weather-wise. The water jumps filled up quickly: they have 8” drain pipes, which were pushed to the maximum. Those water jumps are both in the bottom of valleys, and the top one drains into the lower one. The water was nearly over the backs of the duck jumps, so we took it off the four-star course. The riders were in the warm-up and ready to go when the weather situation changed, so we couldn’t send them back to the barns – so we took the water jumps off that course and got the situation under control for the three-star. We had trucks to pump the excess water out, since the drains couldn’t keep up.  That was an exciting day of cross country. If you have a look at Amy Dragoo’s photos, the rain was really something to behold.

The Fork was pretty tame in comparison. I think what we’ve learned there is that everybody wants to run cross-country on the golf course, so we’re moving all the levels down there. The Derby Field is smaller now anyway, since the big stadium was built. Eventually the polo field will provide more grass up top, and some of the lower levels might move back up there again, but for now the golf course is a better location for cross country. We’re going to fill in some of the ‘rough’ areas with footing before the fall horse trials to expand the galloping lanes. TIEC has hosted many events in the past few years, but this will be the first horse trials, from BN-Advanced, run by the venue itself. Some of the WEG course will be suitable for that event too, since it was a 3* (current 4*) course, equivalent to advanced level. There’s some great stuff to play with: the boats, the cart, the animals, it’s all still there. Competitors can look forward to a really first-rate cross-country experience.

We just spent a few days at Boyd Martin’s farm in Pennsylvania digging a couple of ditches and three new trakehners, relocating a small ditch and builing some new log fences. We built what we’ve called a “dry coffin”, or a coffin without a ditch, for schooling purposes. It’s pretty much a swale, or two mounds on either side, next to a real coffin so the horses get the feeling of going down into a “hole” without having to deal with the ditch at the bottom. It really doesn’t matter how small the ditch is, if the horse doesn’t want to jump it, it’s a big problem, so the easiest way to introduce it is without the ditch – we built one on the schooling course at Stable View and now we’re adding the same at Boyd’s place in Pennsylvania. His farm is looking great: a lot of stuff has been painted and he’s opening the new water complex soon. The quarry mound is also green and will be open soon.

Spring is a great time to focus on improving your footing and adding to your schooling fences at home. Drop us a line to order pre-made portables or custom cross country and show jumps. We’re always happy to answer your questions and discuss the best solutions for your schooling and competition needs.