Competing Equestrian – SRQist :: SRQ Magazine article by Wes Roberts, Barbie Heit
Like an equestrian triathlon, eventing tests the abilities of horse and rider in three phases: dressage, cross country and show jumping. Guests and spectators at the event were treated to a thrilling experience and a great day in the countryside. TerraNova Equestrian Center, a world-class, multi-disciplinary equestrian competition center located in the scenic countryside of Myakka town, held its inaugural event last October.
Terra nova equestrian centerhas partnered with three local nonprofits that champion their causes: Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, SMART (Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy), and Southeastern Guide Dogs. Each competitor selected one of three organizations – each charity having around 50 runners. “We have several Olympic riders here this weekend,” says Hannah Herrig Ketelboeter, president of the TerraNova Equestrian Center and organizer herself. “We really hope to involve the community in the sport and educate them so they can follow the runners and be excited to come year after year. We have a lot of international riders with us, and although most are from the United States, we have seven countries represented at this event.
For those unfamiliar with equestrian events, Ketelboeter explains the competition phases. “There are three phases and a lot of people call it the equestrian sports triathlon. The first phase is dressage where judges score based on balance, rhythm and harmony between horse and rider as well as precision of movement. This is therefore the only subjective scoring part of the eventing. The next phase is cross-country where riders navigate more solid objects, ditches and banks, and jump in and out of bodies of water. This phase is time-based. There is an optimal time and if you are below this time, you are good. If you exceed this time, you will get time faults. Then, if you have a jump denial or a jump evade, that also costs you penalties. The final phase of eventing, which most people are familiar with, is show jumping, where riders prove their accuracy by clearing a course of fences.
A dressage and cross-country competitor, Sara Beth Anton has been riding since the age of six. She believes some of the best horses and riders the United States has to offer compete in this premier event. “It really is one of the most amazing things to see horses zipping past you across the country and over fences with speed,” she says. “This is by far one of the nicest facilities I’ve been to and I’ve traveled to many different facilities,” says Claire Anderson, a contestant from Ocala, Florida. When asked what percentage of people she thinks are in this field for financial gain or prize money versus a love of the sport, she added, “I would say a lot of people are doing this job. . by love. They really like these horses.
Nine-year-old Nicole Nair, who has been riding for five years, says she’s probably competed in a hundred competitions. Her horse, Jack Run, is sometimes a bit difficult to control, but when he does well in competition, she feels good. Her advice to little girls just starting out: “Try a little pony first, start walking, then go higher.”