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May 3, 2013

Eventing the main event at Greenwood Farm Horse Trials

Annual competition this weekend

More than 275 horses from five states are ready to compete in this weekend’s annual Greenwood Farm Horse Trials near Weatherford.

The main entrance is at 2100 Greenwood Road, a little more than a mile west of Ranger Highway. Admission is free. 

Spectators attending the Charlie Gilchrist Southwest Ford Greenwood Farm Horse Trials this Saturday and Sunday will enjoy exciting action as horses gallop across open country while jumping obstacles in a sport known as “eventing.”

Each day offers the chance to see all three phases of eventing.  A rider competes with one horse in three separate tests – dressage (riding a fixed pattern in a rectangular arena), show jumping (jumping a short course of traditional brightly-painted horse show jumps) and the centerpiece of eventing, cross-country.

Spectators following the walking trail beyond the pavilion and through the trees can watch riders and horses galloping the course over a 1-¼ to 2-mile path across open country. Horses jump obstacles, go up and down terrain, and gallop across a pond.

Riders accumulate penalties for exceeding the optimum time in both jumping phases, for failing to jump any obstacle on the first attempt, and for the subjective score in the dressage test. The lowest penalty score wins.

Spectators should come prepared for day of walking outside. It’s advisable to bring light lawn chairs and sun visors. Food and drink are sold on the grounds, and vendors are available for shopping. Dogs may attend but must be on a leash at all times. A courtesy shuttle provided by Goodson Golf Carts and Equine Express runs from the parking area to assist visitors, especially those with mobility issues.  

The entries are at levels from “starters” to one step below Olympic level. On Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., the higher levels of cross-country riding will run until about 2 p.m. Cross-country will continue on Sunday for the lower-levels, primarily juniors and amateur adults. Both days will also feature show jumping, and dressage can be enjoyed at the pavilion on Saturday. Those who want to watch cross-country should find the pond, where shade and space for lawn chairs is available, and watch horses jump and gallop through water.

Eventing is a unique international and Olympic horse sport. Greenwood Farm of Weatherford, owned and managed by Christie Tull, has been a mainstay of the eventing community in Texas since 1996.

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