Big horse event features jumping, cross-country

The Sundance Farm Horse Trials will be taking place on September 26-27. This is a nationally recognized competition approved by the United States Eventing Association. Riders will begin the competition on Saturday, with dressage rides in the morning at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds. This test requires riders to do specific maneuvers on horseback showing the communication of horse and rider throughout the ride. Riders must wear black coats, light colored breeches and tall black boots. Dressage begins at 8:00am

In the afternoon, riders must switch equipment and apparel to compete in phase two of the competition. This would be the stadium jumping which is held on the grass in the parking lot of the fairgrounds. The colorful course of jumps is situated on reasonably flat terrain, however there is some roll to the course that adds challenge to conquering the jumps. All the poles sit on shallow metal cups. If the horse happens to lightly rub any of the jumps the poles will fall down and the competitor will garner 5 penalties per jump. Horses are also penalized for refusing jumps or for doing the course too slowly. Equipment for this phase includes protection for the horse’s legs and helmets for the riders. The saddles are also different as they help place the rider more forward for staying over the horse’s center of gravity for jumping. Some horses and riders have difficulties with bright fences, while others have problems with the wider oxer jumps, or the combinations that require the horse to jump, take two strides and immediately take a second jump. The afternoon starts with the more advanced levels where the jumps are higher and wider. There are also more jumps and the optimum time is shorter. Stadium jumping begins at noon.

Sunday morning competition rounds out with the third phase, starting at 8:30. All riders pack up horses and move to Sundance Farm. The competition entrance address is W6224 Woodland Road, Plymouth, located near Sargento, off of County Road C.

Known by competitors as the ‘Cross Country’ Phase, it is the main reason most riders are in this sport. This phase takes place at Sundance Farm. This course is made up of solid obstacles that do NOT fall down. Horse and rider must jump a course of cabins, logs, roll tops, coops, ditches, banks and water. Many are located on rolling terrain, through the woods, and across fields or around corn fields. An optimum time is required, so once again, riders must keep up the pace and cut corners where they can.

While riders are permitted to walk the course as many times as they want beforehand, the horses are not allowed to see the course ahead of time. Trust between horse and rider is a big part of this day’s competition. Once again, horses wear protective leg gear. Riders are required to wear protective helmets and vests. It is traditional for competitors to outfit themselves and horses in specific color themes. All the equipment and rider attire will be the same color, so leg wraps match saddle pads and protective vests making for ease of spectators to identify their favorite rider.

This particular horse trial, while only in its second year, is becoming known for the bright triangular Sargento cheese wedges that the horses must jump over, along with the Bank First National Picture Frame jump that the upper level horses must jump through. Sunday’s competition will go until at least 1:00 pm. Admission is free.

Food will be available on the grounds.

For more information check or call Kelly Mahloch (920)918-1166.

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