If you haven’t been tracking the progress of the second annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas,” May 3-6, 2012, then it’s time you take notice. Why? Because some of the most talented Eventing riders and trainers are doing just that. They think so highly of this event that is focused on amateur riders and training-level horses that they are donating their time. They will serve as clinicians to the first event that will showcase all three of the lower levels (Beginner Novice, Novice and Training) as recognized three-day events. In the past Training has been recognized at the three-day level but it was only this past February that BN and N were added into the fold by the U.S. Eventing Association.
What makes Southern 8ths Farm, Chesterfield, SC, so special is that this 300-acre paradise is like a mini-Rolex in that it has some of the best facilities in the nation, which are often only reserved for the upper lever riders. Here you have 45 permanent stalls, regulation size arenas, over three miles of manicured Roads & Tracks, a huge airy indoor arena and so much more.
The event will have social functions, contests and prizes for first place winners from both Nikon and Breyer. Best of all on the “getting ready” day where clinicians work with the riders, that’s when some of the nation’s finest will be there to help out. These include Pan American Games veteran Holly Hudspeth; Susan Beebee, who has competed at Rolex; J. Michael (Charlie) Plumb, winner of the 1990 Fair Hill CCI**; Olympic veteran Robert Costello; Pan American Games Gold Medalist and Olympic alternate Will Faudree; World Equestrian Games (WEG) veteran Rebecca Howard; Show Jumping Course Designer Marc Donovan, Dressage Judge Sue Smithson and FEI “I” Cross-Country Course Designer Tremaine Cooper.
The clinicians are thrilled to be a part of this event and offered their insight.
Holly Hudspeth noted that she is a level IV certified instructor, competitor, and new mommy. “I have been lucky to compete multiple horses at the top level of this sport, and was short listed for both the 2010 WEG and 2004 Olympics. In 2009, I had my dream come true of representing the USA at the Pan American Games. Being a huge fan of the Long Format, I was honored to be asked to help at the 2012 So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event. I will be lending my thoughts and ideas with the ‘trot up’ and ‘Roads and Tracks’ phase of the Long Format. What an amazing opportunity for all of us to take part in!”
Rebecca Howard, who is the Equestrian Director of The Fork Stables in North Carolina, commented, “I will be helping out with the Horse Inspection on the first day as well as have some students there that have made it their season goal to compete in the competition. I am excited to be involved in the event at Southern 8ths Farm as it is such a quality facility and I am expecting a very enthusiastic fun group of people to work with. Southern 8ths is really just down the road form me at the Fork Stables. It is great to have this facility so close.”
Pan American Games Gold Medalist Will Faudree joined the other clinicians in his praise for the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event noting, “I am very excited to be a part of this educational experience for riders. The Long Format gives people more of an opportunity to feel what is happening underneath you, and the demand of horsemanship. I am looking forward to being a part of this program.”
One of the most exciting comments came from event Organizer Foy Barksdale who remarked, “On opening day for entries, March 20, we were halfway filled from the electronic entries alone! I feel confident that we will not only fill but have a waiting list. I think offering a $75 discount was key to getting entries in early which really helps with bookkeeping and planning for supplies, etc. Once we receive the mailed entries that are postmarked by the opening date as well as the cross-entries, we can then start additional infrastructural planning such as how many porta-potties to order and things such as that.”
She continued, “The clinicians that we have lined up are excellent and will be covering everything from how to jog your horse in the inspections to what studs are best for what conditions, what the Dressage judges are looking for, how to figure times for phases A & C and so much more. The competitors will come away never forgetting this experience and much closer to their horse just as their horse will feel much more bonded to their rider. I can’t wait to see the smiles on everyone’s face!”
Boo Major, Blythewood, SC, who is the head coach of the University of South Carolina’s equestrian team, will be the Technical Delegate (TC) for the event. “I am really looking forward to seeing the progression of the Long Format at Southern 8’s this year,” she said. “I helped Bobby Stevenson last year with TD duties and was very impressed with the whole operation. There was a great deal of camaraderie amongst the competitors and staff. There was so much attention to detail the entire week and throughout the competition. It was a very positive experience for all involved. I think adding Beginner Novice and Novice to the mix as recognized three-days will only enhance the uniqueness of this competition. It will expose a lot of new comers to the fun of doing a Long Format event.”
Charlie Plumb comes from a long line of equestrians and is happy to share his expertise. Charlie said, “I own/train out of a semi-private Eventing facility in Southern Pines, NC. I have been competing at the upper levels of Eventing for a number of years and currently have four horses of my own and seven client horses in training, including Ard Denzil, an ISH owned by Dianne Lucas who is quite special. As a son of two Olympians, I am completely passionate about being the best I can be in the sport of Eventing. My goal in teaching in this clinic is to encourage and educate others who are as passionate about Eventing as I am.”
If you’d like to get a sense of what this year’s event will be all about, go to So8ths YouTube page and take a video tour of last year’s event: http://www.youtube.com/user/So8ths or check out the wide selection of photos showing every facet of the event here: www.tinyurl.com/presslink-so8ths. And make sure to visit the recently revealed new web site: www.so8ths.com and “like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/so8ths. And of course, mark May 3-6 on your calendar and come as a competitor, volunteer, spectator, or media to Southern 8ths Farm, a place that will welcome you with open arms.