The wheels are in full gear at Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, SC, as the farm prepares to host its second annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas.” Behind-the-scenes the hum is constant from the equipment that is readying the Roads & Tracks, arenas and other parts of the farm where riders will venture during the competition May 3-6.
Yet, that’s not all. Jumps are being repaired and painted, the stalls are being prepped, and arrangements are being made with some of the top clinicians who will help prepare the competitors. Owner of Southern 8ths Farm, Brad Turley is making sure every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed as he and his staff prepares his farm to host its second annual event.
We reached out to riders, staff and other key people to talk about what it was like at last year’s event and what the plans are for this year.
Cindy H. Deporter, MSSW, Oxford, NC, volunteers year-round to help organize the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event and with her credentials as a Large R Event Judge and TD and FEI TD “C” status, that is a great help. Cindy also volunteers as an Adult Rider Coordinator for the U.S. Eventing Association. Cindy had this to say about So8ths/Nikon.
“I think that it is really cool that Southern 8ths will be the first recognized Novice and Beginner Novice Three-Day in the US. They did the Training Three-Day as a recognized competition last year for the first time with Novice and Beginner Novice as unrecognized. Brad has been such an avid supporter of the Adult Amateur competitor and has had such a passion for the Adult to have the opportunities and options to be able to develop and train at a first rate facility. He has created a topnotch facility that is so user friendly to the rider and to the trainer who would bring riders. Competitors in areas adjoining his farm are blessed to have access to this facility. The jumps are all beautifully constructed, level appropriate and there is a little bit of everything out there to jump. There has been quite a bit of care and forethought by Tremaine Cooper as he developed the entire Cross-Country course and the Steeplechase track. There are really not many places like this that are truly geared to the Adult Amateur. I wish them the best of luck for this first on the event calendar!”
So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Organizer, Foy Barksdale, Raleigh, NC, has high hopes for this year’s event, “Our stabling situation limits us to a total of 45 entries. My vision is that we will fill and have a waiting list. I think this will be a stellar year,” she commented.
Last year Becky Brown, Fountain Inn, SC, was the overall winner of the 2011 event and was the lucky winner of Nikon’s D3100 Camera Kit. “I’m floored,” she commented after winning that camera. “I can’t believe I won a Nikon camera. We’ve all had our eye on it all weekend.”
When asked if we’d see Becky again this year she emailed saying, “I’m really looking forward to coming back to Southern 8ths this year. I’ll be bringing a novice horse for his first 3 Day. I hope it will help to give him a good foundation to be able to advance up the levels and reach his potential as an event horse. I have been trying to get him ready for this challenge for the past year because I had so much fun in 2011. We have started doing additional interval conditioning beyond the typical training needed for our usual Novice events. I am planning to practice the new Dressage test in some schooling Dressage shows also. Needless to say, we will be seeing more of our trainer as we get ready for the N3D.”
Another competitor from last year is Briana Timmerman, Blythewood, SC. Briana hosts a “Fans of So8ths” Facebook page. In her “real” life Briana is the Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Education at University of South Carolina. Even with her intense work schedule she’s already carving out the time to compete in the May Event.
“I am extremely excited about how the BN3D and N3D seem to be catching on! With other venues now planning to offer N3D I am now planning a whole season of N3D competitions with So8ths as the launch event! We’ll have to drive a lot further, but a whole season of N3D is now possible! We’re planning Green Mountain in VT in August and then Waredeca! Southern 8ths has really begun the start of a whole new dimension of Eventing!”
Nancy Russell was the Secretary/Scorer in 2011 and she will be back this year. Nancy commented, “As I’ve worked all the events in Florida this winter, lots of competitors have been coming up to me saying they are going to attend and are very excited. I explain to them how the organizer goes to the 10th degree to make it a learning and fun experience. Now that the USEA has recognized the BN and N divisions, I think we will have a FULL HOUSE this year.”
Marsha Severt, DVM, is one of the Treating Veterinarians and this will be her second year as part of this annual event. Year-round Marsha works at Brown Creek Equine Hospital in Polkton, NC. She enjoyed her first year at Southern 8ths and commented, “The veterinary staff is looking forward to a great turnout from riders all over the nation. We aim to be a solid support for horse and rider safety. It’s always fun getting to know the riders and their horses and to see them succeed in this awesome event.”
Some of the riders from last year are sad they can’t be back again this year. Annie Lane-Maunder, Greenwood, SC, who won the Novice division in 2011 is one of those riders, but she still wants to keep in touch. “I am so sad that I will not be able to attend the So8ths/Nikon 3-day Event this year. I had such a fabulous experience last year, and wish everyone the fun that I had! By hook or by crook I will be back,” she remarked.
”There is no better way to end a season of competing in Aiken at the Beginner Novice through Training level, than to go do a full format test at Southern 8ths. Your horse should be fit and you will love both the challenge of Steeplechase and the wonderful course that they have developed. Plus the hospitality and general goodwill experienced by all is the equal of any event. It’s just a terrific way to test whether you and your horse have made as much progress while down south as you hoped,” commented Richard Moon, whose wife Risa competed last year and who plans to join her this time around. Year-round Richard works as Counsel in Portland, ME, for Verrill Dana, a full service law firm with more than 100 attorneys.
Jim Baker of The Lundy Group, Inc. in Raleigh, NC, competed on Wings in 2011 and was also impressed with the facility and how it helped his horse. “I think Wings grew a lot in confidence. I saw him mature over the weekend and become less nervous. I was very pleased with the way things went. The facilities are amazing, simply amazing, probably the most spectacular thing is the effort they made for us as competitors. I’ve been Eventing for a long time and we have never had this done for us. For the average competitor, the lower level competitor, this was a phenomenal event. I’ve only seen this at the higher level events.”
Well, with that great comment we’ll end this Southern 8ths Farm report. We’ll continue to update you on a regular basis here on Eventing News to give you a look at what it takes to prepare for the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event. And if you’d like to get a sense of what last year’s event was all about, go to So8ths YouTube page and take a video tour: 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.
Photos & story via Diana DeRosa exclusively for Sidelines