Brad Turley is an amateur eventer and the owner of Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, SC. His love of long format eventing inspired him to create a place where others with a similar passion could train.
In 2011, Brad took it one step further when Southern 8ths hosted its first recognized long format event for Beginner Novice through Training Level called So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the Heart of the Carolinas. His goal was to create an event where those riders who may never move up to Training could compete at a first class facility. Southern 8ths also welcomes the professional riders bringing along young horses and always likes to see the next generation young riders developing their skills.
His recognized event recently achieved a milestone when on February 1, 2012, the US Eventing Association approved a policy change to permit Beginner Novice and Novice riders to compete in fully recognized long format three-day events and to earn USEA National Year-end points and eventing championship qualifications. Southern 8ths Farm is the first organizer to offer both of the newly recognized levels at its So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event this May 3rd through 6th.
Sidelines: How did you get involved with horses?
BT: My daughter had an interest in horses and I was just starting my company, Continuum Performance Systems, Inc. After working for several years without a break, I needed a hobby. So, I bought my daughter and me each a horse. We rode together twice, then she didn’t want to have anything to do with Dad. Now, 15 years later, she has come to South Carolina and ridden with me on several occasions.
Sidelines: How did you get into Eventing?
BT: My second horse, “Whoa Damnit” was an 18.1H Draft Cross that I planned to trail ride. He had a large stride and didn’t stop very well. I put up an indoor arena and the local Pony Club asked if they could use it, with one condition that I take lessons on how to stop so others would feel comfortable trail riding with me. After half a dozen “halting” lessons, the Pony Club trainer asked what else I’d like to learn. I said, “I’d like to jump over walls and logs.”
Sidelines: What inspired you to create Southern 8ths Farm?
BT: After riding Whoa Damnit and doing a few schooling horse trials, I found a good trainer. We upgraded my mount and got serious about being competitive. I rode my 4 NQR at Training level and qualified to ride a Training three day format at Green Mountain Horse Association. Although the weather was horrible, the ride was the best of my life. I wanted to share that feeling with other adult riders. It seemed like a different sport when you added the conditioning, gallops and effort to keep the horse sound. So, with Tremaine Cooper’s help, we created our long format training center, complete with steeplechase and miles of roads and tracks. We even worked with some local steeplechase tracks to build real steeplechase fences with national brush and foam quarter rounds.
Sidelines: You are very busy with work; how do you find time for the Eventing side of your life?
BT: Good people. My significant other, Pati Martin, runs the farm and oversees the events. She leaves the fun things like excavating and building to me – and ensures I get time to ride well prepared horses. I have a couple of key people at Continuum and they keep the business on track and the clients happy.
Sidelines: What do you see for the future?
BT: I hope this year’s event fills up and everyone passes the word about how much they enjoyed and benefited from the long format, so we can keep this going for a long time.