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Welcome to Kent Horse Trials

Historic Area I Event

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Kent Horse Trials Update:

04 29 2024

To the Area One Eventing Community from the Organizers of the Kent Horse Trials:

The Kent (formerly the Kent School) horse trials has had a good, long run of over 40 years, bringing joyful sport on Skiff Mountain to several generations of riders and their horses, and the decision to bring this tradition to an end was by no means an easy one, though it has been in the cards for some time. Not to belabor the point, but producing horse trials is a surprisingly complex and expensive undertaking (requiring quite a team effort that includes a committed and sustaining landowner, a legion of committed volunteers and a core group of organizers and other supporters willing to navigate more than a few logistical challenges, fund a variety of operating and capital expenses and then roll with the inevitable punches –not to mention dedicated riders willing to risk the elements on their horses), and it has become increasingly clear over recent years, particularly since the retirement of local, national and international Eventing legend Michael Page, that Kent School’s heart just was no longer in it enough to provide the multi-year commitment of their incredible natural facility needed to ensure that the Organizers could finance and construct the much-needed capital improvements (like a restored bank, well-mannered stream crossings and fence lines and new water complex) that riders and their horses expect and deserve. This is not to put the entire blame on the shoulders of the Kent School, which had been supporting the horse trials for many years when they were, we believe, no longer perceiving that it was really serving their interests.

It perhaps goes without saying that horse trials face many challenges, as has become very apparent throughout Area One in recent years, and there is no single reason for this. Simply put in our case, when we realized that we could no longer move forward, it became clear that we were starting to slip back, and it was time to admit that our riders (and their horses) deserved better than we could give them.

We do sincerely thank the Kent School for making their equestrian facility and the great natural beauty of its adjacent fields available to the Eventing community for so many years. And we also must acknowledge, and thank, a prior generation of competition organizers (most notably Gillian Perry) for their (her) tremendous efforts over the years. The NYUC Region of Pony Club has supplied XC fence judges for many years, and we are also grateful to them, as well as to all other volunteers (and of course our many officials, notably including our longtime XC designer Ronan Moloney) over the years.

We had thought about going out with a bang (and not a whimper), by holding one last gala horse trials, but even that proved too much of an undertaking given the effort that would have been required and the nature of the constraints. And attempting to hold a gala under those circumstances might have just proven a bit too somber.

So the Kent horse trials ends its run, at least for now, with neither a bang nor a whimper, but just fond (or at least mostly fond) recollections of horses jumping over stone walls and fording running streams, dogs (and occasionally a horse) running loose amidst the trailers, and (we just have to add) riders wondering as they drove their trailers up onto the mountain whether they would be greeted by rain, fog, sleet or sunny skies—one never knew for sure quite what to expect up on Skiff Mountain.

We pass our baton to Margie, Ward and Louise, and wish all of our riders the very best (Kick On); please continue enthusiastically to support those few horse trials left standing in Area One. Riding horses over XC courses ain’t always easy, but it can be glorious. And the horses enjoy it even more than we do.

Come ride with us!

Come visit the Kent Horse Trials! Located in the mountains of Kent, CT, the rolling green hills, Grand Prix show jumping arena and top notch cross country are sure to make this event memorable.

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