Sole US World Cup eventing qualifier this weekend

July 21, 2009

by Jill Redmond

More than 450 competitors, 350 volunteers, and 15,000 spectators will converge on The Event at Rebecca Farm, in Kalispell, Montana, this weekend, for the only HSBC FEI World Cup Qualifying Event in the US.

Set on 640 acres in a vast glacial valley surrounded by mountain peaks amidst ponds, waterfalls and a creek, Rebecca Farm is widely considered one of the premiere equestrian destinations in the nation, and The Event is the biggest of its kind in the United States.

The World Cup qualifier takes place from July 23 to July 26.

"The winner of the World Cup Qualifier will earn more points than in past events as an Olympic level qualifier," said organiser Rebecca Broussard.

"This rule change combined with our contract as the only World Cup Qualifier in the US should draw east coast riders who will be vying for their chance to make it to the Final in Strzegom, Poland, and are also looking ahead to the Olympics and the Pan Am Games."

Many of the returning officials and riders were part of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games last year. One of the leading designers in the world for equestrian courses, Captain Mark Phillips has again returned to Rebecca Farm and redesigned the nine cross-country courses that include three water complexes. Captain Phillips has been the United States Equestrian Team Coach since 1993 and led the US eventing team to the Olympics.

"I've never seen the turf as good as it is now," said Phillips. "This course is equal to any you will find in the world. You don't get 450 horses turning up at a venue if something special isn't going on. Competitors vote with their feet."

Richard Jeffery, the Eventing Show Jumping Course Advisor to the United States Equestrian Federation and a record-breaking, eight-time USEF Show Jumping Course Designer of the Year, is again the show jumping course designer for The Event. Jeffery was also the designer at the Summer Olympics and has been appointed the eventing show jumping course designer for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.