Educational Day at Southern 8ths Long Format Breathes New Life into an Old Classic

So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event Off to a Great Start

What a brilliant first day! The annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event held at Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, SC keeps setting new standards. This year the educational day on May 2 garnered rave reviews from competitors and officials.

“I loved it!” exclaimed Sue Smithson, president of the ground jury. “You now have so much education here with the Long Format that everyone should do it.”

Thursday’s topics included vet inspections, figuring times for Roads and Tracks, and a clinic to let riders know what the judge is looking for in the Dressage segment.

“We’re judging the forest, not the trees.” Smithson explained her expectations for Dressage. “Ride the horse, then ride the test and get the most out of your horse.” She explained that many people concentrate on the test rather than the horse.

Brad Turley, the owner of Southern 8ths Farm and organizer of the event, has a passion for classic eventing. “Few people compete in the Long Format any more, because it requires a lot more preparation for horse and rider, it’s time consuming, and it’s tougher,” he said.

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In addition to Dressage, Cross-Country and Show Jumping, the Long Format includes a Roads and Tracks portion that stresses endurance and fitness. It adds miles and another competition to the already challenging cross country day.

Sara Baker, a young competitor from Southern Pines, grew up watching her mother compete in the Long Format. “It’s great to do the classic eventing,” she said. “I wish I had had this instruction before my first Three Day.” Her lovely gelding is named Poetic Justice.

Sara and her dad, James Baker, are both riding Training level. Interestingly, James came to the Heart of the Carolinas first Three Day competition three years ago and competed in Beginner Novice. The next year he rode his horse, Wings, in the Novice division. Now the same horse and rider combination are up to Training Level.

Jim’s wife will be joining them on Friday as groom and ground man.

Officials and Pan American Games veterans Holly Hudspeth and Lauren O’Brien supervised the horse inspection on Thursday afternoon. They also did an informative clinic on how to present horses properly for the jog. Later, course designer Tremaine Cooper explained how to figure times for roads and tracks.

Sponsors came from as far away as Ireland. Wendy McCaughan of County Down is a representative for Kan Teq, a manufacturer of safety vests and body support. “I’ve been struck by the care and interest of the trainers, who were generous with their advice.”

Coming from the Four-Star Rolex Three- in Kentucky last weekend, she paid the farm a huge compliment. “The facilities are outstanding and this promises to be a super event. It’s a grand follow-up to the Rolex.”

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