Kevin McGinn Stables - Horse Sales and Training - Los Angeles CA, Sunday, September 20, 2009
In a sport that is financially demanding even in "good times," one may wonder how to satisfy the instinct in many equestrian to compete on a budget?
Back in the day, when I rode on Long Island, horse show management seemed so much more innovative -- rather than having a calender etched in stone and dates carefully calculated and "divvied up" between a few "horse show czars" as we see almost exclusively here in California, there seemed to be a less monopolistic approach.
When I was a junior rider back in the seventies there was a variety of nicely run two day shows, along with the old standards like the famed North Shore Horse Show, Piping Rock, and C.W. Post HS. Much like the spontaneous parties that are announced and happen in a matter of a few hours in the Twitter age, show managers would select a date and a venue and make it happen.
We showed at dairy farms on the grass cow pastures, old potato farms, etc. In fact, one of those rough and ready lean-to style horse shows was (and is )The Hampton Classic Horse Show (which I rode in its inaugural outing in 1976).
It consisted of a "roach coach caterer," some snow fencing, and modest jumps in what I believe was an old potato field. It was a long way from its current glamor on Snake Hollow Road. However, there was a "riding standard." And once that is in place the rest all becomes interesting because its so much less about "the space " and so much more about the caliber of riding, which is what should "fuel" the sport after all.
Now, to the point of this installment
One of the events that always gets its dates circled on my calender is the Foxfield Jumping Derby in Hidden Valley, at one of the last true riding schools that really start and "make" riders! The Foxfield gang have been at it for 42 years, teaching kids real horsemanship as well as sportsmanship. The Foxfield Derby is exactly what I feel we need more of! It attracts a much more diverse group than the standard Hunter/Jumper event, the touch of cross-country natural obstacles demands a different skill set, and in my opinion separates the "Riders" from the stride-counting cookie-cutter set. There are real Irish banks, drop jumps, coffin jumps and some places to turn and burn.The best thing is its uniqueness fused with its enthusiasm from the entire group (the Postel Family) that put the day together.
The kids and the pros get a shot at some classic stadium along with some good old fashioned "gallop-and-go."
The List of winners is a Who's Who including Susan Hutchison (5 times), George Meyer, Hap Hansen, Will Simpson and Julia Balcom Spreen to name a very few from its 30 years. I can claim entering the youngest rider to attempt the demanding track -- Brooke Faber tackled it at age 11, and placed the following year at age 12.
Anyway, that's it on the Foxfield Derby. Its a great day to ride or spectate, and see something a little bit outside the Southern California box!! And, it's a trailer-in, do-your-thing, and go home deal; which, in today's market can get you alot of "bang" for comparatively little"buck"!!
I know my riders are ready !!
FOXFIELD IS LOCATED AT
1250 E.PORTRERO ROAD
PH # 805- 495-5515