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You really have to see it in person to appreciate it, but the renewal taking place at the Green Mountain Horse Association’s 65-acre South Woodstock, Vermont facility is impressive. A record mild fall has helped considerably to maximize work being done on the Cross-Country Upgrade Project, launched last spring as an effort to rejuvenate the historic course at the multi-discipline equestrian center. Coupled with ongoing clean-up from Hurricane Irene, it feels as though the entire facility is being transformed by excavators, engineers, carpenters, stone masons and wood carvers.

stonewall_gmhaRebuilt complex along Route 106 features new stonewall jumps for all levels.

Highlights of the project and course designer Tremaine Cooper’s vision include:

  • Extensive earth work providing drainage and improved footing in perennially wet areas;
  • Creation of terraced hillside crossings, safer for horses, riders and carriage drivers;
  • Installation of multiple new banks and revetted ditches;
  • Entirely new water crossings (both through and over the stream that runs throughout the property), woodland tracks and permanent jump complexes;
  • Building and renovating of multiple new and existing portable cross-country jumps, including many for the re-introduction of the Intermediate level in August 2012.

The ambitious Cross-Country Upgrade Project was conceived by a group of Area I riders to revitalize what is both the historic and modern-day heart of eventing in the Northeast. Fundraising has been incredibly successful to date, reaching 75% of the $200,000 goal. The additional $50,000 needed will be used to finish some remaining projects on the master plan as well as to purchase an Agri-vator machine, fertilizer and seed, and for prize money to attract both top-tier and amateur competitors to GMHA horse trials.

jump_progEvolution of a cross-country jump (clockwise from upper left): Assistant course designer Janine McClain’s artist sketch for new squirrel jump on hill above Dust Bowl; harvesting jump material; tree is brought to Upwey barn work area for carving; wood carver Isaac Bingham at work; finished squirrel (brush tail to be added) will spend the winter in the barn and placed on course in Spring.

Announcing the Inaugural Festival of Eventing

In conjunction with the course upgrade, organizers are hard at work planning a Festival of Eventing, which will take place August 6-12, 2012. The week-long affair will include a Novice and Training Three-Day event Monday through Thursday, a sanctioned Beginner Novice and Novice one-day horse trial scheduled for Friday, and a two-day horse trial over the weekend which will offer Beginner Novice through Intermediate levels. Plans also call for a trade fair, sponsor tent, competitor’s party and other entertainment. Organizers hope to attract riders from within and outside Area I who will see the Festival as a great competition for all levels, but also a fantastic way to escape the heat and hard ground of summer to the south while having a mini New England vacation.

Rebuilt complex along Route 106 features new stonewall jumps for all levels

There are numerous donor opportunities remaining to complete the project including:

  • Purchase of an Agri-vator to ensure continued optimum footing—$20,000
  • New water crossing and track cut to create path from backside of Walker ring up to     coffin complex—$2,500
  • Clearing glade above existing Novice ditch to allow new Intermediate track—$3,500
  • Installing drainage in coffin jump field—$10,000
  • Building Preliminary and Intermediate brush wedge jumps—$3,000
  • Constructing a post and beam picture frame jump in the middle field—$3,500
  • Donating prize money for the Festival of Eventing as Title, Presenting or Division Sponsor—$5,000, $2,500 and $1,000.

Of course, donations of any size are very much appreciated. Depending on the level of giving, many sponsor benefits have been created such as signage at jumps, hats and polo shirts with Upgrade logo, free website, program and horse trials advertising, custom designed cross-country jumps, personal cross-country course walks with designer Tremaine Cooper and many other perks, perhaps most important being the satisfaction of helping to sustain a wonderful institution.
Please consider a contribution, large or small, to the Upgrade Project. GMHA is a non-profit organization, so all gifts are tax-deductible. Mail checks to: GMHA, Molly Hutchins, P.O. Box 8, South Woodstock, VT 05071, or call Molly at (802) 457-1509 to discuss becoming an Upgrade sponsor.

Thank you for your support!

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Paige Cianciulli

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