The Ontario Horse Trials Association has awarded the 2009 provincial championships to Headwaters Horse Trials, of Orton.
The announcement was made at the annual general meeting and banquet at Kleinburg.
Over 200 riders from all over Ontario will be competing in five possible levels, from entry to intermediate.
The horse trials is the triathlon of the equestrian world. Horse and rider compete in three different disciplines. Dressage measures precision, accuracy, and obedience. Cross country measures endurance and boldness, while stadium jumping measures control and agility. The competition is spread over two days.
The championships will be held Sept. 5 and 6 at Headwaters on the 12th Line of East Garafraxa Township.
Many of Canada’s top national and international riders will be competing as this is a stepping stone to the World Equestrian Games and the summer Olympics. As well, there will be many riders from the local area.
“We are excited about being the hosts for this prestigious event. It is 10 years since we held our first horse trials. Now we feel we are ready to host this elite competition,” said Doug Thomson, co-host of the event. The new courses and jumps are being designed by an expert trio, Peter Gray, a former Olympic competitor and national coach, Glen McMechan, a noted course designer and builder from Belleville, and Geoff Thomson, the resident coach and trainer who has competed internationally.
Work is already underway with a larger stadium area, new dressage sand rings, improved warm-up areas, and new jumps under construction. The water complex with a centre island will also be touched up.
Many of the riders who have competed at Headwaters in the past have gone on to national and international success, including the Olympics. Most of the competitors are from the Central Ontario area. Southern Dufferin County, Caledon, and the Wellington County areas are the fastest growing areas for the horse industry in Ontario.
“Hosting the provincial championships takes Headwaters to a new level of competition. The courses will be technically more challenging,” said Thomson.
The five levels riders compete in are entry, pre-training, training, preliminary and intermediate. This is the first time all five levels will be run at the same time at one site under the new OHTA guidelines.
Thomson said corporate and private sponsorships are available. Anyone wishing to volunteer or requiring more information can contact Linda, Geoff, or Doug Thomson at 519-855-6586 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.