EN Today: Eventing in the desert

More proof (like you needed more proof) that eventers are completely insane. Thanks to Pam Bennett-Skinner for contributing and a giant thanks as always to sister site Eventing Nation for sharing!

Many thanks to EN reader Pam Bennett-Skinner for sending us her event report from St. Johns HT in St. Johns, Arizona.  All reader submissions are encouraged!  If you attend an event as competitor, spectator, or volunteer, please send us your recap and photos at [email protected]– we love seeing events across the country (and throughout the world).  Thanks to Pam for writing, and thank you for reading. -Visionaire

Top photo: The road to St. Johns

St. Johns Event Report

By Pam Bennett-Skinner

St. Johns has got to be the only place where the directions to the Cross-Country course are, “Go across the race track, around the runway and past the graveyard.” It’s a no-frills event: no vendors and no food on site. There is indeed a runway for small aircraft and the horses don’t seem to mind their activity. St Johns (pop 4000) is a desert town about twenty miles from the border with New Mexico.  It doesn’t have much in the way of amenities (I think there’s two places to eat) and the next town is thirty minutes away.  This lack is a good thing. It’s a great weekend to get away with your horse and forget about the rest of the world.

The graveyard beyond cross-country warm up

This weekend it was a very frozen world, much different from when the event used to be held at the end of June. The last time they did so, in 2010 (my first event,) it was over 100 degrees. This weekend we had 45 mph winds, blowing snow and freezing temps. Spirits were good though, even as snow collected on dressage coats.  Spectators were sparse and were either huddled together or sitting in truck cabs. The Stadium jumps just couldn’t stay up, so they had to postpone that phase until right before XC on Sunday morning. Walking XC required a little more brain power than usual as the signs kept turning around and blowing down.  Fortunately, all was well Sunday morning. While still chilly the wind had slowed and everyone was able to get their stadium and XC rounds done.  By the time trailers were being loaded the sun had come out and layers were coming off.  Today it’s supposed to be 66 there, but that’s desert weather for you: snowing one day, shorts the next.

Ingrid George and Drunken Lullabies finish their dressage test in the blowing snow
Woodpile jumps on the cross-country course

For me, the best part of the St Johns horse trial (other than getting to compete my pony) is the Competitors’ Dinner on Saturday night, specifically the cobbler.  Baked in dutch ovens in coals, the peachy goodness is something I dream about all year.  I’m craving it right now.

The famous peach cobbler

Many thanks to the organizers, officials and volunteers for running a great event and keeping us all safe in challenging conditions.

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