The West Coast eventing community will start the New Year with a bang, thanks to a "trifecta event" Jan. 17-19. Staged at Galway Downs in Temecula, things kick off with the First Annual West Coast Instructors Certification Program Interactive Symposium.
The headline instructors for this are long-time Great Britain eventing coach Yogi Breisner and Grand Slam winning rider Pippa Funnell. That's Friday and Saturday, then Saturday and Sunday, it's the 16th Annual Galway Downs Fundraiser eventing clinic. Pippa is on tap for this, too, along with many of the country's top trainers. Saturday night it's the Area VI annual awards banquet, featuring keynote speeches from Ian Stark, along with Pippa and Yogi. A Q&A session with these top equestrians, good food, gift bags and entertainment will lead up to the night's awards distribution, ensuring a good time for all.
"It's a very unusual collaboration," explains Galway Downs International Events maestro Robert Kellerhouse. He's excited about having these events run separate from a show, eliminating schedule conflicts and enabling attendees to be fresh and focused on the considerable opportunities to learn and have a terrific time
The Galway Downs fundraiser clinics are a much-loved California eventing tradition. The usual format is that top trainers volunteer their time to work with riders through the day and the fees riders pay go toward the venue's considerable upkeep expenses.
On Oct. 11-13, just such a clinic was held, but this time the funds raised went to help eventing rider Amy Barrington, who was injured in an early September fall. She's familiar to many local riders because she was based in Phoenix for many years and rode on the West Coast circuit. Even though she'd been based back east for almost 10 years, Southern Californians were quick to rally around on her behalf.
With two of Amy's former students, Carolyn Hoffos of Copper Meadows and dressage trainer Niki Clarke, at the organizational helm, the event recruited 12 volunteer coaches and 92 paying customers. Nearly $16,000 was raised, reported Copper Meadows trainer Taren Atkinson to Eventing Nation. Taren said that Galway had initially planned to take a modest grounds fee, but after the event asked that all the money go to Amy's recovery effort.
Robert notes that Galway Downs owners,
Ken and Tina Smith, were very supportive of
the fundraiser and are enthused about the
January events. - by Kim F. Miller
For more information on the January events, visit www.areavi.org, and to contribute to Amy Barrington's recovery effort, visit the Facebook page in her name, which includes updates on her health and ways to donate.