USEA Area VII Summer 2019 Newsletter

The 2019 Area VII Eventing Season is flying by! We are fortunate in Area VII to have a fantastic group of Organizers who work well together and bring us a nice series of summer events. It’s hard to believe it’s already the beginning of August as I write this and the annual pilgrimage to the amazing and inspiring Event at Rebecca Farms has recently concluded.  I didn’t make the trip to Kalispell this year but enjoyed living vicariously via the many photos, posts and online information.  Many thanks to our YR Coordinator Barb Jensen, Coach John Camlin and the rest of the support crew for all of your hard work with the Area VII Young Rider Team at the NAYC, which was also hosted by Rebecca Farms.

Although our calendar provides us with a number of wonderful events, this year we lost the longest running event in our area – the Whidbey Island Pony Club Horse Trials would have held the 43rd annual event this year had it not been cancelled due to the loss of access to the land

Personally, the WIPHT was one of my favorite events for its rustic charm, spectacular setting and in my opinion, the best competitor dinner around (always delicious grilled salmon, baked potatoes, corn on the cob and berry shortcake for dessert). Then, if you weren’t too full to dance the night away, the Whidbey crew knows how to put on a party. Long story short, the pony club leases the fifty acres at the top of the event site where the office, arena, pole corrals, water complex etc. are located.  Historically, the farmers who leased the rest of the land were crop farming and supported and worked with the club to allow space for stabling, the dressage rings and a large part of the cross-country course.  Sadly, the farmer who secured the farming lease a few years ago would no longer allow the property to be used for the event. Thus – the event was cancelled.  Hopefully the event will be reborn again in the future as it has a couple of times in the past when the site needed to be relocated. 

Have you thanked an organizer or a landowner recently? One of the biggest challenges we face as horseback riders and eventers is access to land. Be it trail riding or, in the case of Whidbey, access to enough land to run an event, this has been an ongoing challenge for the equestrian community across the country. The primary reason for the loss of land used for equestrian purposes is development.  Sadly, this event’s loss of access to the farmland on Whidbey is a good reminder of how we need to work hard to preserve our access to what we already have and even expand access if possible.  Please remember that when we are at an event, we are usually on property that is someone’s home.  We need to respect the property owner, not damage the land, stalls or equipment, pick up our garbage etc.  This topic is worthy of its own extensive article!

Volunteering has been in the spotlight recently and for good reason. Without eventing’s extensive support from volunteers, we would not be able to participate in this sport at an affordable cost.  Just imagine what it would cost to run an event if everyone had to be paid for everything – all of the jump judges, scribes, office help, ring crews and too many more to list. Thank you again to our tireless organizers and volunteers who make it possible for us to compete!

The 2019 Area VII Championships are quickly approaching. For the fourth consecutive year, Aspen Farms will be hosting this fantastic event September 6th through the 8th. Due to the efforts of Jonathan Elliott and his Aspen Farms Crew along with our generous sponsors, donors and volunteers, our Area Championships have earned a well-deserved reputation of being perhaps the best Area Championships in the country! From the moment competitors check in and receive their championship competitor bags loaded with useful goodies including things like horse treats, annual championship t-shirts, hats, grooming supplies and more, to the challenging and truly championship level courses to the fabulous prized including cash, tack, clothing, gorgeous ribbons, completion plaques and so much more, the Area VII Championship have developed into a very special event. If you have qualified, you really need to enter!

That said, without the generous support of our sponsors, donors and volunteers, we would not be able to offer an event of this caliber. Once again, we say “Thank You” to all of our supporters. We really couldn’t do it without your help.

So – if there’s anything you can do to support our Area VII Championships (items for competitors’ packets, cash donations, sponsorship of classes or divisions, items for awards etc.), now is the time to contact Jonathan Elliott at or Cynthia Bayles at We are happy to provide you with a detailed Championships Sponsor/Donor information sheet. Thank you in advance for your support!

Wishing everyone the best of luck for the rest of this season and looking forward to seeing y’all at the 2019 Area VII Championships in September.

Best Regards,

Cynthia Bayles

Area VII Chair