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Richland Park Horse Trials a thing of beauty

by Ken Lanphear

It's an event that's been going on for 12 years now in our area, but only in the last few years has it received the attention it deserves.

The Richland Park Horse Trials this weekend at Richland Park brings around 500 of the top riders and horses to our area for competition in dressage and cross country and jumping competitions.  Perhaps you've stumbled on to some of this while watching the Olympics on TV and if so, you've probably seems some of the competitors in the Richland event because several Olympians come here every year.

The horses are beautiful and skilled and the riders have an amazing connection to their animals which enables them to compete at the top of their game.

And, Richland Park itself is an amazing venue.  It's over 250 acres of land located on 30th Street between East D Avenue and M-89 East of Richland and owned by Bob and Kay Willmarth, who live adjacent to the property.  Horse lovers themselves, they purchased the land with the hope of someday hosting an event such as this and in 2001 their dream came true.

The competition courses are spread out all across this wide landscape and worth a walk thru to see the creative obstacles that the riders and horses will content with in their competition.  There are spectator shuttles as well.  It's a very festive atmosphere ripe with tradition and intense focus from the competitors.

It's certainly worth an afternoon to experience the venue and event.  Spectator admission is free, however, there is a $10 parking fee which benefits the Cheff Theraputic Riding Center in Augusta.