MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) -
Horse "eventing" season has officially begun. We'll show you how some Olympic hopefuls are saddling up for the season.
"Eventing," if you aren't already aware, is a three-part equestrian event that tests horses on the art of dressage, show-jumping and cross country.
It's only been a few years since the Majestic Oaks Winter horse trials have been held in Marion County but still, more than 200 horses were brought to hone their skills.
Ronnie DiMauro who is a co-owner of the event grounds said, "these are a lot of off-track thoroughbreds, a lot of warmbloods, quarter horses, quite a variety of horses."
Sinead Halpin Maynard has represented the US Olympic team and said, "we're kind of like the triathlon of the horse sports so we have one horse that has to do dressage show jumping and cross country so we kind of have to be the jack of all trades."
Brenda Hutton is a self-described riding amateur but stated, "making all the puzzle pieces fit together on the same weekend is incredibly difficult and incredibly rebreeding when it works out."
Eventing originally started off as a military discipline for the cavalry said, Halpin Maynard.
"Our sport came from a military background so what they wanted to do was create a horse that was for the dressage not to focus on that but they were obedient on the first day, and the second they could run out across the field and jump tractors and hedges and go to war basically. Then also be fit enough that on the third day could be careful enough to jump over rails that could come down."
Making sure you have a clean ride even this early in the season is important for every rider on the course.
Halpin Maynard said, "you can qualify for championships, and international competitions so what we call these is our workman events we come here and show up. We're schooling our young horses or it's early in the season, this is really the first event of the season, so our older more experienced horses, this is their time to come out and stretch their legs."
Riders told me one of the best parts of these events is the fact that everyone from 12-years-old to Olympic gold medalists ride side by side and both men and women compete together.