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First Time at Horse Trials


By Tommy Brannon

Mississippi girls, Ali Gill and Ashley Evens have been best friends for years. They ride together, show together, and fox hunt together. They had an opportunity to do something new together October 5-6, 2018 when they competed in their first rated Horse Trial in all three phases.  They had previously competed at small non-rated events, but this was their first “real event:” The Middle Tennessee Pony Club (MTPC) Horse Trails. This is the 66th year of MTPC Horse Trials, held at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tennessee. Both girls are Junior members of Oak Grove Hunt Club and they competed on their regular fox hunting horses: Ali on Teggan and Ashley on Oliver. Accompanying the girls was their trainer Peggy Hart.

The girls had a “dress rehearsal” at the Walnut Trace Farm (Nashville) Horse Trials on September 22, where Ashley rode Novice and Ali rode Beginner Novice. Ali said that this helped them learn to be organized going to an out-of-town show.

Teggan gave everyone a little scare the night before the MTPC competition by being very fretful in the stall, not drinking, and showing possible signs of colic. But Peggy kept an eye on her throughout the night, and she settled down after a while and was fine.   

There were five Beginner Novice divisions at MTPC, so the girls did not compete against one another directly. But as every eventer knows, the scores show the results.  Ashley had a dressage score of 36, went clear on cross country, and had one rail down in stadium jumping, placing her third. Ali also had a dressage score of 36, with clear rounds in both cross country and stadium jumping, placing her fourth in her division.

As with most of the competitors at MTPC, the girls had a very positive experience that will build confidence for both of them and their horses.     

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