Lee Carter
Equestrian Events, Inc., the organizers of the renowned Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington, Ky., will be managing a new Eventing competition in Ocala, Fla. "EEI's mission is to promote the sport of Eventing and provide the U.S. Eventing Team opportunities to improve by supporting and/or creating competitions. This new event fits perfectly into that mission," said Stewart Perry, president of EEI's board of directors. "Plus the grounds and mild Florida winter climate are ideal for the three phases of Eventing."
The new Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event, managed by well-known show organizer Equiventures, will be held at the Ocala Jockey Club for the first time November 24-27 of this year and will offer a CCI2/1 and CIC3-level competitions. EEI will take over management of the event for 2017 and beyond.
"We are delighted to be a driving force in the advancement of Eventing in Florida and look forward to working with EEI as we build on the advantages our area offers competitors from around the world. Our inaugural event this fall will surely be the right place at the right time and with the right team!" said Richard Trayford, CEO of Equiventures.
The 2017 Ocala event will be held November 16-20, some seven months after EEI's flagship Kentucky Three-Day Event, which occurs the last weekend in April each year.
"The timing of the two shows will be perfect for our staff and for the Eventing competitors and wider community," said Lee Carter, EEI executive director. "And from a venue standpoint, there are many similarities between the Kentucky Horse Park and the Ocala Jockey Club: the landscape is stunning and the footing in Ocala is superb. We think Eventing fans - and even newcomers to the sport - will be quick to adopt this new show as an annual event."
With its unique winter climate and terrain, Ocala is fast becoming a global center of excellence for the sport of Eventing. With sunshine and average high temperatures of 79 degrees in November and hundreds of horse farms servicing diverse horse disciplines, Ocala has been growing as a major winter location for equestrians and is ripe for a prestigious destination equestrian competition. It is home to the Eventing coaches of several Olympic squads, including Team USA, Canada and Mexico, and many top international eventers have farms there including David and Karen O'Connor, Clayton Fredericks, Leslie Law, and Bruce Davidson - all Olympic medalists representing three continents. Recently competitors from Europe have also been spending the winters in Ocala, and Florida has a vibrant competition calendar with events from Wellington to Tallahassee.
The 950-acre Ocala Jockey Club was developed as a family-oriented Thoroughbred horse farm community located on the rich soil of Florida's Marion County. The Clubhouse was the centerpiece: known for stunning sunsets, great food, ambience and tranquil views over the farm in all directions. Today, owners Pavla and Erik Nygaard are building on the Thoroughbred tradition of the farm and creating a world-class Eventing center for international competitions, training and teaching.
"It's important for top-level Thoroughbreds to continue to train at the Ocala Jockey Club, but we saw an opportunity for the farm's size and rolling hills to be showcased with a Cross-Country experience to rival the best in the world," said Pavla Nygaard, president of the Ocala Jockey Club. "As many Thoroughbreds retire from racing careers into the hands of eventers who prize the Thoroughbreds' stamina and athleticism, a Three-Day Event at the Ocala Jockey Club and special prize fund for top-placing Thoroughbreds provides a great opportunity for the two disciplines to bridge together. EEI is well-known for producing a superb Three-Day Event at Rolex Kentucky, and we are excited and proud to be the host venue of their vision for a world-class show at our property."
Equestrian Events, Inc. is a non-profit charitable Kentucky corporation that was established initially to produce the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the success of those championships, EEI established an annual event that evolved into the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover.
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the nation's premier Three-Day Event and one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the world. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation - FEI), the world's governing body of equestrian sports, has designated the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event as a 'Four Star' Eventing competition, the highest designation, which is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and six annual events around the world. Rolex Kentucky is the only Four Star event in the Western Hemisphere. The 2016 event hosted more than 84,000 attendees over the four days of competition with 34,000-plus cheering fans on Cross-Country day alone. Visit www.RK3DE.org for more information on the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover.
For more information on the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event or to purchase tickets, visit www.OJC3DE.com.