International horse trials return to Kalamazoo County

Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-21 18:27:22-04

RICHLAND, Mich. – In Kalamazoo County, the 13th year of horse trials is in full swing.

It’s an international equestrian competition that’s held in Richland on North 30th Street less than a half-mile south of M-89. This year’s competition hosts about 480 horses and their riders, including Olympic equestrians, organizers said.

The course changes every year and the trials are set-up like a horse triathlon. The three phases of competition are: dressage, or obedience; cross-country jumping; and, stadium jumping.

“The exciting phase is cross-country where they’re galloping at 25 miles per hour over a three mile course and jumping about 30 solid log and obstacles in and out of water, and up and down banks and ditches,” said Kay Willmarth, trial organizer. “It’s exciting to watch.”

The trials run over four days through Sunday Aug. 24, from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. The cost is $10 for a single day, or $15 for multiple-day, parking per vehicle. All proceeds go to the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center in Augusta.