The Holly Hill Spring Horse Trials are coming up this weekend at beautiful Holly Hill Equestrian Center in Benton, LA. They start Friday and run through Sunday. Over 250 horse and rider teams are expected to participate and you'll find tons of vendors and concessions on site. It's free to attend. I plan to volunteer both Saturday and Sunday as a jump judge on the cross country course. I volunteered last Spring and had big fun and can't wait to help out again;)

I have to say, it was pretty cool last Spring to be on the same radio as Sally O'Connor... She's a riding great by the way;) In case you were wondering what a 'horse trial' was, here's the explanation I found on the Holly Hill website. It explains everything way better than I could;) Check underneath the pics!

What Are Horse Trials?

Horse Trials are also called Eventing. A full phase event is called a Three Day Event (like in the Olympics) because it takes place over three days; Dressage the first day, Cross-Country (Speed & Endurance) phase next, and Stadium Jumping on the last day. Horse Trials are scaled down versions which take place over one or two days. Holly Hill Horse Trials is a two day competition for Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Preliminary, and Intermediate levels. As the levels progress the jumps are correspondingly higher, wider and more difficult, and the speeds are faster.

Success in this sport requires horse and rider to develop as a team. They must be adaptable, bold and athletic. Eventers take pride in developing their horses' fitness level and they incorporate a training schedule that will allow them to achieve competency in all three disciplines.


The dressage test consists of a series of movements performed in an arena and judged subjectively. Precision, smoothness and obedience must be demonstrated to show the horse's gymnastic development through progressive levels of skill. A percentage score is converted to penalties which are carried forward to the next phase.


This discipline is considered to be the most exciting part of eventing. Holly Hill Horse Trials has cross-country courses for the following levels: Intermediate, Preliminary, Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice. Cross-country is ridden over solid obstacles and varied terrain at an optimum speed assigned for each level. Heights for obstacles range depending on level. Penalties are assessed for horse refusals, run-outs, falls and being over optimum time. Also a rider can receive penalties for being too fast.

Show Jumping

This phase consists of a simple stadium jumping course which demonstrates that the horse is capable of an obedient and supple effort after a day of exhilarating cross-country. And yes, the horses do know the difference between a solid and unfixed fence rail! Penalties are assessed for refusals, knock-downs, falls and being over the time limit.

At the end of the competition, the rider with the fewest combined penalties is the winner.

Find out more about eventing by clicking here. Of course, I could spend a weekend watching other horses and not go ride my own. Isn't he just the cutest?!?!?! BTW, there was another Paisano at the event. Don't they know they broke the mold when they made my sweet boy?!?!?

Show Jumping schooling Sunday

The Drive Up to Holly Hill on Sunday... as I spill my coffee!

The Cross Country course from my perspective Saturday