Pro/ Am Teammates Krisie and Erin with Pro Skyler Icke (center). Sorry to Connor who was warming up!
Sure Fire Farm Horse Trials was special because it was well-run, beautiful, and great fun. But it was also special because it was the kick off for the PRO Pro/Am Team Competition Series. The What? You know, the new Pro/Am Series where you get to ride on a team (of your choice or picked for you) with riders of different levels as well as a really rad eventing pro. You get free stuff, a prize when you win (or place second or third) and gets inside tips and course walks from your pro. I know, it’s amazing! So it kicked off this past weekend at Sure Fire and I caught up with one of the teams to hear about the how’s and why’s.
The team I spoke with included Pro rider Skyler Icke of Angelica Run Farm in Virginia and teammates Krisie S. (riding Matus), Erin M. (riding Say What), and Connor H. (riding Folklore). They made up one of the teams in the “already knew each other” group which was cool in its own right. I talked with Krisie and Erin about why they decided to make a Pro/ Am team since, after all, they were already traveling to competitions together and generally running around as a team. And I liked what they had to say.
As they brushed tails, tightened girths, and secured boots (in matching PRO hats-your free prize just for entering!) in preparation for their first prelim start, they explained that, although they were already traveling together and riding with Skyler, making a PRO team gave them the opportunity to be competitive in an additional way (Note: If anyone ever says that eventers are not competitive should reference this point as one of many that argue otherwise!). As they pointed out, they’d never actually been a team before, and the Pro/ Am Team Competition Series gave them that opportunity.
Skyler added on to that, saying that the Team Competition series does a lot of things. It offers things like course walks which might be especially valuable to those of us who don’t regularly ride with a Pro rider, and it also offers an additional motivation since you’re not just riding for yourself anymore-you’re riding for your team. And that’s a big deal for a number of reasons. One, if you’re a Young Rider with NAYRC aspirations it gives you experience riding on a team. Alternatively, if you’re an adult rider it gives you a chance to ride with a team since the NAYRC aren’t a possibility and, perhaps, neither is riding for our American Team at, say,The World Equestrian Games. Finally, she added, that with Sure Fire being the first preliminary run for all her riders, being on a team together added a special element. They were in it together.
And, you know, she was right. And, somehow, that’s what eventing is all about.
If you want to join a Pro/ Am Team, (or create your own) the series will be held at Stuart Horse Trials July 15-18th, Woodside Horse Trials August 13-15th, Richland Horse Trials August 26-29th, and Twin Rivers Horse Trials in September.
[Editor's Note: Check out Courtney's post, "A Day at Sure Fire" for a deeper look into this eventer's paradise.]