Ian Stark selected as new designer for Event at Rebecca Farm
April 19, 2012
Moving into the next decade of competition, organizers of The Event at Rebecca Farm have announced that Scottish equestrian Ian Stark has been selected to re-design the sinuous, 4-mile cross-country course that features over 150 obstacles and four water complexes. Last July, a record 503 competitors ran the course and 20,000 spectators attended 10th anniversary of what has become the largest equestrian triathlon in the nation. The 2012 Event runs July 11-15.
“I am excited to be part of the evolution at Rebecca Farm," said Stark. “I think that it is such a fantastic venue with so much more scope for the future.”
Stark was born in Galashiels in the Borders in 1954 and began riding horses at the age of 10. He was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in March 2010. In 1984 Stark won a silver medal for eventing in the Los Angeles Olympic Games and in 2000 won a silver team medal for eventing in the Sydney Olympic Games.
Other accomplishments include two silver medals in the Seoul Games of 1988, two silver medals in the World Championships in 1990, two gold medals in the European Eventing Championships in 1991, a gold in the European Eventing Championships in 1997, and he was the winner of the Badminton Horse Trials in 1999. Stark retired from competition upon completing the 2007 Kentucky Three Day Event aboard Full Circle II.
"The revolution has happened at Rebecca Farm and as we move into our second decade, we look forward to taking The Event to even higher levels and continue to build upon the vision of my mother," said Event organizer Sarah Broussard Kelly. "We're grateful for the course that Captain Mark Phillips designed over the past ten years and we are thrilled to have Ian on board to design a new course for a new decade."
To kick off its 11th year, Stark and the Rebecca Farm organizers have decided to turn the course around—completely. Competitors will run counter-clockwise from the design that was originally established by Phillips, a world-renowned course designer and coach of the U.S. Olympic eventing team.
International equestrians have observed that Rebecca Farm is unlike most other courses in the world and a lot of the fences are more like works of art then they are a horse jump. The beauty of the course that has blossomed over the past decade has been possible by an enormous, dedicated staff, including course builders Bert Wood and Matt Langliers.
The team of artists have designed iconic jumps to look like massive trout, a moose, rattle snakes, a beaver, a water dragon, an old steam train—and even prehistoric creatures in the zone called "Jurassic Park" and the exciting "Key Hole"—where horses in the advanced and three-star divisions jump through a hole of brush hanging from a frame.
For the 10th Anniversary this past summer, Wood and his team added a special twist by constructing an old western town that looks like a movie set, complete with a sheriff's office, a school, a church, a hangman's gallows, an old west bank, and a town hall. The final jump sent riders over the front door of an old fashioned saloon.
"Among various new challenges for both horse and rider, one new surprise will be placing the Key Hole in the middle of the water,” added Stark. “This could be the first water-to-water key hole jump on a cross-country course ever.”
Guests at The Event walk the course or view it from a hillside with a great vantage point of the 400-acre complex, with vast, rolling fields stretching to the Whitefish Range, and snow on the high peaks of Glacier National Park shimmering in the distance.
As a sport, eventing is one of the most comprehensive and exciting in the world today, testing horse and rider over a series of challenges, disciplines and courses that showcase the attributes of a well-rounded team through dressage, cross-country and show jumping. With historic military ties meant to replicate what a horse and rider would go through in the cavalry, their cumulative performance in the triathlon determines their final standing.
"Rebecca Farm is such an amazing venue set in beautiful country," said Olympian Karen O'Connor, who has competed at Rebecca Farm for the past two years and is vying for a spot on the Olympic eventing team for the 2012 London Games July 28-31. "I have been competing internationally for two decades across 27 countries and I've seen it all. This venue that the Broussard family brought to fruition from crop fields is the best venue I have ever been to in the world."
For more information, visit www.rebeccafarm.org.