When Matthew Brown made the trip from California to Kalispell last weekend, he made sure to bring along a young equestrian. As the talented longtime rider often says, one of the best ways to be inspired is to attend The Event at Rebecca Farm.
“I love coming to this event and competing. I encourage all of our clients and all of those younger riders who maybe are intimidate by the bigness of this show to come and be a part of it,” he said. “Everything is done so well. I think it just sets a very good standard for events across the country. I really think this has got to be one of the best events in the country.”
At the 13th annual Event at Rebecca Farm, Brown rose to the occasion and put on quite the show in the competition’s highest division, the CIC 3-Star. Brown maneuvered his chestnut Irish sport horse “Super Socks BCF” masterly through three days of intense competition against some of the sport’s top riders and horses. He came out on top, earning a final score of 54.5.
“After you’ve had two really good days, you almost wish that the weekend could be over and that you didn’t have to have this last phase,” he said afterward. “But I really felt like (Super Socks BCF) tried his heart out.”
Brown finished the final phase — show jumping — with a perfect performance. He also claimed the top spot in the CIC 2-Star Division, riding “Happenstance.”
James Alliston of Great Britain finished runner-up in the elite 3-Star Division riding his bay thoroughbred “Mojo.” Jordan Linstedt of California rode her bay Hanoverian “Revitavet Capator” to third place.
“He ran really well yesterday. He jumped big and bold,” Linstedt said of “Revitavet Capator.”
This year’s Event was yet another prestigious, world-class gathering that featured more than 550 riders of all ages and abilities maneuvering the three phases of equestrianism — dressage, cross-country and show jumping.
Sunday’s finale featured the riders tackling the challenging show jumping course, which measured 540 meters with 12 fences and 15 jumping efforts. Richard Jeffrey, a course designer from England, crafted the course. He has designed courses at Burghley Horse Trials in Lincolnshire, England and The Rolex Kentucky, in Lexington, Kentucky, perhaps the two most prestigious eventing competitions in the world.
“I’ve been here every year they’ve had it, since I was 14. Every year it improves. It’s phenomenal what the (Broussard) family has put into the grounds,” Linstedt said. “You couldn’t ask for anything to run more smooth than it does. It’s a fantastic place to run and the atmosphere is definitely huge.”
As usual, The Event attracted thousands of spectators over the four days of competition to the expansive farm on the outskirts of Kalispell. Sarah Broussard, The Event’s organizer, said this year’s gathering furthered the tradition of getting bigger and better every year.
“Every time I think that we kind of reach the pinnacle and then we just continue to outdo ourselves,” she said.
She thanked the nearly 300 volunteers who devoted their days to making everything possible.
“The Event just keeps getting better and better because of the efforts of so many people,” she said. “This year we really want to pay special thanks to the community of volunteers. With their help, we have been able to maximize our capacity with record numbers of competitors and make schedule adjustments so that anyone who wants to compete at Rebecca Farm can have that chance — all the riders from novice to professional who make this event so special.”
Before this year’s competition was even over, buzz was already surrounding next year’s gathering, which will raise the bar even higher. Rebecca Farm’s Event will feature a CCI 3-Star Division, the second highest level in the sport. The CCI 3-Star is more challenging than the CIC 3-Star, with a longer cross-country course and more difficult jumps. It will be only the fourth of its kind in the nation, and only the second in the West.
Last weekend it was already being talked about as one of the more prestigious attractions that will likely see riders from the East Coast and potentially oversees traveling to Kalispell.
“It’s a big deal. For U.S. Eventing, it’s a big step,” Brown said of Rebecca Farm hosting the CCI 3-Star competition.
Broussard said making the jump has been something that’s been talked about for years and now the time is right. Most of that level of competition is found overseas in Europe, but Broussard wants to change that.
“It is time to move forward and provide the western competitors a CCI 3-Star. We want to continue to make this a showcase event,” she said. “We want to create a CCI 3-Star in the U.S. that is truly international quality.”