If you’ve ever wanted to watch world-class horse competitions, you’re only a short distance away from easy access to one of the country’s finest equestrian facilities when you’re in South Fulton County. Fairburn, Georgia, is home to world-class horse trials, including eventing — the Olympic equestrian activities of dressage, show jumping and cross-country galloping — at Chattahoochee Hills Eventing.
Open to the public, these events take place on the Bouckaert horse farm and feature some of the world’s best equestrians, including Olympic hopefuls and champions, and the region’s best amateur riders.
The 8,000-acre facility offers a year-round calendar of hunter/jumper, sport horse and eventing competitions. Volunteers are encouraged to come help welcome the national and international competitors.
Located only 15 miles west of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the farm’s layout gives you an up close view of riders and trainers as they groom and take them through the dressage test, gallop the cross-country phase, and ultimately the show jumping test for coveted points toward a berth in national competitions and a possible spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
The eventing competitions occur over the course of a weekend, starting with dressage, which is a training test that demonstrates to judges how well a rider and their horse work in precision and harmony. “The practice began as a method of testing British cavalry horses,” explains Hugh Lochore, Bouckaert Farm’s eventing course designer. “Dressage is about being in partnership with your horse. The riders walk, trot and cantor in a series of designed movements to show the agility and the suppleness of the horse and how well they work together as a unit.”
The cross-country phase of eventing is exciting and dramatic, with riders and horses galloping and jumping over as many as 40 fixed-obstacles, across a two-mile distance. The obstacles vary in dimension and complexity, and the course features long runs and difficult jumps. “This type of racing was developed to let cavalry riders show their boldness and aggressiveness going into battle,” says Lochore.
Show jumping focuses less on long-distance endurance riding and more on high-jumping combinations while continuously galloping. Show jumping displays the horse’s nimbleness and its obedience over jumps, around sharp turns and while changing directions.
Bouckaert Farm annually hosts the four-day Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, attracting some of the country’s top horses and riders. The events include first-class competitions, a shopping village, a kids’ corral and more.
For corporations seeking an alternative for entertaining their clients, instead of a routine golf outing, cocktail party or pro-sports skybox, consider an eventing outing. This would be a unique and upscale way of charming your clients and showcasing one of the many outstanding attractions in the South Fulton area.
“We want to show that we’ve got one of the best equestrian facilities in the country, and we encourage the public to come out and watch these beautiful horses and world-class competitors,” says Lochore. At the eventing competition held in May 2012, more than 250 competitors in eight different divisions showed their prowess during a three-day event. This particular contest was even more distinctive and exciting due to the competition between men and women — including some of the world’s best — and boys and girls in the same events.
Bouckaert Farm is located off Interstate 20 just a few minutes from Fulton Industrial Boulevard. You can learn more about Chattahoochee Hills Eventing and year-round competitions by visiting www.chatthillseventing.com.
Don’t let this hidden gem escape you for another weekend. Bring your family, friends and business clients for a day of equestrian competition. Make a plan to visit Bouckaert Farm and go for the Olympic Gold that’s right under your nose in South Fulton County.