A Wrap-up of The War Horse Event Series at Feather Creek Farm
by Liz Mulroney
The line of trailers queuing up to enter Feather Creek Farm on Saturday featured license plates from all around – Texas, Kansas, even New Mexico. A month earlier, a similar train of vehicles lined up in the same place, except this train carried flatbeds of construction equipment, flats of water, and truckloads of volunteers all eager to help owner Dynah Korhummel clean up after a tornado devastated the property. The inaugural War Horse Event Series at Feather Creek Farm this past weekend was nothing short of miraculous in its existence at all, but even more inspiring is the community of horse people and neighbors who came together to make it happen.
A collaboration with the Carolina Horse Park, the War Horse Event Series at Feather Creek Farm has been an event in the making for over two years. Dynah first heard of the series, that Marc Donovan had originated 7 years ago... he wanted the eventing community to gain valuable schooling and showing experience that was both affordable and educational, and Dynah asked Marc if she could bring his concept here to Oklahoma. Through tireless efforts, Dynah and her crew have developed a solid network of sponsors such as the Yanmar Tractors, Banixx, Vision Bank, Elite Trailers, Carolina Horse Park and NTEA, ensuring exciting prizes for competitors such as custom silver belt buckles, high-end bridles, and goody bags.
Despite the challenges of hosting a major event six weeks after a tornado, the War Horse Series Event ran as smooth as butter. Competitors checked in with the office in a steady stream on Saturday, heading to the welcome party complete with live music later that evening. Horse and rider combos had the opportunity to school thoughtfully challenging questions on the Introductory through Training level cross country course, taking adventurous paths over hilly terrain, around bends in the woods, and over fence after fence fully flagged and decorated for the show. The only signs of the tornado’s devastation lay in piles of debris neatly stacked behind fence lines.
Dressage started bright and early on the stunning, crisp spring Easter morning of Sunday, April 9. A more beautiful day couldn’t stand in starker contrast to the wall cloud and rotating twister of six weeks before. Competitors, casually but smartly attired, turned out for their ride times, calling out words of encouragement to strangers as those of us in the eventing world have been known to do. In a fun twist, the event was run in reverse-order for a one-day – cross country before stadium. Cheerful volunteers called out “5, 4, 3, 2, 1. . . Have a good ride!” for each of the 61 competitors, and most riders came back from their ride grinning from ear to ear.
By the time riders lined up in reverse order for their stadium rounds, a camaraderie had been built in each division. Competitors, volunteers, and spectators alike supported each other with bottles of water and cheers through the twisty, freshly painted show jumping course that, only a month previous, had been missing half of its arena fence.
The piece de resistance of the event occurred after each division as ribbons were awarded and competitors were invited to “stand and step” for photos and prizes in front of the sponsors’ backdrop before lining up for a victory gallop— well, as the winner of the Introductory division lamented “More of a victory TROT!’ Horses and riders ended the weekend safe and happy, ready to return for the next War Horse Event Series at Feather Creek Farm planned in October