Rebecca Farm adds 2015 CCI***

The Event at Rebecca Farm near Kalispell, Montana, is one of the largest and most prestigious events on the West coast. After reading and hearing rave reviews about it from fellow riders, I finally made the trip down a few weeks ago to see for myself what all the fuss was about.

History lesson

I was curious about the history of Rebecca Farm, so I did some research. Herron Park had hosted the local event near Kalispell for 25 years. Limited by space and facilities, they couldn’t keep up with the fast growth and number of competitors, so the Broussard family stepped in.

Jerome and Rebecca Broussard, with daughters Sarah and Rebecca, were long time supporters of the eventing community. They had always dreamed of building a world-class facility to help West coast eventers achieve their dreams. After they found the perfect piece of land on 640 acres near Kalispell in 2000, construction quickly began.

The first competition at Rebecca Farm took place in 2002 with 150 competitors. It has steadily grown since then. It quickly became a USEF and USEA Gold Cup Series event, and an FEI World Cup qualifier. Now the competition offers a variety of levels from Novice to Advanced, as well as FEI levels up to a CIC3*. It can accommodate between 400-500 riders every year. Competitors come from all over the West coast, and many from Canada. It truly is an event for everyone, as grassroots riders of all ages compete alongside the pros.

Breathtaking first impression

When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was the sheer size of the facility, and the gorgeous grounds. Looking around at the perfectly placed flowers, the beautifully manicured lawns, you could tell that an incredible amount of time and pride went into the preparation. No detail has been overlooked. Each ring is ready and perfectly groomed. The stabling is bright, clean, and there is ample room around each block of stalls for competitor parking and camping.

The cross-country course is breathtaking. Each jump is perfectly placed and beautifully decorated. The water in each of the 4 water complexes is a stunning azure. There are many jumps arranged in themes, such as the Western Town, and Jurassic Park. Many of the jumps include elaborate decorations and intricate carvings, courtesy of course builder Bert Wood. These are not just cross-country jumps; they are works of art.

Louisiana roots added to cross-county design

Sarah Broussard spoke about some changes to the 2014 cross-country course. Named after Bayou Teche in Louisiana, where Jerome and Rebecca Broussard had grown up, one of the water complexes has been remodeled and given a Louisiana feel. Detailed crawfish, alligators, and a shrimp cocktail jump accent the new complex.

Ian Stark took over as cross country course designer in 2012. I was able to go along with him on a course walk of the CIC3* course to get the inside scoop on the new changes and what exactly building a world-class course entails. It was both informative and fascinating, as there is much more that goes on in designing a course aside from simply placing and numbering the jumps.

Here are some video clips from the course walk: http://youtu.be/IR3M43ikXVA

2015 CCI***

Just recently announced is the addition of a CCI3* in 2015. This will become the fifth CCI3* in North America and the the second one in the West. This will enable West coast eventers to be more competitive closer to home. In addition, will attract more competitors from both the East coast, as well as overseas.

In addition to the actual event, there is plenty more that goes on at Rebecca Farm. Every year there is a trade fair where a wide variety of vendors offer their products and services. There is something for everyone with many choices of food and drink available like Two Dog Wood Fired Pizza, and the Tamarack Brewing Company, just to name a few.

Breast cancer research

Halt Cancer At X is an important part of the event at Rebecca Farm. In 2010, Rebecca Broussard sadly lost her battle with breast cancer. In her memory, the Halt Cancer At X initiative was created to raise money to fund breast cancer research. A $5 parking donation is collected from spectators during the event, and riders raise money through gathering pledges. A silent auction is also held during the event. In 2013, an incredible $70,000 was raised, and the goal was to exceed that for 2014. The pink breast cancer ribbon is featured prominently around the entire event, and adorns the hindquarters of many competing horses as well.

Family legacy

Hearing Sarah Broussard personally speak about Rebecca Farms was very touching, and I noticed a very common theme in her words. Family. Not only her own family, who has absolutely gone above and beyond in what they have created at Rebecca Farm, but also the family which is the eventing world as a whole. The strong sense of support, friendship and camaraderie is unique to the eventing community, and shines through in every aspect of Rebecca Farm. From those that have worked countless hours preparing for the event, the hundreds of volunteers, the riders that support the event, to the Halt Cancer At X initiative. The atmosphere is one of very strong fellowship and teamwork. We are all in this in together, sharing a common love of eventing, and are all part of something bigger than ourselves. What an incredible feeling!

That’s one thing I didn’t expect when coming to Rebecca Farms, it is truly a world-class event on every level. I can’t wait to go back!

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