The Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary from July 11-13 with a more compact schedule and new spectator activities to commemorate this milestone and acknowledge the event’s Scottish “Stuart” moniker.
For the first time ever, approximately 25 world-class Scottish Highland Games athletes — the Buffalo Heavies Kilted Throwers Club — will be appearing. Both equestrian eventing and Scottish Highland Games are rooted in ancient preparation for war, the former to test the horse’s readiness, and the latter to choose the strongest warriors from each clan.
On Sunday, July 13, these Highland Games athletes will compete publicly in seven different throwing and tossing events. A Highland Games mini-version for kids (complete with kidsized kilts and safe, kid-sized throwing objects) takes place from 9 am-noon on Sunday for Wegmans Kids Day, as well as a meet-and-greet with “Mickey,” the 2,050-pound Belgian draft horse; face painting; and pony rides.
A parade of adoptable dogs from Lollypop Farm takes place daily from 10 am – noon, and a variety of food and equestrian-themed vendors will be open throughout the Trials.
“The Stuart Horse Trials has been a vital component of the United States Equestrian Association’s (USEA) National Competition schedule for 25 years, offering educational cross-country courses that have played an important part in the development of many of our international team horses,” said Jo Whitehouse, CEO of the USEA. “Not only that, the organizing committee led by Kyra Stuart, and now her daughter, Heidi Stuart Vahue, has really set the standard for any event wishing to be a ‘destination event.’ No effort is spared to make the horses, riders, and spectators comfortable and welcome.”
One of the most unique aspects of Stuart is its location. “We’ve been running this event virtually in the backyards of multiple landowners who have graciously put up with this for 25 years,” jokes Stuart organizer Heidi Vahue, who competed in the event from 1990-2009. “We are so grateful for this opportunity, which still allows local riders to ‘rub elbows’ with Olympians and learn from them.”
Vahue also notes how much the sport of eventing has changed over the years. “We’ve had to keep up with the many national rule changes as well as transformations in safety and equipment,” she notes. “So much more goes into the care of the grounds and the safety of the jumps. We’ve amped up our turf to ensure the best footing for the horses and riders.” Named for its original organizer, Kyra Stuart, the Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials has evolved from a purely local event in 1990 with about 70 riders to one now drawing local through top international competitors and Olympic athletes, both human and equine.
- Friday, July 11: 8 am – conclusion; Dressage for all levels
- Saturday, July 12: 8 am – conclusion; Cross Country for all levels and Show Jumping for upper level divisions (CIC1* and CIC2*)
- Sunday, July 13: 8 am – conclusion; Show Jumping for Beginner Novice through Intermediate divisions; Scottish Highland Games competition (9 am – 5 pm); and Wegmans Kids Day including Highland Games for Kids (9 am – noon)