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Maui Jim Horse Trials To Feature Many International Riders
Wayne, IL, USA
Photo: Anthony Trollope/
Many world class equestrian athletes will be trekking across the country toward Wayne, Illinois to compete at the Maui Jim Horse Trials on July 12-15. For both horse enthusiasts, and for individuals just wanting a pleasant day in the country, this competition offers a myriad of things to enjoy.

The competition has hosted many Olympic athletes during the past two decades, and this year is no exception. Two time World Three Day Event Champion and twice Olympic Team Gold Medalist, Bruce Davidson, has entered the competition for the first time. This came about at the urging of his son Buck who made his debut here in 2006, and who will return again this year. Another rider familiar with gold medals is Stuart Black from Virginia who until two years ago represented Canada in several Olympic and World Championship competitions. Black also holds the record for Advanced level victories at Maui Jim having won in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He will defend his record this year on two young imported French horses.
Stuart Back and Lissandro at the 2006 Maui Jim Horse Trials
A Midwestern favorite and also a past winner of Maui Jim's Advanced division is Becky Holder from Minnesota who scored her first victory at this level in 1999 on the horse Highland Hogan with whom she served as alternate at the Sydney, Australia Olympic Games, and whom she retired here last year in a touching ceremony. Her partner this year will be the elegant Courageous Comet who was a stakes winning Thoroughbred racehorse in his former life. Mike Huber from Texas rounds out the medalists, and he will this year be competing a young horse as well as mentoring his many students who make Maui Jim a part of their annual schedule.

Hoping not to be outshone by the veterans, 20 year old Lauren Kieffer will also be competing at Maui Jim this year. Last month, she was named by the United States Equestrian Team Foundation as "Best Young Rider" and awarded the coveted Markham Trophy for this achievement.  Lauren's home is in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, but she is currently based in Virginia with her trainers, Karen and David O'Connor.

The competition which runs over four days will kick off on Thursday morning, July 12 with the Young Event Horse Tests for 4 and 5 year olds. This is a relatively new sort of competition that has been gaining in popularity in the three years since its inception and is designed to spotlight up and coming equine talent in the discipline of eventing. Regular competition also commences on July 12 with two days of Dressage and continues with the heart of the sport, Cross Country, on Friday, Juky 13 and Saturday, July 14. The Advanced and International divisions will run on late Saturday morning. The weekend finishes on Sunday with the Show Jumping phase.

Saturday's Cross Country phase takes place on the rolling land of the Pratt Wayne Equestrian Area which is owned by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, and which lies directly across from the event's host site, Lamplight Equestrian Center, 6N940 Dunham Road in Wayne, one mile north of Army Trail Road. This facility is widely acknowledged to be one of the premier equestrian sites in the United States, and once one sees the beautifully landscaped grounds and immaculate barns, it is easy to see why it has earned this reputation. Lamplight has also been chosen to host the American Eventing Championships on September 13-16, 2007.

Sunday also features the Illinois Special Olympics Equestrian Competition as well as demonstrations by the major beneficiary of the event's funds, the Illinois Wisconsin Search and Rescue Dogs Organization. Additionally, a wide variety of shopping opportunities will be on grounds in the form of an elite corps of vendors. Food is also available in both competition locations. Admission and parking are free.

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