Loch Moy Farm Celebrates 15 Years of Eventing (first published in the July 2021 Equiery)

By Katherine O. Rizzo

Fifteen years ago, eventers followed a marked trail from a parking field up a steep hill and walked onto a massive open field laid out with dressage rings, show jumping and cross-country courses from Beginner Novice to Preliminary. Soft rolling hills and Sugarloaf Mountain as a backdrop made the newly constructed Loch Moy Farm a rather breathtaking location for Maryland’s newest event, the Maryland Horse Trials.

Today, Loch Moy Farm’s competition facility has become home to eventers, jumpers, dressage riders and more, with owner and operator Carolyn Mackintosh hosting all kinds of equestrian sports including an Extreme Cowboy Race and even a Steeplethon on foot for cross-country runners. Even though the facility is utilized by a variety of equestrian disciplines, eventing is where it has its roots.

Eventing Family
Mackintosh found her love of eventing through her daughter, Alex, who now lives in California. “I just loved going to events with her but didn’t have a clue to how they were run,” Mackintosh said. “I was a horse show mom and did all the entries for my daughter and I always made some sort of mistake and had to deal with cranky show secretaries,” she said with a chuckle. “But then I met Mary Coldren up at Fair Hill and she was so nice!”

Mackintosh soon had her daughter filling out her own entries and was chatting Coldren up about possibly running her own horse trials at their family property in Adamstown. “I’ve counted on Mary ever since,” Mackintosh added. Coldren, who is also the event coordinator for the upcoming Maryland 5* Event at Fair Hill, has been the secretary for Loch Moy’s US Eventing Association events since the beginning.

It was not until January 2006 that construction began to create areas for dressage and show jump, and cross-country courses through Preliminary. The whole facility was completed and ready for its first USEA event in merely six months!

With parking in what is now the schooling course, competitors at the first event hacked up the hill to ride all three phases on grass. The reviews were fairly positive with many competitors from week one adding in late entries to compete the following weekend. Competitor Emma Jones of Annapolis told The Equiery in July 2006 that the event was, “well-organized and well-staffed, with an incredible group of volunteers, designers and officials.”

Loch Moy’s Evolution and Growth
Over the years, Mackintosh has responded to feedback from competitors and officials adding more and more all-weather footing arenas for show jump and dressage. Currently, the facility has six arenas that can be used for competition rings, warm up and even jumping chutes for USEA Future Event Horse competitions and clinics.
The footing holds up well during Maryland winters allowing Mackintosh to move cross-country jumps into the arenas for schooling and cross-derby style competitions – an idea she got while on one of her many “scouting” trips around the world. “I love to travel and visit events all over the world,” Mackintosh stated, “that’s where I get all my ideas from!”

The cross-derby idea came from a trip to the UK where Carolyn saw arena-style eventing. After that, she added a water complex, ditches and several banks in the arenas. “We also put up the Durlock fencing which allows us to open up parts of the fencing so riders can jump from one ring to another,” she added. These features have also been used during the farm’s FEI event each July.

The original cross-country course was designed by Craig Thompson and built by Todd Richardson and had several switchbacks to allow for required distances for each level. The switchbacks also made the cross-country course very spectator friendly.

Over the years, with the influence of a few course designers, the cross-country course is more open with tracks going into and out of the woods as well as in the open fields. Additional water complexes have been added as well as banks, ditches and recently, a sunken road.

CCIs at Loch Moy
Great Britain’s Ian Stark is the current cross-country course designer for the USEA events and is working with Mackintosh on a bid for a new four-star event in Area II. “He has a great imagination and I really enjoy his visits and ideas,” Mackintosh said. Stark is also the course designer for the inaugural Maryland 5* Event at Fair Hill.

In order to host a four-star, Mackintosh not only has to provide plans for the cross-country course, which Stark has already created on paper, but also needs to provide prize money and live streaming. “We need sponsorships for all of that,” she said. “It really would be a cool summer international experience and a great spectator event but we need good prize money to attract the competitors and sponsors to afford what the FEI requires.”

Currently, the Maryland International holds CCIs at the one-star through three-star levels during Loch Moy’s July event. Mackintosh typically holds parties in various viewing areas for spectators, riders and sponsors but had to cut all of that in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We can now have spectators again but we are keeping things small because of the Olympic mandatory outing at Great Meadow the same weekend,” she explained.

Post Pandemic
Although the pandemic is far from over, Maryland and many other parts of the country have finally fully opened for business! The biggest change for Mackintosh this year is being able to welcome back volunteers with social events. “So many of my volunteers are serial volunteers, I love it!” she said, adding, “I’m so glad we can do our volunteer get-togethers after the events again. Everybody is having fun again. That is what I missed most during COVID.”

With several of the early events being canceled in 2020, Loch Moy is back to its full schedule with three USEA-sanctioned events, the Maryland International CCIs, and six starter events on the 2021 calendar. Loch Moy is also the host of the USEA Area II championships again this year, which will be held during its October USEA event.

But that is just eventing! Twilight events are scheduled throughout the spring and summer, which Mackintosh reports have been “packed!” “The twilights are so good for young riders and horses,” she added. The farm has already held USDF-sanctioned dressage shows with two more on the schedule for August.

In addition, there are schooling dressage shows, jackpot jumper shows and clinics scheduled throughout the remainder of 2021. This year’s December Donation Derby will be benefiting the Carroll Manor Fire Company, which is the company that longtime volunteer and show EMT Mike Smallwood belongs to.

The USEA Future Event Horse East Coast Championships will take place at Loch Moy in September with several qualifiers being held in the months leading up to the finals. And if Mackintosh is granted a four-star for 2024, it would make Loch Moy one of the only facilities in Maryland to offer competitions from yearlings to Advanced in the sport of eventing.

Stay tuned!