Loch Moy Farm: The Costs of an Eventer’s Playground
by Kimberly K. Egan, MHC Co-President & Chair of the Sport Horse Committee
First published in the July 2021 Equiery
Carolyn Mackintosh began transforming Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown from cow country to a premier eventing facility in 2006. This year she will run over 50 competition days – more than any other eventing venue in Maryland and comparable to historic Morven Park Equestrian Center across the river in Leesburg, Virginia. The facility is open for schooling all year round. Loch Moy hosts events for all ages, amateurs and professionals alike, from starter activities for the very newest human and equine competitors all the way to the highest levels of international competition. US Eventing has called Loch Moy “a year-round playground for eventers.” Without it, Maryland eventing would be much diminished.
Running a horse trial is an expensive proposition, however, and competitions sanctioned by US Eventing (USEA)/US Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) are the most expensive of all. US competitions sanctioned at the FEI levels require each venue to create an Organizing Committee, and to retain competition staff that includes at least the following the properly licensed (and paid) officials: Chairman, Secretary, Dressage Steward, Cross-Country Steward, Jumping Steward, Safety Coordinator, Program Coordinator, and Publicity Coordinator, in addition to veterinarians, farriers, and first responders. FEI level events must also have a Chief Medical Officer on hand for athlete welfare.
Course designs for the jumping phases must meet stringent safety standards. It can take years to design and build an acceptable international cross country course. And cross country courses are expensive. The average cost of a single cross country jump is $1,000 and there are over 100 cross country jumping efforts at the international level. The average life span of a cross country jump is only 5 years. Cross country courses must also be mowed, watered, and over-seeded. With global supply chain problems as they are, the costs of lumber for the jumps, diesel for mowing, and grass and fertilizer for the tracks, have sky-rocketed. Suffice it to say that entry fees, though high, do not cover the cost of hosting an event. Indeed, they come nowhere close.
Mackintosh would like to run the Advanced/ CCI4*S slated for 2023 which is even more costly than her current 1/2/3*. She will need to build all new Advanced and 4* jumps, and she needs to know that riders will support the event and enter. It is too expensive an undertaking for her to put on the event and have no-one enter.
Enter the Maryland International Equestrian Foundation. This year, almost 17 years after she began transforming Loch Moy, Mackintosh created the 501(c)(3) which is “dedicated to supporting equestrian sport from grass roots to FEI level at Loch Moy Farm, and committed to providing funding for the development of dedicated riders from backgrounds adverse to competing at the top levels of our sport.” For FEI level eventing to stay in Maryland, Maryland needs to support it.
The Foundation is still in its early stages of organization, so stay tuned for more information about its mission and how to donate, volunteer, or fundraise.
In the meantime, 3-2-1….have a good ride!
Loch Moy Farm is a life member and sponsor of the Maryland Horse Council.