Category Archives: So8ths/Nikon Three-Day

Heart of the Carolinas Three-Day Event and Horse Trials Discontinued

Organizers Reflect on Beautiful Memories

Chesterfield, S.C. — After ten fabulous years celebrating the traditional eventing long-format, The Heart of the Carolinas Three-Day Event and Horse Trials is sorry to announce that the competition is cancelled for the foreseeable future.

We are going out on a high note. Our entries for the 2018 event were our highest to date and exceeded our goal. We successfully ran our first Preliminary divisions and maintained the high standards we’d set in the past.

We would like to thank the officials, vendors, sponsors, and clinicians for everything they have done for this event as well as Southern 8ths Farm’s Brad Turley and Pati Martin for being gracious hosts.

Most importantly we would like to thank our volunteers. They were the key to our success and were the reason every competitor, spectator, clinician, and official left the event raving about HOTC. We appreciate every minute they gave to us.

Although we are deeply saddened, we will remember the experience fondly and celebrate the incredible impact HOTC had on its competitors, community, volunteers, and staff. Thank you for an incredible ride. Long live the long format!

Brad Turley, Owner, Southern 8ths Farm: Southern 8ths has over 200 years of equestrian history and the HOTC was our way to burnish what had come before. We hope that in the future we’ll be able to keep those memories alive. We have a great appreciation for those who made it happen over the past ten years and are heartfelt in our thanks.

Cindy Deporter, Co-Organizer: I am proud to have been associated with HOTC. It was a unique event and had a unique character. I was blessed with extraordinary people who were dedicated and believed in the event as I did. I thought we got it right in all ways. Here is to the competitors, volunteers, and the sponsors who helped to make it happen.

Leslie Threlkeld, Co-Organizer: There was a very special energy about HOTC. From the lovely people who helped to put on the event, to the serenity and beauty of the farm, to the generations old spirit of the horse that enveloped the property. Thank you to everyone who shared this incredible space with us over the years and supported the competition. We are sorry to see it go.

Erin Kimmer, Co-Organizer: I have attended the event as volunteer, competitor, and organizer. This event was truly one of the nicest events I have ever attended. The organizers and staff over the years have gone above and beyond to make this such a lovely event. I feel very lucky to have been able to ride and compete here. As a volunteer, this event’s hospitality and appreciation was the highest I have ever experienced. Thank you so much to Brad and Pati for their passion for the long format and hosting the event at their beautiful farm for many years. I am truly grateful to Cindy and Leslie for letting me join on board as an organizer and their help and insight with the technical delegate licensing process. I have gained so much from everyone and all of my experiences at HOTC.

Erica Pawlak, Sponsorship Coordinator: I’ve been working HOTC since the 2015 event and it really helped cement my love for eventing. Being new to the area, it’s introduced me to a whole host of wonderful Area II and III people and given me a fabulous education in between stuffing prize bags. My favorite position to work (besides giving out loads of swag on Sunday) was the vet box coming off Phase D. Getting to be one of the first to greet everyone after they’d completed endurance day and congratulate them on their accomplishment was an absolute privilege. I’m so honored I got to be a part of it.

Melissa Beasley-Rundt, Hospitality/Volunteer Coordinator: Southern 8ths Farm is a magical place. My best memories of Heart of the Carolinas are the people that I’ve met over the past few years. I’ll take those friendships with me forever.

Gammon Castellvi, Volunteer Coordinator: I have seen this event from every angle. First as a technical delegate, I felt it was an incredible educational event I was proud to have had a part in. Then as the volunteer coordinator, it was a privilege to work with an organizing committee that was doing all the right things for all the right reasons. Everyone put in all this amazing effort to provide our riders with an opportunity that we lost many years ago when the long format disappeared from the FEI levels. An event like this, for a rider, was the culmination of months of work. Just the look on each rider’s face as they came through the finish brought back the unbelievable feelings of accomplishment that only an event like this can bring. Too few of our riders will ever experience that or learn so much about themselves and their horse partners. The last few years, my own daughter has brought several young horses to this event. Watching her and her young partners come through the finish line, sharper, fitter, more educated, and much more confident each time is priceless, the level of horsemanship and sportsmanship it promotes is unequaled.

Kim Keeton, DVM, Veterinarian: What Brad brought at Southern 8ths was truly unique! I first participated in 2015 as a competitor at the Training Level in the three-day with my young warmblood. She grew leaps and bounds over the weekend as we danced in front of the mirrors at Brad’s main barn, then trotted on manicured roads and tracks through the woods traversing streams and nature paths, and galloped on the perfectly maintained steeplechase and cross country turf, and then triumphantly finished over a unique and atmospheric show jumping. Winning that weekend was icing on the cake, but it reignited in me the need for an amateur accessible long format event. Since then, I’ve been back each year, in 2016 and 2017 volunteering my time to assist Dr. Debbie Williamson in the veterinary aspects of the event, and then in 2018 as the official event veterinarian. As with any event, it’s not only a stunning purpose-built facility, but also the people and their passion that makes an event special. Each day at Southern 8ths was packed from sun up to sun down with a unique competitor camaraderie, educational clinics, and nature’s beauty. HOTC should be heralded for what it brought to the sport and paving the path for future lower level long format events. Farewell HOTC – thanks for the memories, education, and most of all horsemanship and fun!

Cindy Wood, Stabling Manager: We all loved ‘Brad-minton’, the beautiful farm, stabling, grounds, cross country courses, and the Southern Eighths crew.

Ed and Annie Madden, Safety Officer and Volunteer: Every year that we have been a part of this incredible event has been special. We have gained new friends, experienced camaraderie that is rare, were introduced to the culture of horses and eventing, and gained an appreciation for what is possible when people are able to work toward a common goal.  For Annie and me it has added to the richness of our lives.

Charles Pinnell, Announcer: Farewell HOTC! There was nothing quite like that annual trip to Brad Turley’s Southern 8ths Farm. The buildup, the excitement, the professionalism at all levels, while working with a top-notch team, every member passionate about eventing and the advancement of our great sport. People will talk about this horse trials for generations.

John Michael Durr, Cross Country Course Designer: It was a pleasure being part of the HOTC team. As both a designer and a competitor at Southern 8ths, it was a joy working with the dynamic landscape and helping to bring the vision to life along with course builder, Dylan Barry.

Tony Astmann, Jack of All Trades: HOTC was a very special experience for me. It was a pleasure and honor to be part of such a first-class event. It gave me an opportunity to meet and become friends with many fantastic and accomplished people, learn a lot, and even ride some special horses too. My memories begin with Brad and his dedication, desire, and vision in creating his beautiful Southern 8ths Farm and the world-class event, Heart of the Carolinas. I remember years ago visiting Brad’s home when there was little else other than the natural, raw, South Carolina land. Through the years it was incredible to witness how the terrain was shaped, fences created, and structures were built to the make facility we now know. What truly made the HOTC memorable and special were the people – show personnel, farm staff, clinicians, competitors, everyone. It was pleasure being a part of Cindy’s team. She was generous in making this Yankee feel welcome. She was incredible in uniting and directing us all in making something special and unique happen. It was exciting working with the best and a wonderful synergy ensued. Though the hours were long, the positive atmosphere made the work a pleasure and laughs would come often and easy. I am thankful for the opportunity to have helped contribute to the sport and to have made some very special friends and memories, too.

Media Contact:
Leslie Threlkeld

Heart of the Carolinas Celebrates Amateur Riders and the Classic Eventing Format

Kaitlynn Ferrell and Beyond the Limits competing in the Novice Three-Day at Southern 8ths. Photos by Brant Gamma Photography.

Chesterfield, S.C. — The sixth annual Heart of the Carolinas (HOTC) Three-Day Event and Horse Trials is coming to Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, S.C. May 4-6, 2016. With the goal of providing an unparalleled educational opportunity for riders and carrying the classic long-format forward, Southern 8ths is unveiling new divisions and a new eventing series challenge for 2016.

Southern 8ths Farm is the only venue in the country that offers USEA-recognized traditional long-format three-day events at the Beginner Novice, Novice and Training levels. Three-day competitors are given the best chance of success as qualified clinicians coach them through each section of the event. We are thrilled to announce that our 2016 clinicians are USEA President-elect Carol Kozlowski along with Sally O’Connor, a renowned FEI eventing and dressage judge and accomplished author.

“The HOTC team is proud and honored to provide a competition where riders and their equine partners can learn and compete together,” said HOTC co-organizer Leslie Threlkeld. “To have Carol and Sally join us as clinicians this year is very special and a testament to the longstanding support for the classic format. We also have the professional veterinary assistance of Dr. Debbie Williams to help prepare riders for horse inspections and the 10-minute box, as well as an experienced ground jury that is dedicated to bolstering a positive experience for competitors.”

For the 2016 event, a Preliminary Combined Test division and the newly developed Assistance Allowed Test has been added to the schedule. Alongside the long-format divisions, HOTC also welcomes competitors in a Beginner Novice through Training level horse trials. The team looks forward to adding the 3’5” Modified division in 2017.

HOTC worked together with the Carolina Horse Park to develop a new eventing series for Preliminary and below called the Carolina Eventing Challenge. The Southern Pines Horse Trials (March 13-14) and Longleaf Pine Horse Trials (April 23-24) serve as qualifying competitions, and the final will take place at HOTC. Beginner Novice, Novice and Training riders must compete in a long-format division to be eligible for the series grand prize. Preliminary level competitors will ride in a derby-style final, with both stadium and cross country fences appearing on the jumping course.

Alanna Regan and Rupert competing in the Training Horse Trials at Southern 8ths
Alanna Regan and Rupert competing in the Training Horse Trials at Southern 8ths

“Our goal with HOTC is to provide an educational competition that is geared to the adult amateur rider,” said HOTC co-organizer Cindy Deporter. “We consider ourselves a ‘destination event’ for the adult amateur and we continue to support them through this competition, both with the three-day offerings and now the Assistance-Allowed Division. We appreciate Brad Turley’s generosity in financially helping to make this competition the best of its nature in the United States!”

Brad Turley is the owner of Southern 8ths Farm, founder of the Heart of the Carolinas Three-Day Event and a passionate advocate of the traditional eventing format.

“The bond that a rider has with his or her horse is unique, especially in today’s world of instant gratification. The long-format magnifies that bond through the hours of training and conditioning required to complete the three-day,” Brad said. “Our team understands that bond and has taken the reins to ensure that amateur riders continue to have the opportunity to fully appreciate how special their mounts are by completing the ultimate equestrian test. We are proudly looking forward to another year presenting the amateur rider’s Rolex.”

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, HOTC is offering a wealth of prizes for first through eighth place in all three long-format divisions. Special awards include Best Conditioned Horse, Best Turned Out, and Lowest Scoring Adult Amateur. A grand prize will be given to the winners at each level of the Carolina Eventing Challenge. Thoroughbred Incentive Program awards will be given in all horse trials and three-day divisions, including the Preliminary Combined Test.

A complete list of sponsors and information about sponsorship opportunities is available at

Learn more about the Heart of the Carolinas Three-Day Event at

Media Contact:
Leslie Threlkeld

Generous Sponsors Make the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Extra Special for Amateurs

Kathy Viele and Matariki. Photos by Diana De Rosa.

Amateur Competitors Applaud the Sponsors for Their Support

The competitors in the third annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas” were not just overwhelmed by how wonderful the event was but also by the generosity of its sponsors. The event took place May 2-5 in Chesterfield, SC. Amateur riders competing in Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training levels went home not only with a sense of accomplishment and accolades about an event well-run and facilities that are beyond comparison but also with a bounty of gifts.

A huge thank you went to the title sponsor NIKON who presented the winners of the three divisions with a Nikon D3200 Camera Kit (with an 18-55mm VR lens). Kathy Viele, Aiken, SC, rode Matariki to the victory in Training (T3D), Sarah Zimmer, Martinsville, VA, and Mardi Gras were the Novice (N3D) winners and Sara Miles, Assawoman, VA, and Misty’s RainDrop were the Beginner Novice (BN3D) winners.

The competitors weren’t the only ones going home with NIKON products. Gay Glenn was the volunteer who was the lucky recipient of a NIKON Coolpix S5200 Camera after her name was drawn out of the Most Valuable Volunteer’s bucket.

Everyone was a winner, thanks to the sponsors at this year’s event because every Competitor, Clinician and Official went home with a souvenir NIKON item ranging from laptop bags, to flexible keyboards, t-shirts, mood lights, luggage tags, umbrellas and so much more. The title sponsor NIKON was extremely generous with their support of this event because they recognize the value of the amateur riders.

Sarah Zimmer and Mardi Gras
Sarah Zimmer and Mardi Gras

“We here at NIKON are proud to be involved with Southern 8ths Farm’s recognized three-day event to support the amateur riders and their passion for Eventing. It is this same passion that drives NIKON each day. We look forward to a long relationship with So8ths!” remarked Bill Pekala, General Manager, NIKON Pro Services.

“Our sponsors have helped make the Southern 8ths Three-Day a destination for the amateur riders,” remarked Southern 8ths Farm owner Brad Turley. “NIKON’s support has been fabulous.  Besides providing the winners with high quality cameras, they added in a camera for volunteers, provided a dozen cameras for the competitors to take part in a photo contest and then sent many extra items that impressed everyone.”

The Sponsors Say Thank You to the Amateurs with Their Many Prizes

The list of sponsors continued with Adequan, Bit of Britain, Brant Gamma, Breyer,, Cosequin, Dressage Collection, Ecolicious, FITS, Foxden Equine, Higher Standards Saddle Soap, Horse Quencher, The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program, Kan Teq, Mane Street Horse and Pet, Mrs Pastures Cookies, SciencePure/Pureform, Smartpak, Southern 8ths Farm, and USEA.  Every sponsor donated products that made this event extra special for the amateurs who competed.

Both Adequan and Cosequin provided buckets that went to the competitors and were used in the veterinary box and other locations throughout the weekend. Cosequin also presented a bucket of prizes to the second place recipients. The 2nd place winners included James Baker, Southern Pines, NC, and Wings in T3D, Samantha DiMaria, Kendall Park, NJ, and Valentine for N3D and Catie Pannill, Martinsville, VA, and Kokoa Kat for BN3D.

The Jockey Club Low Score Thoroughbred Incentive award of a ribbon, $50 cash prize and embroidered Jockey Club duffle bag also was won by DiMaria.

Sara Miles and Misty’s RainDrop
Sara Miles and Misty’s RainDrop

James was also the recipient of the Foxden Goodwill Ambassador Award for his leadership throughout the weekend. Baker noted that the support of the sponsors at the So8ths/Nikon HOTC event has a much deeper meaning because for once the pomp and ceremony was not being focused on the top level, but rather on those who also deserve it.

Baker’s words were echoed by many when he said, “It makes a great deal of difference to me that these sponsors will recognize and support us at the lower levels.  Too often only the top level gets any recognition yet it is the lower levels that provide the financial support through their membership, through day to day products and entry fees.”

In addition James won the highly sought after Bit of Britain Adult Rider Low Score grooming tote with brushes, a Bit of Britain bridle and a gift certificate all valued at just over $500. After the event Jim expressed his gratitude to Bit of Britain owner and Eventer, John Nunn, noting, “Thank you for your support and the quality of your products, but you should be here. This is the premier Training Three-Day that knocks the socks off of other T3Ds. You need to ride this event.”

Brant Gamma was the official show photographer. She provided the winner of each division with an 8×10 picture frame to include a photo of their choice.  One of the winners, Viele, commented, “This weekend has been a long-term goal and your photos will help me relive the great moments and share them with friends.”

“I’d like to thank Brant Gamma for her support and helmet cams coverage as well as John Nunn at Bit of Britain for all he does for Southern 8ths and the adult riders,” remarked Turley.

Breyer donated a couple of model horses to the young volunteers in the group while provided a gift basket to volunteer Carolyn Sellers. Higher Standards Saddle Soap jars were given to the top three finishers in each division. FITS provided shirts that were added to the Horse Quencher Sportsmanship award won by Taylor Pence, Concord, NC, who was competing on Goldie.

Everyone received some Mrs Pastures Cookies and there were lots of happy horses being fed those cookies throughout the competition. SmartPak provided each competitor with a paste supplement and all the Officials received a SmartPak tote. Cosequin gave them all vet wraps and coupons. Both Foxden and SciencePure provided gift certificates to many of the competitors.

As a way to help thank the sponsors, notebooks were put out on a table throughout the competition so that anyone could write a note to the sponsors. Taylor wrote to Horse Quencher, “I won many of your products this weekend and cannot wait to try them. Thank you so much for contributing to such a wonderful event.”

Sarah Zimmer and Mardi Gras
Sarah Zimmer and Mardi Gras

The Dressage Collection Low Dressage Score prize of a beautiful Classic Handbag will probably end up with the trainer, Suzanne Lacy of Riverbend Farm, since she brought a bunch of riders to compete at this year’s event. Sarah Zimmer, Martinsville, VA, had the lowest dressage score of 30.70.

The Ecolicious Best Turned Out award of their all natural shampoo and conditioner went to Pannill, Baker and Manny Diemer, Raeford, NC, who placed 4th on Krugerrand in N3D. Ecolicious products were also given out to a number of the other competitors who placed at the top.

Additionally, Ecolicious owner Petra McGowan was thinking out of the box and offered a donation of all of their products to one lucky recipient who would use them and document their use.  That recipient was Erin Hite, Durham, NC, who commented, “I won the raffle and used your products over the weekend. They smell great and work. I love that they are natural. Cody and I worked a year to get here and really appreciate your support at our own mini-Rolex!”

The Mane Street Best Conditioned Horse Award and the Kan Teq Closest Lady to Optimum X-C Time was won by Sarah Baker, Southern Pines, NC, who rode Poetic Justice to a 4th place finish in T3D.  Sarah was thrilled with her gift basket filled with cool horse items and an embroidered cooler from Mane Street as well as a Safety Vest from Kan Teq.

“This is an amazing event,” commented Sarah. “Nobody treats the competitors better!”

Wendy McCaughan, owner of Kan Teq, was there throughout the competition and provided vests to competitors to try out. Wendy even took part in some of the contests and won the prize for the SmartPak Most Innovative Hat and received an embroidered vest from Southern 8ths Farm.

Wendy took some time after the event to offer her comments noting, “I would like to say how impressed I was by the amazing energy shown by those behind the scenes. They were truly tireless in their mission to gather every ounce of feedback, every sponsor photo opportunity and every moment of action whether on the magnificent cross-country course or in various clinics.

“Everything in the indoor arena was so beautifully presented with no detail left to chance. I particularly liked the vast display of prizes. Also the effort given to reinforce every sponsor’s contribution was absolutely brilliant (i.e. the Nikon Photo Contest, the sponsor books, the Sponsor Hat Contest) with each idea cleverly feeding all media and social media requirements! Clearly the pre event organization and the commitment of a loyal and quality team helped make this the slick, professional event that it turned out to be.

“All the online postings on Facebook, also on Chronicle of the Horse, reveal clearly how happy the riders were. With facilities that are second to none, clinics and demos that were simply great, added to the generosity and interest of the host and hostess, So8ths event is an absolute must for any enthusiastic rider wanting to progress in the sport of Eventing.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for Kan Teq and I am so pleased to have had the time to meet riders, trainers, grooms and the wonderful organizing team. It is so valuable to me to be able to explain, fit and let the riders take and try out our innovative vest with no time pressure. Plus the relaxed evening activities made for the easy striking up of new friendships and because of that my social network just got a whole lot wider!  My thanks to everyone who not only gave me the opportunity to become a sponsor of this event but who helped me maximize my sponsorship.”

USEA also supported the event through their USEA Classic Series sponsor package.

A Final Heartfelt Thank You

Of special note was all the support given by Southern 8ths Farm owner Brad Turley and his girlfriend Pati Martin. They provided t-shirts to all the volunteers, fans to the competitors and gifts to the clinicians and officials.

Both Brad and Pati were extremely heartened by the sponsorship support. The Long Format is something Brad truly believes in and recognizing the amateur competitors has always been his personal goal.  “I was truly overwhelmed by the sponsorship we received for our amateur level competition. These competitors are the ones who deserve to be recognized. All of us at Southern 8ths Farm, from the staff and volunteers to the officials and clinicians and especially the competitors were and still are extremely appreciative of the support given by 21 well-known equine companies. We are all touched that these companies were willing to show their support to a host of riders who represent the foundation of the sport of Eventing. I personally want to say thank you to each and every sponsor that made this year’s So8ths/Nikon HOTC Three-Day such a success,” Brad commented.

Finally, it was Viele who echoed many of the words spoken by the competitors when she wrote this note to Brad and Pati: “You have built an amazing facility here: well thought out, outstanding footing for Dressage, beautiful tracks and grassy gallops, and challenging, interesting cross-country courses. I can’t imagine the countless hours and generous financial support it has taken for you to put this three-day on. But you have made this adult amateur’s dream come true.

“It’s been many years that I wanted to compete in a Long Format and finally doing it I’ve found the experience has exceeded my expectations. I’ve learned things about competing, about myself, about stable management. But most importantly I’ve been reminded about what a wonderful, enthusiastic and supportive community eventers are; from the staff, clinicians and volunteers, to my own friends and coach. The enthusiasm for the Long Format runs deep and I’m honored to have gotten to take a crack at it. Thank you for making it possible.”

For more information about this annual event and links to photos and videos, visit their web site at and be sure to “Like” them on their Facebook page.

To keep up with what is happening, visit these links:,;; for photos check out the 2013 folder at

Cross-Country Day at So8ths/Nikon HOTC Three-Day Event

Kathy Viele and Matariki. Photos by Diana De Rosa.

It was another exciting day at Southern 8ths Farm for the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas,” on Saturday, May 4.  Beginner Novice, Novice and Training level riders challenged a course designed by well-known course designer Tremaine Cooper and built by Tyson Rementer.

Leading the way in the Beginner Novice division after combining both their Dressage and Cross-Country scores were Kathy Viele and Matariki with their low score of 33.40. This was Kathy’s first time at Southern 8ths Farm and she was pleased. “This is one of the nicest venues. More people should know about this,” commented Kathy.  As a longtime Eventer, Kathy was also pleased with all that she learned from her fellow competitors.

Novice rider Sarah Zimmer and Mardi Gras held onto their lead claimed after the Dressage after negotiating and fault free Cross-Country (30.70).  After Sarah came off the course for the second year in a row her beaming smile was evident.  “I love the course,” she noted. “This event is so well organized.”

Sarah Zimmer and Mardi Gras
Sarah Zimmer and Mardi Gras

Taking over the lead in Beginner Novice was Sara Miles riding Misty’s RainDrop with her score of 37.80.

Once the riders took the time to ensure their horses were comfortable they started to prep for Sunday’s Show Jumping by walking the course with the course designer Marc Donovan.

That evening they enjoyed a barbeque filled with a variety of contests including a fun Nikon Photo Contest where competitors used Nikon consigned cameras to take pictures that had to include the words Nikon in the image.

There was also a special Sponsor Hat Contest where each person showcased one of the sponsors on their hats and enjoyed displaying their hats in a dancing parade.  Wendy McCaughan of Kanteq, one of the sponsors, was also a winner in the hat contest for her own sponsor hat creation.

The special event of the evening was the choosing of who would be the winner of the Volunteer Competitor Special Prize.  Those present were asked to put the name of volunteers they felt went above and beyond.  From those names Southern 8ths Farm owner Brad Turley held the bucket from which the final winner was pulled.  The camera was handed to a well-deserved Gay Glenn who was shocked but thrilled.

Sara Miles and Misty’s RainDrop
Sara Miles and Misty’s RainDrop

Sunday, May 5 is the final day of this year’s event. After Show Jumping the final winners will be named and be presented with a Nikon D3200 Camera Kit as well as numerous other sponsored gifts.

To keep up with what is happening, visit these links:,;; for photos check out the 2013 folder at

Dressage Riders Love So8ths/Nikon Long Format

Kaitlyn Mosing & Powerhound. Photos by Diana De Rosa.

On Friday, May 3, competitors in three different divisions rode Dressage tests in the beautifully manicured Southern 8ths arena for the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas.”  The riders, who traveled from several different states, seemed thrilled with the first day of the Long Format Event.

In essence the best Dressage scores set the tone for the remainder of the competition. If a horse and rider have a low score, and accrue no penalty points over the next two days, they come out on top.

First to go were the Training level riders.  Interestingly, these are the highest level riders at this event, which is geared for amateurs.  Coming in first place was Kaitlyn Mosing on her horse Powderhound with a score of 31.4. Second were Kathy Viele and Matariki.

Kaitlyn has been competing about 12 years, but she’s had this horse only a few months. Since Kaitlyn had never done a three-day competition, she thinks this will be a good bonding experience for her and her horse. This is their third Dressage competition, and she was pleased with her win.

She especially appreciated the perspective from the officials. “Everyone here is so welcoming and so eager to help you. It’s a great facility, and I’d recommend it to anybody.”  She’d like to return next year.

Sarah Zimmer & Mardi Gras
Sarah Zimmer & Mardi Gras

Sarah Zimmer and Mardi Gras won the Novice division. In Eventing, the scores represent penalty points, so the lowest score wins.  On the second and third day, penalties are assessed for mistakes on the cross country and show jumping rounds.  Again, low penalties — or none — are the goal of every rider.

Despite her horse being a little wound up, he delivered a stellar performance, Sarah said.  They actually had the best score of the day, 30.7. “I love the Long Format. I wish there were more of them. It’s like a whole different sport; it adds a lot and it’s more fun.” This is the only place where professionals come together and help the amateurs, she added. This is her second year at Southern 8ths and she thought the competition was great.  Finishing just behind her were Samantha Hay and Tre Jolie.

The Beginner Novice division is for horses and riders who are just starting their careers in Eventing.  Taylor Pence and her lovely mare Goldie put in a solid ride with a score of 32.8.

Taylor Pence & Goldie
Taylor Pence & Goldie

Taylor loved the judges’ advice and heeded it.  Goldie knows the difference between a schooling session and the show ring, and Taylor actually has to work a little harder in the ring because Goldie gets lazy there. The pair has been in five or six events. “It felt great to win, especially at an event of this stature.”

Two judges score each ride and combine their points for the final score.  Only .2 point separated the top riders in this division, with Carol Mahoney and Mercury Rising coming in second.

On Saturday the event continues with Roads & Tracks, Steeplechase, and Cross Country.

By Marsha Hewitt

Contact 516-848-4867,

Educational Day at Southern 8ths Long Format Breathes New Life into an Old Classic

James Baker & Wings. All photos by Diana De Rosa.

So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event Off to a Great Start

What a brilliant first day! The annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event held at Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, SC keeps setting new standards. This year the educational day on May 2 garnered rave reviews from competitors and officials.

“I loved it!” exclaimed Sue Smithson, president of the ground jury. “You now have so much education here with the Long Format that everyone should do it.”

Thursday’s topics included vet inspections, figuring times for Roads and Tracks, and a clinic to let riders know what the judge is looking for in the Dressage segment.

“We’re judging the forest, not the trees.” Smithson explained her expectations for Dressage. “Ride the horse, then ride the test and get the most out of your horse.” She explained that many people concentrate on the test rather than the horse.

Brad Turley, Holly Hudspeth, Tremaine Cooper, & Lauren O'Brien
Brad Turley, Holly Hudspeth, Tremaine Cooper, & Lauren O’Brien

Brad Turley, the owner of Southern 8ths Farm and organizer of the event, has a passion for classic eventing. “Few people compete in the Long Format anymore, because it requires a lot more preparation for horse and rider, it’s time consuming, and it’s tougher,” he said.

In addition to Dressage, Cross-Country and Show Jumping, the Long Format includes a Roads and Tracks portion that stresses endurance and fitness.  It adds miles and another competition to the already challenging cross country day.

Sara Baker, a young competitor from Southern Pines, grew up watching her mother compete in the Long Format. “It’s great to do the classic eventing,” she said. “I wish I had had this instruction before my first Three Day.” Her lovely gelding is named Poetic Justice.

Sara and her dad, James Baker, are both riding Training level. Interestingly, James came to the Heart of the Carolinas first Three Day competition three years ago and competed in Beginner Novice. The next year he rode his horse, Wings, in the Novice division. Now the same horse and rider combination are up to Training Level.

Jim’s wife will be joining them on Friday as groom and ground man.

Tremaine, Cooper, Holly Hudspeth, & Lauren O'Brien
Tremaine Cooper, Holly Hudspeth, & Lauren O’Brien

Officials and Pan American Games veterans Holly Hudspeth and Lauren O’Brien supervised the horse inspection on Thursday afternoon. They also did an informative clinic on how to present horses properly for the jog. Later, course designer Tremaine Cooper explained how to figure times for roads and tracks.

Sponsors came from as far away as Ireland. Wendy McCaughan of County Down is a representative for Kan Teq, a manufacturer of safety vests and body support. “I’ve been struck by the care and interest of the trainers, who were generous with their advice.”

Coming from the Four-Star Rolex Three-Day in Kentucky last weekend, she paid the farm a huge compliment. “The facilities are outstanding and this promises to be a super event.  It’s a grand follow-up to the Rolex.”

For photos and videos of this event, go to

Written by Marsha Hewitt.

Come to South Carolina for 3 Days of Fun

So8ths/Nikon HOTC Three-Day Invites Spectators

Make Your Reservations Now: May 3-5

April 19 — CHESTERFIELD, SC — For a fun outdoor weekend, it’s hard to beat watching great horses and riders compete in a beautiful setting. Like the famous Carolina Cup, the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas” offers spectators a chance to see top-notch horses in thrilling competition.

But Southern 8ths offers several things not available at The Cup:  spectators can get a lot closer to the horses, stroll around the beautiful grounds, mingle with the riders afterwards, and… it’s free!  The format is different too — since riders compete one after another, there’s very little down time. Competition is spread over three days — May 3, 4, and 5 — so folks can choose which day they want to come.

On Friday the riders will compete in Dressage, a classical form of riding that is akin to ballet on horseback.

Medlin-Watch-Me-NowSaturday will see the most action, with an endurance phase which tests the horses’ fitness, and then a series of challenging cross-country obstacles. One of the most beautiful — and exciting — is a series of jumps at the water obstacle.  Horses actually jump into a lovely pond, canter through the water, and jump out on the other side.  A series of banks and drop jumps are also thrilling to watch.

On Sunday the horses put in a round of Show Jumping, with the jumps varying in height depending on the division.  At the end of all three phases, the scores are tallied and the winners announced.

Farm owner Brad Turley is hosting the third annual So8ths/Nikon HOTC Three-Day at his Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, SC. Brad moved from Connecticut several years ago in search of warm winters, and he liked the area so much that he designed his farm around his love of competition. Specifically, he promotes the Long Format in Eventing.

“Few people compete in the Long Format anymore, because it requires a lot more preparation for horse and rider, it’s time consuming, and it’s tougher,” he said. The Long Format includes a Roads & Tracks portion that stresses endurance and fitness.  It adds miles and another phase to the already challenging cross-country day. The jumps are all different, all challenging, and all thrilling. Horses jump not at a sedate canter, but at a full gallop. Every second counts!

Blackmon-TullyCrossPrescottThe farm, located on the South Carolina/North Carolina border, is beautifully designed. The rolling hills offer a great view, and spectators can watch Dressage and the always exciting Show Jumping from a prime location. Strategically placed around the farm are a number of unusual wood carvings. Originally designed as jumps, they are stunning works of art.

This unique competition attracts top amateur riders from up and down the East coast.  Food is available on site, but spectators should bring chairs. There is still time to volunteer for behind the scenes action, too. For more information, visit or call 843-623-5005.

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Watch an Action-Packed Behind-the-Scenes So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Video on YouTube

The third annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas” takes place May 2-5 in Chesterfield, SC. Now’s your chance to see what this event is all about by reliving all the action thanks to a creative video produced by nFocus Pictures and visible on Southern 8ths’ YouTube channel.

This video showcases Long Format Eventing at the amateur level but with the aplomb of a professional level event.  If you are a horse lover, have a passion for Eventing or are simply curious to peek behind-the-scenes at the 2012 So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event then settle into your seats and fasten your seatbelts for  an amazing 4-minute ride by going to

You’ll get a chance to watch not just the competition but see who is teaching the educational clinics and how up close and personal the competitors are with the clinicians. These clinics are taught by some of the top horsemen in the Eventing community. Well-known riders and trainers Charlie Plumb, Will Faudree, Holly Hudspeth, Rebecca Howard and Susan Beebee are joined by “R” Dressage judge Sue Simpson and FEI course designer Tremaine Cooper educating the competitors on all aspects of the Long Format. FEI veterinarian Dr. Debbie Williamson and local vet Dr. Marsha Severt ensure the horses are fit to compete. Groom Natalie Varcoe Cox covers caring for the horses. Marc Donovan walks his show jumping course with the competitors.

Continue reading Watch an Action-Packed Behind-the-Scenes So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Video on YouTube

Sponsorships Available for the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event

Reach and Support the Amateur Eventers – May 2-5, 2013

Elliott Blackmon rode Tully Cross Prescott to win the Novice Three-Day division at the 2012 So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event. ©Diana De Rosa Photo

Chesterfield, SC — October 4, 2012 — Southern 8ths Farm has announced its sponsorship opportunities for the 2013 So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event. Here’s your chance to have your business or service claim an “Official” sponsorship while at the same time reaching those people who represent a majority of the sport’s participants.

This will be the third annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the “Heart of the Carolinas,” Chesterfield, SC.  This three-day event is where Beginner Novice, Novice and Training level riders can negotiate their ultimate Long Format test in a USEA recognized T3D, N3D and BN3D event.

When Brad Turley, owner of Southern 8ths Farm, endeavored into building his place, his goal was to create a premier horse park for Amateur Eventers. While Amateur riders are the nucleus, Professionals have also discovered this is the perfect place to train their up-and-coming horses at a facility that offers lower level options at a high quality venue. And Young Riders, as the future of the sport, are always welcome.

Continue reading Sponsorships Available for the So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event

So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the Heart of the Carolinas Ends with Thunderous Praise

Bonnie Mosser & Isbond. Photos by Diana De Rosa

The second annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the Heart of the Carolinas took place May 3-6 at Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, SC.  Riders, grooms, officials, spectators and guests were clearly impressed by the facilities, the show grounds, the social functions and the quality of clinicians who came to educate participants about the finer points of Long Format competition.

The event drew 38 competitors from beginner to Olympic level, with the more experienced riders using the weekend to give their lower-level horses mileage.  International four-star competitor Bonnie Mosser of Davidson, NC, who has competed numerous times at the prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, won the Training division aboard Isbond with 31.60 penalty points.  Risa Moon of Gray, ME, was second on Lily B (37.10), and British rider Lindsay Staiano Williams of Marshville, NC, finished third with Triumph II (39.20).  Risa and her husband, Richard Moon, shared the Best Turnout Award for the Training division.

Continue reading So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event in the Heart of the Carolinas Ends with Thunderous Praise