More than 300 riders and their horses from throughout the state, and as far north as Canada, are gathering this weekend for the annual CIC & Horse Trials at the Fresno County Horse Park in northwest Fresno.
The three-day international competition will take place at the horse park just east of Highway 99 on the south side of the San Joaquin River. Dressage was on the schedule for Friday, with riders competing in show jumping and cross country Saturday and Sunday.
The field of riders includes Hawley Bennett-Awad, who was a part of a Canada equestrian team in eventing at the 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics. She also was on the eventing team that won silver at the 2011 Pan American Games.
On Saturday, British rider Rodney Powell led a panel that also included Woodlake native and Olympic rider Lauren Billys, who competed for Puerto Rico at the 2016 Summer Games. Powell is the 1991 winner of the Badminton Horse Trials, one of the most prestigious eventing competitions in the world.
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Fresno County Horse Park, formerly known as Ram Tap, is celebrating its 60th anniversary and is billed as the second-oldest continuously operating three-day eventing facility in the country.
In its six decades, Ram Tap and now Fresno County Horse Park has never lost an event to rain, event director John Marshall said. That continued Friday, even while high school soccer playoff matches and a Fresno State baseball game were among events postponed.
“We had to adjust a little but we’re still riding,” Marshall said after Friday’s dressage events. “As long as it’s not raining cats and dogs, we’ll be OK. We’ve done a lot of things to make it better and improve the experience for the rider and spectators.”
The Fresno County Horse Trials is the first, and largest, of four three-day eventing competitions at the Fresno County Horse Park every year.
Admission and parking are free. Children and leashed dogs are welcome.