In the past five years, Over the Walls Horse Trials at Great Meadowbrook Farm has become one of the premier horse trials in the world. However, due to increasing costs and a lack of adequate sponsorship, Erik Fleming and Torrance Watkins have decided to cancel their event. “It’s a bittersweet decision as we have loved working with the finest people to create the finest event for the finest horses,” said Watkins.
In its five years of running, Over the Walls has attracted national and international competitors of the highest caliber. Olympic team members from several countries have competed at Over The Walls. Last year it became a CIC*** World Cup qualifier and in the last three years Over The Walls has hosted the Jack Le Goff Trophy for the National Advanced Championship. Over The Walls was so well regarded that both the Canadian and U.S. Equestrian Teams have used the event as a selection trials for the Olympic and World Equestrian Games.
“Torrance’s primary goal was to create a course that was demanding of the riders and, most importantly, safe for the horses. Drawing from her experience as a competitor, she also wanted an event that was fun for the competitors and enjoyable to the thousands of spectators who have attended the event over the years,” Fleming said.
In 1995, Watkins and Fleming moved to the rural Central Massachusetts town of Hardwick, a pastoral community 20 miles northwest of Worcester, whose history dates to before the American Revolution. The couple bought an 18th-century house set on 104 acres, a mile from the town common. They later purchased an adjacent 97 acres and named the combined properties Morningfield Farm.
Fleming continued, “Torrance and I have decided to focus our energies and resources on a quality training facility here at Morningfield Farm using Great Meadowbrook as a schooling site. We are looking forward to building a barn and an indoor on the farm where we live, as this will allow us to have more horses and students in training.”
As an Olympic Gold Medalist, Torrance has established herself as one of the premier three-day event riders in the world. In 2003 she was the first woman inducted into the Eventing Hall of Fame.
Watkins may be contacted through Morningfield Farm, PO Box 308, Hardwick, MA 01037, Tel. (413) 477-0041, Fax. (413) 477-0042. Or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.