Local Showjumping Event to Benefit Zoology Foundation 

On September 8, Crooked Willow Farms will play host to an event for skilled horseback riders in the region. Working in conjunction with the Zoology Foundation, event proceeds will go to supporting the health and well-being of animals and animal education programs that the Zoology Foundation provides.

Participating riders have a chance to win large prize purses and spectators will be able to enjoy the impressive show as well. The event will be fun for the whole family, preceded by a Community Festival that includes crafts and activities, Animal Sanctuary tours, and a barn dance for all those in attendance. Food and beer will also be served.  

The Zoology Foundation would like to thank their Title Sponsor, Kathy & Brad Coors Foundation for their huge contribution to this event.

Full Event Schedule: 
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Community Festival and Sanctuary Tours (free grounds entry)
2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Jumping Event and Calcutta (ticket required)
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Barn Dance for all attendees (free to all ticket holders)

Family-Friendly Festival Activities: 
Animal Sanctuary Tours (half price)
Pumpkin Painting
Kids' Crafts with Home Depot
Kids' Carnival Games 
Booths for Crafts, Activities and Local Businesses 
Food Trucks, Coors Beer, and more!

Tickets are $15 for General Admission and $100 for VIP

Here in Colorado, some may think of roping, barrel racing, or other Western-style when they hear of a horse show, but this style of riding is known as English style. More formal than the Western saddle, the showjumping is more about precision and style as well as timing. Showjumping judges, in this style of riding, are focused on the horse's ability to clear a series of fences.

Larkspur Showjumping Competitor - Audrey Norrell 

Audrey Norrell, Instagram

Our Community Now was able to visit with competitive showjumper and Crooked Willow Invitational organizer, Audrey Norrell, to get some insight on Show Jumping and equestrian sports.

OCN: How long have you been riding horses and when did you begin to ride competitively?

AN: Both of my parents enjoy riding, so I was born into it. I’ve been competing in competitive showjumping events for about five years now.

OCN: Which rider do you admire the most?

AN: There are many top riders and horsemen that I admire. Laura Kraut, McLain Ward, Mandy Porter, and Marcus Ehning are a few of the greats.

OCN: How has riding and the upkeep of horses shaped your work ethic? 

AN: Horse care is definitely not a 9-5 job, you’re pretty much on the clock 24/7. You will be hard-pressed to find a horseman without a great work ethic, it goes hand-in-hand.

OCN: What do you wish more people knew about equine sports?

AN: [I wish more people knew that] the sport of showjumping is highly regarded and has a huge fan base in most European countries and I would love to see that happen in the United States.

OCN: Where do you see your equestrian career taking you?

AN: I aspire to one day represent the United States at the International Level, but no matter what I will have a career doing what I love surrounded by wonderful animals.

OCN: What has riding horses taught you about yourself?

AN: Horses have taught me a lot about both patience and humbleness.

OCN: If your horse could talk, what would it say?

AN: All the horses I’m lucky enough to work with [would tell me that they’re] quite the individualists.

OCN: What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from working with horses?

AN: Horses tend to teach you something new every day if you’re listening. My biggest takeaway thus far from working with horses has been that every action has a consequence. Everything you do with a horse is training or un-training. Same applies to most things in life, actions are either positive or negative.

OCN: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from other experienced riders?

AN: “Comparison is a thief of joy, don’t let it steal from you,” “Be the best you can be and it will be good enough,” and “Do it for the horses and the results will follow.”

OCN: How do you mentally prepare for a competition?

AN: As I compete on a more regular basis, I’m figuring out some ways to better prepare myself for the show ring. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few sports psychologists that have given me some insight on how to handle nerves, which really helps and a good night’s sleep goes a long way.

OCN: What would you tell parents who are on the fence about letting their kids ride horses competitively?

AN: Horses teach kids about compassion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and so much more. I’m so thankful that my parents allowed me to grow up as a “barn rat” and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!

OCN: Show jumping courses look so confusing! How do you memorize all those jumps?

AN: They can look intimidating when you first see them. Luckily we are allowed an allotted time before the competition starts to walk the course, which lets us get familiar with the placement and numbering of the fences on the course.

OCN: When someone says equestrianism isn’t a sport, how do you respond?

AN: “The horses do all the work” is a sentence that just about any horseback rider has heard at some point. Showjumping is an Olympic-caliber sport that requires tremendous amounts of strength, skill, and balance. Renowned NFL quarterback, Joe Montana, took up horseback riding after retiring and was once quoted saying, “I thought it was amazing how athletic these animals are. If they were wide receivers, they would be tough to stop.”

Click here for more information on the Crooked Willow Invitational and to learn how you can support the Zoology Foundation.

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