Back in the Field


It’s been an unusual spring season for our crew as we’ve spent most of the time at home in our workshop instead of traveling to the usual lineup of spring competitions thanks to the COVID-19 shutdowns. Things are gradually opening up again and Plantation Field Horse Trials is taking place this weekend in Unionville, PA, so we’ll see what the summer brings. While it’s been a different schedule, it hasn’t been a slow one: lots of people have taken this opportunity to improve their schooling courses at home, so we’ve been building a lot of portable fences to ship out. We also built the first six tables funded by the Frangible Fences grant, and we’ll have more to build coming up.

Another project that we took on during the shutdown was constructing a conditioning pool at Boyd and Silva Martin’s farm, Windurra USA, in Cochranville, PA. Boyd had been trailering horses to a facility with an Aquatread and wanted to have an alternative at home. This was a cost effective solution that allows him to condition horses under saddle or without a rider, and the water level is adjustable depending on what they want to do with the horses.  It’s basically a round pen with a reinforced bank around the sides, lined and with footing like a water jump. There’s a water source to fill it up and a drain to reduce the water level. I’ve seen variations on this over the years, but this one was built to Boyd’s specifications.

We’re working on a few courses including an exciting new venue in Florida called Terranova. We are still at work in the shop too so if you’re interested in portable cross country fences or show jumps, place your orders and we’ll get right to work.

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2020 Wellington Eventing Showcase

Once again ETB built the cross country course for the $50,000 MARS Wellington Eventing Showcase, and this year’s competition was a smashing success! The weather was beautiful, the course was beautiful, there was a great turnout and it was an exciting competition, with Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous claiming victory this year.

Thanks to Eventing Nation, here’s a virtual tour of the course:


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Builder Wanted at ETB Equine Construction

Help wanted: Cross country jump builder to work with ETB Equine Construction, builders of the 2018 World Equestrian Games cross country and driving courses in Tryon, NC, the 2013 Pan Am Games cross country course in Toronto, and Fair Hill International. Home base is at our workshop in Scottsville, VA but lots of travel is involved, to competition sites, private farms and more. Basic carpentry skills required, but will train the right individual. Horse experience is a bonus but not a must. You will work long days, often in the outdoors/weather, with a great team of people. The job pays $200-$300/day (health insurance can be included if desired). Housing/car available in Scottsville if needed, and accommodations will be provided when traveling.

Contact Eric for more information: or 860-930-3688 (phone, text or Whatsapp)

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Spring 2019 with ETB: Looking Back at The Fork and Fair Hill

We’ve had a busy spring with The Fork and Fair Hill as highlights. Next on the calendar is the Arena Eventing at the Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania. If you’re in the area come on out, it’s always a fun and lively event.

Fair Hill was a bit wild and crazy this year! There were storms predicted for the whole weekend; we woke up Saturday and thought we must have missed it, but it started raining an hour later and was complete mayhem all day, weather-wise. The water jumps filled up quickly: they have 8” drain pipes, which were pushed to the maximum. Those water jumps are both in the bottom of valleys, and the top one drains into the lower one. The water was nearly over the backs of the duck jumps, so we took it off the four-star course. The riders were in the warm-up and ready to go when the weather situation changed, so we couldn’t send them back to the barns – so we took the water jumps off that course and got the situation under control for the three-star. We had trucks to pump the excess water out, since the drains couldn’t keep up.  That was an exciting day of cross country. If you have a look at Amy Dragoo’s photos, the rain was really something to behold.

The Fork was pretty tame in comparison. I think what we’ve learned there is that everybody wants to run cross-country on the golf course, so we’re moving all the levels down there. The Derby Field is smaller now anyway, since the big stadium was built. Eventually the polo field will provide more grass up top, and some of the lower levels might move back up there again, but for now the golf course is a better location for cross country. We’re going to fill in some of the ‘rough’ areas with footing before the fall horse trials to expand the galloping lanes. TIEC has hosted many events in the past few years, but this will be the first horse trials, from BN-Advanced, run by the venue itself. Some of the WEG course will be suitable for that event too, since it was a 3* (current 4*) course, equivalent to advanced level. There’s some great stuff to play with: the boats, the cart, the animals, it’s all still there. Competitors can look forward to a really first-rate cross-country experience.

We just spent a few days at Boyd Martin’s farm in Pennsylvania digging a couple of ditches and three new trakehners, relocating a small ditch and builing some new log fences. We built what we’ve called a “dry coffin”, or a coffin without a ditch, for schooling purposes. It’s pretty much a swale, or two mounds on either side, next to a real coffin so the horses get the feeling of going down into a “hole” without having to deal with the ditch at the bottom. It really doesn’t matter how small the ditch is, if the horse doesn’t want to jump it, it’s a big problem, so the easiest way to introduce it is without the ditch – we built one on the schooling course at Stable View and now we’re adding the same at Boyd’s place in Pennsylvania. His farm is looking great: a lot of stuff has been painted and he’s opening the new water complex soon. The quarry mound is also green and will be open soon.

Spring is a great time to focus on improving your footing and adding to your schooling fences at home. Drop us a line to order pre-made portables or custom cross country and show jumps. We’re always happy to answer your questions and discuss the best solutions for your schooling and competition needs.

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ETB Equine Construction Will Once Again Build Course for Arena Eventing at Devon

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
561-753-3389 |
$50,000 Arena Eventing Class Continues New Tradition at Devon Horse Show
Devon, Pa. – May 7, 2019 – The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is excited to be offering the $50,000 Arena Eventing Class once again. The event, which is presented by Anonymous, Douglas and Cynthia Howe, Salt Works and Malvern Bank, will return for its third year after immense success during its first two years.

This year’s class will take place on Sunday, May 26, at 7 p.m. It will focus on highlighting two out of three components of the classic three-day eventing format which showcases dressage, show jumping, and cross country. In order to qualify for this unique opportunity, riders must have attained a qualifying score in a CCI*** event or be competing at 1.40m in show jumping.

Last year’s winner of the $50,000 Devon Arena Eventing class was Chris Talley and Sandro’s Star. The winner expressed his praise for the well-designed courses and the effort that goes into putting on such an event.

“I think they [the course designers] did a wonderful job designing the courses and it challenged the horses but also rewarded them,” said Talley. “I will be coming back [to Devon Arena Eventing]. I think Devon is such a big horse show for this area and the country in general. People all over the country talk about it and I grew up thirty-five minutes away in Honeybrook, Pennsylvania, so it’s always been sort of a hometown show,” he continued.

Chris Talley and Sandro’s Star

The course will again be designed by Olympic gold medalist Captain Mark Phillips, former coach of the U.S. Eventing Team, and will consist of a combination of cross-country and show jumping obstacles in the iconic Dixon Oval and the Wheeler Ring to highlight the best of the eventing discipline. Forty riders will try their hands over the challenging track.

“I think that they have a really good format at Devon, where they have the first round against the time and then they take all the clears and the best twelve through to the second round against the clock. I think it works really well from a horse and rider’s point of view in terms of the fact that they are not going too fast the first time around,” Phillips said. “In the second time around, you’ve got the best horses and riders. That is what makes Arena Eventing so exciting.”

“Arena Eventing fits in well at Devon. The advantage that Devon has is the use of the two arenas. You have more scope there to do more interesting things on the course than you do at [venues that have] a much smaller arena, like in Toronto or New York,” Phillips expressed.

Out of the 25 total jumps, horse and rider pairs will have to navigate 15 standard cross country jumps and 10 show jumps over a 1,000 meter course. Obstacles will be 1.20m in height, and brush fences will be built up to 1.40m and spreads up to 1.60m. Fault penalties will be given for any knockdowns and exceeding the course time limit. Prize money for competitors will be awarded up to 10th place and there is no entry fee.

In addition to the support of Captain Mark Phillips, riders of both disciplines have embraced Devon’s Arena Eventing. Some of these prolific riders include the current coach of the U.S. eventing team, David O’ Connor, Rio Olympians Phillips Dutton and Boyd Martin, and Irish international show jumper Kevin Babington.

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is the longest running and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. With the grandeur of Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line setting the stage, the event features a world-class field that annually ranks among the most prominent internationally.

The event also includes the Country Fair that offers world-class shopping, rides and games for kids, multiple dining options and special entertainment events. For reserved seating to experience arena eventing, please call the Devon Horse Show at 610-688-2554 or email
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Video: New Schooling Course Open at Stable View

We are thrilled that the new Boyd Martin/ETB Schooling Cross Country Course at Stable View is now open! Boyd took a group of horses out over the weekend, and here’s a video of 5* rider Lillian Heard schooling today:

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Winter Catch-Up with ETB


The “Soft opening” for the new schooling course at Stable View was Friday.  We have been taking it a bit slow with opening this course to make sure the footing holds up, because there’s only one growing season on most of the footing. The ground is sewn with “Celebration” Bermuda grass, which knits together better than the standard variety. Bermuda is sort of a ground creeper but it doesn’t get tight roots – it’s a rhizome and sort of runs along the ground. This puts down more roots and gets thicker. You can tell the difference when you walk across the new grass, even with your eyes closed; it’s remarkably cushier and thicker than the previously existing turf.

A lot of people schooled the first day it was open. Aiken has lots of offerings for schooling, but not all designed for upper levels horses. This is a hard training and above.


We have also been working on the course for the Eventing Grand Prix at Bruce’s Field.  I met with course designer Mark Phillips there last Tuesday and he laid out his track, and we brought down the second tractor trailer of jumps. All the jumps are local Aiken landmarks: the old Post Office, the Wilcox Hotel, St. Mary’s Church. There’s an owl hole, which is their logo, a fox squirrel – it’s a type of squirrel – and a Revolutionary War cannon, the passenger platform for the original train station, the Palmetto Golf Clubhouse, and we’re still trying to work out how to do a nuclear jump, since the Savannah River Plant is a big part of Aiken history. It’s really just a rolltop that we’ll dress up, maybe like a rocket or something.

The painters that we worked with for the WEG are at Bruce’s Field now, just getting started, so we know those jumps are going to look really beautiful.


On my way home to Virginia I stopped at the Tryon International Equestrian Center to do some planning for The Fork Three-Day Event, coming up in April. This year’s Fork will look a lot like the World Equestrian Games course, it’s on the same track and uses a lot of the same jumps. We also built a lot of 2* jumps that were used as options at the WEG.

So to clarify, since the levels can be confusing, much of the 4* (old 3* level) will run on the WEG track with many of the same fences, in similar combinations, appropriate for that level; the 3* (old 2*) will run next to that, and many of those fences were built as options for WEG and will have a similar look and feel. There will also be a 2* (old one*) course. We have to build ditches for the 2* and 3* and make a few minor modifications. The TIEC side (as opposed to the golf course side of the facilities) will be BN through Modified. There is no one-star, so Modified isn’t running under FEI rules.

There’s really not much for us to do: they have fantastic grass footing, and a massive inventory of good fences. There’s not a jump there that’s more than three years old, and we have BN through Advanced portables plus the WEG course, so you can easily build out really good courses without doing a ton of work this year.

I’m home in Virginia for the next couple of weeks, doing some building in the shop. We have a couple schooling things to build and we have a few things to finish for Bruce’s Field and Stable View’s new Modified course, which will be used starting in March for their mid-week events.




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New Water Complex at Windurra

Our latest project at Boyd and Silva Martin’s Windurra in Cochranville, PA is a big, cool water complex. It’s really been a luxury to build it because we flagged what we wanted in the field, then cut into the ground, then ordered the liner to fit that. Normally you work it out on paper and then order the liner, and then you’re less flexible in changing the design. This approach gave us the opportunity to make some changes during the digging process. It’s a big complex: there are mounds, drops, a sort of sheer wall face that’s like something he saw in France, a couple steep slopes, a couple soft slopes. I think it’s around 200 feet from its longest point, but it’s rambling – it’s not a 200’ square box or circle. It’s quite cool.

We also finished the big mound we’ve been working on for the past couple years. Boyd has been getting dirt hauled in for a couple years and it is a MASSIVE pile of dirt. A local excavator did a lot of the initial work, and also helped us with some other things on course like the initial cutting of the water jump. When our crew had some extra time before the Fair Hill International started we were able to get over there and finish up the project.

Boyd says he’s done with the course now, but we’ll see about that – I’d say he’s a full-blown addict! He’s seeing events from all over the world and trying to take that and reinvent it as a useful schooling package. I think he said he had 170 jumps and we delivered more than ten this fall, so he’s up to nearly 200 jumps. That’s on par with any facilities: Tryon, Stable View…that’s a lot of jumps. Boyd’s fun to work for and knows what he wants, and his course is always interesting and always new, and it’s fun to work for someone whose focus is always on quality, not scrimping.

The course is a great model, and in watching it develop we see the traffic coming in, from kids on ponies to four-star riders, and that really encouraged us to do the new schooling course at Stable View in Aiken. It’s a good business model. Note that the Windurra course is closed for the winter, but if you’re planning to head south for the winter, be sure to check out the new schooling field at Stable View when it opens.




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ETB Equine Construction Fall Schedule


Last week during a break from the preparation for Fair Hill International, we finished building a monster-sized mound complex for Boyd Martin, which we’ve probably been working on for a year and a half, and started a new water complex that will probably be finished this spring. The schooling course at Windurra is really second to none: it has already become a prime destination for eventers and Boyd is adding to it all the time.

Next we’ll go to Bruce’s Field in Aiken the first week of November to do the water and banks for their Eventing Showcase, (20 fences over 2,000 meters with three-star questions, plus dressage and a show jumping round), which will be held the same weekend as Sporting Days in Aiken Horse Trials in early in March. At Bruce’s Field we’ll be building jumps to reflect iconic Aiken landmarks, and it’s running on a schedule that will complement Sporting Days so people can compete in the horse trials and watch the showcase. If you’re going to spend a weekend in Aiken, that’s the weekend to go! You can ride your low-level horse and still watch upper-level sport. That’s also a pretty time of year to go to Aiken.

After that we’ll be hard at work building the new ETB/Boyd Martin course at Stable View.

The Eventing Showcase in Wellington is also on the calendar for this winter; when we cleaned up after the WEG we put some jumps in a pile of stuff that will be heading to Wellington.

We’ve got Full Moon Farm Horse Trials, near Baltimore, in three weeks; we built a sunken road there in early spring, and put it where the land fit a sunken road, but we need to move some other things around to work the new feature into the course, which will make it a significantly different track. It’s a fun farm, owned by four-star rider Woodge Fulton’s family. They’re a great family and she’s worked seriously hard to make it as an upper-level rider.

As usual when we are not on the road we are hard at work in our shop in Virginia. If you’re thinking about ordering portable cross country jumps or a new set of show jumps, get your orders in – they make great holiday gifts!



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Upcoming Boyd Martin/ETB Jump Schooling Cross Country Course at Stable View Aiken


We have an exciting project in the works: a new schooling cross country course at Stable View Farm in Aiken. I’m building it, Boyd is designing it and it’s on Stable View property – it’ll be open for schooling on January first. It will have an emphasis on high performance, with a big water complex and a lot of the stuff people like at Boyd’s place in Pennsylvania: the corners, the brush, all the things people really appreciate about schooling at Windurra.

It’ll also have the advantage, also like Windurra, that Boyd moves things around often, which people really like if they go back often. That’s really what portables are for really, to move around and do different things with them. Too many schooling courses get stuck in one spot, but he’s good about moving things around and creating different, modern questions. The course will include lower level jumps as well, but its emphasis in its first build will be on high performance and then we will build out the lower levels.

The existing courses at Stable View are only open for schooling the day after events, for volunteers, so that is very limited; this is a new concept for them. The footing is excellent, with a sandy base and established Bermuda grass that is watered with irrigation guns every day. The course features water, a sunken road, numerous ditches and a couple trailer loads of portables: corners, triple brushes, tables, offset brushes, cabins to make combinations with. I wouldn’t call it generic, but it will consist of pretty simple, straightforward jumps.

Stable View is providing the land but I’m funding the jumps, which will all be for sale – if you want to buy one and take it home, we’ll just ship more down there after you throw it on a truck! We also offer delivery to your farm. It’s sort of a new concept and one that I think will benefit everyone.


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