Mar 05, 2022

A Member of the Family: Meet Nemesis the 2021 USEA 7-Year-Old Intermediate Leaderboard Champion

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
Sherry Stewart Photo

When James and Helen Alliston saw the chestnut Canadian Warmblood yearling Nemesis (Novalis 46 x Maesy) online, they decided to take a bit of a gamble and purchase the young horse sight unseen from his breeder Danielle Burgess in Kamloops, British Columbia. They never imagined that their calculated risk would pay off when several years later Nemesis would be named the 2021 USEA 7-Year-Old Intermediate Leaderboard Champion.

“I saw him on the internet and he looked to have nice breeding for eventing, his mother was a Thoroughbred and his dad was a showjumper. He was in Kamloops in British Columbia, so not necessarily a big eventing area but I spoke to the girl that bred him and she said that the mare had bred some other nice horses. I liked the look of him and he was a nice mover,” James reflected.

Alison Green for Shannon Brinkman photo.

Of course, buying such a young horse comes associated with a bit of risk seeing as you cannot try the horse under saddle. But, James had an idea that the young gelding could be something special in time. “When they are unbroke yearlings all you are really looking at are the legs and how they move. You go with what mother and father have done and if the mother has produced nice horses, I think that is really key for me. I have bought quite a few young horses over the years and I think if the mother is a proven producer it really takes the risk out of the young horse being nice, even more so if the mother has performed for me.”

The Alliston’s took their time with Nemesis as a young horse, chipping away at his training bit by bit. When he was 3, Helen brought him in from the herd of young horses the couple keeps at their farm to be broken and James was a bit cautious about the prospect at first.

“I would say he was fairly sharp to break initially, it definitely wasn’t easy. My wife did it and I was a little bit nervous for her initially when she got on him,” said James. “Obviously that isn’t a reflection of how he is to ride now because he is very, very easy. He has a good mind and is quiet, but the first time someone got on him he was not sure of that, that is for sure.”

Luckily, Nemesis seemed to settle into his new career as an event horse and an easier, kinder personality began to emerge. The more they worked with him, the more they found to like about him. The Thoroughbred blood on his mother’s side gave him a natural run to him, making the fitness work easy, and he quickly became quite keen on his new job, showing off a sense of bravery and carefulness, although he has a bit of his own style over the fences.

“When we were sort of assessing him I always thought he was quite a clever horse with really good jumping instincts, but he does have a sort of looser forearm when he jumps,” shared James. “But, actually as the jumps get bigger, he gets sharper. He is careful, he doesn’t want to touch the jump, it’s just the way he does it. I saw a video of his dad actually and he kind of jumps like that as well. “

Once settled into his work, Nemesis’ easy-going personality worked in his favor in the show ring. James describes him as a quick learner, which is apparent from his show record. The rising 8-year-old has never had a cross-country jump penalty and sports just two rails out of 14 outings in his career. After getting his start in 2019 at the Training level, Nemesis won his Preliminary debut at Twin Rivers in July of 2020, one of five first-place finishes on his record. In fact, the horse has only ever finished outside of the top five once in his entire career. Upon moving up to the Intermediate level in 2021, Nemesis showed off just how good he is at his job by winning the division on his dressage score.

Sherry Stewart photo.


“We have had him for a long time so we know him very well,” commented James. “He has done a lot as a 7-year-old but that is because with him everything is so straightforward and it is a testament to his mind really. He was a quick learner and we never had to work him very hard, he seemed to learn things very easily and to understand the different phases quite well.”

The Alliston’s were so fond of Nemesis that when the opportunity to buy a horse related to him came available they jumped on it. “Obviously Nemesis was nice so I actually bought another, Flinterro Z, who is a year younger so we have him too. Hopefully, we will see what he does this year but he looks like a nice horse as well.”

In 2021, Nemesis had four Intermediate outings before stepping up to the three-star level. The gelding was first at his first CCI3*-L at Rebecca Farm in July of 2021, followed by a first-place finish in the CCI3*-S at Woodside in October. Nemesis wrapped up his year in style with a second-place finish in the three-long at Galway Downs in November before getting a little bit of a vacation for the winter. “He has had a real good season of Intermediate so hopefully we can go Advanced at some stage. That is the big thing on the horizon for him,” said James.

Winning a leaderboard title is exciting for most people, but for the Alliston's to win this award with Nemesis, it was extra special. “It was awesome, we are really proud of him. He is our baby and he is really part of the family here. We are just excited that we have such a nice horse and that he has done so well. To win this award is awesome, but to do it with a horse that you have had a long time and one that you have sort of talented spotted as a yearling is pretty cool.”

Jan 30, 2023

USEF New Phone and Fax Number

The USEF's main phone number and fax number have changed. We wanted to notify you so you continue to get the support you need.

Jan 30, 2023 Instructors

USEA Podcast #327: All About the Eventing Coaches Program

With the recent wrap-up of the 2023 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Symposium in Ocala, Florida, USEA Podcast Host Nicole Brown chats with ECP Faculty Members Jennifer Howlett Rousseau and Robin Walker about all things related to the ECP. From the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels to the benefits of pursuing certification, selecting the best coach for you, recapping this year's Symposium, and more - this week's USEA podcast is the perfect educational tool for coaches and riders alike!

Jan 29, 2023 Education

3 Steps to More Successful Saddle Time in 2023

Time is precious. Time with your horse even more so. If one of your resolutions for the New Year is to spend more time in the saddle or more time enjoying the barn, you’ll want to implement these best practices to minimize stress and make the most of 2023.

Jan 28, 2023 Membership

Now On Course: Woodrow Goes Wild to Mild

Did you know that there are over 53,000 wild mustangs in holding facilities across the United States? My mustang journey began in February 2018 after losing my heart horse whom I had just shy of 20 years. I wanted another horse of color, and my friend sent me the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) internet adoption link. I was amazed at all of the horses available on the internet auction, but I quickly fell in love with Woodrow. I learned that he was a popular band stallion in Wyoming and had been followed by photographers for close to three years.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA