Oct 07, 2017

Alliston and Bouscaren Rival for Top Contention in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* at Woodside

By Kate Lokey - USEA Staff
James Alliston and Happenstance. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Thirteen riders competed today in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* division at the Woodside International Horse Trials in Woodside, Calif. as well as just one competitor in the Advanced division. The riders completed the dressage test this morning and tackled Michael Roy Curtis’ show jumping course beginning at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

Both the CIC3* and Advanced divisions at Woodside serve as qualifying divisions for the 2018 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, which will culminate with the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final at the 2018 American Eventing Championships at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado.

James Alliston and Mary McKee’s 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Happenstance (Hunter x S’Brina) laid down an impressive dressage test this morning as the penultimate pair in the arena, scoring a 45.1 to claim the lead after the first phase of competition. The pair then jumped around Curtis’ show jumping course double clear to maintain their domination heading into the cross-country phase tomorrow.


James Alliston and Happenstance. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

“He was really, really good,” Alliston said of Happenstance. “That round was better than I could’ve hoped – he jumped really well. The last Advanced he won, but he still had a couple [rails] down. I thought he jumped well, even with a couple down the other day, but today I was hoping we could have the luck on our side and jump a clear round. I don’t think he rubbed any fences, and you can’t jump better than that.”

Alliston has a fairly new partnership with McKee’s Happenstance. They aligned in March, leaving just the last several months for Alliston to form a partnership with the gelding. “He’s got a lovely technique, it’s just me figuring out what he likes and what he doesn’t like.”

The only other double clear CIC3* show jumping round this evening was Alliston’s significant other and the winner of last year's Woodside International Horse Trials Advanced division, Helen Bouscaren and her own 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Ben (Petersburg x Tough Duchess). Bouscaren scored a 54.4 in dressage, putting them in fifth place after the first phase of competition. After Curtis’ challenging show jumping course, however, which caused problems for eleven out of the thirteen riders, Bouscaren’s clear round moved her and Ben up to second place.


Helen Bouscaren and Ben. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

“[Ben] felt really good today,” said Bouscaren. “I just had him in a snaffle bit which I’ve never done before. I was a little nervous because he can be kind of fast and furious. He was definitely moving out there in show jumping, but he was actually really relaxed, which was nice. He just felt really good.”

Bouscaren was also pleased with how her Thoroughbred performed in the dressage arena this morning. “That was the best he’s ever gone! We’re having a really good day. Maybe we should just go home now,” Bouscaren joked. “We had a really good spring, and a good fall season last year, so hopefully he’ll do well tomorrow, and then we’ll go onto Galway [in November].”

Derek di Grazia and his own 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Ringwood Justice (Ringwood Harley Carol x Ringwood Venus), picked up four time faults and took one rail down this evening, which knocked them down one placing from second to third on a 56.0. Di Grazia’s wife, Bea follows by just 4.5 points in sixth place on Ringwood Isabelle (Douglas x Stream Diamond), providing a lot of exciting significant-other rivalries in the division.


Derek di Grazia and Ringwood Justice. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Anne-Sophie Levesque and her own 11-year-old Canadian Sport Horse, Eskapade (Portland L x Champagne Diamond) are the only pair competing in the Advanced division, but they’ve had a successful start to the competition. The pair scored a 37.4 in dressage, and left all the rails in the cups on Curtis’ course, adding just one time penalty to their score for a 38.4.


Anne-Sophie Levesque and Eskapade. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Competition in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* will culminate tomorrow with the cross-country phase, starting at 11:30 a.m. PDT.

“The cross-country course looks really challenging,” stated CIC3* leader, Alliston. “It’s very big, and the time is always tight to get here at Woodside with all the turning, and running up and down the hills. It’s going to be really challenging, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go.”

Alliston’s girlfriend Bouscaren stated that “the course is big, but [Ben] has jumped here a lot, and I’ve jumped here a lot, so hopefully that helps. I’ll have to ride him well, and he’ll have to jump well.”

For a full preview of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* and Advanced cross-country course, plus thoughts from course designer Ian Stark, click here.

CIC3* scores can be found here.

Advanced scores can be found here.

All scores at the Woodside International Horse Trials can be found here.

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About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series

The 2018 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced horse trials and CIC3* levels. The qualifying period begins August 2017 and continues through August 2018 with the final taking place at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado, August 29 – September 2, 2018. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money and thousands of dollars in prizes and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final Advanced Division.

The 2018 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nutrena, Merck Animal Health, and FITS.

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