Nov 06, 2017

Alliston Clinches CCI3* Victory at Galway Downs International

By Galway Downs - Edited Press Release
James Alliston and Happenstance. Captured Moment Photography Photo.

James Alliston is now a three-time champion in Temecula, CA, following a wire-to-wire victory with Mary McKee’s Happenstance at the 2017 Galway Downs International Three-Day Event (2011 – Jumbo’s Jake, 2012 – Tivoli).

The duo stayed leaders throughout, adding only one rail and one time penalty in show jumping to their dressage score (43.3) to rest on a final result of 48.3. They are followed by Ellen Doughty-Hume in second place (57.3) with Sir Oberon, and Lisa Marie Fergusson in third place (60) with Honor Me.

For Alliston, who got the ride earlier this spring, this win cements his budding partnership with the striking 11-year-old Holsteiner. “I always loved the horse because he’s been California bred, produced, and owned,” he commented said.

“I knew the horse when he was young coming through when I first moved to California, and I was like, ‘Wow, that horse is gorgeous,’ because he’s big and black and very impressive. All the way through his career he’s been a prolific winner, so I knew he was that caliber, but he’s made to look really easy by all the riders before like Matt, who did a wonderful job. I certainly struggled in the dressage and the show jumping initially just getting the hang of it.”

Though he had three rails in hand, Alliston said the pressure still remained for a top performance. “It’s quite nerve-wracking when you’re in the lead because anything can happen, you could stop and fall off whatever, so that’s sort of going through your mind sometimes,” he admitted.  

Ellen Doughty-Hume finished up her whirlwind weekend with longtime partner Sir Oberon in second place, replicating their 2016 result at this event. The 15-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred had one rail and two time penalties on Sunday for a final mark of 57.3 – 12.7 points below their CCI3* average finishing result.

“He was jumping great. I came in a little backwards to the triple that was my rail he had, but he was jumping super and he felt great after running yesterday, and he’s ready to have a break. I’m real pleased with the weekend,” she commented.

Canada’s Lisa Marie Fergusson has never had a pole down at CCI3* level, and she kept that streak alive this weekend with her own Honor Me. This pair kept hold of her third place position with one of the two fault-free rounds in the division.

“Tally was so full of run still after cross-country. He just ate it up and showed how clever he is when I got him backwards into the two and put in a three,” she said, crediting her 11-year-old Welsh Sport Horse. “It was a great course I thought it rode really well. It had enough challenge to it that you really had to ride and pay attention. He strategically placed some rails in shade, and you were going light into dark, so you had to pay attention.”

The other double clear round belongs to Ecuador’s Ronald Zabala-Goetschel, who finished fourth with his own Wundermaske. In addition to a top finish, Zabala-Goetschel also achieved his goal of qualifying for the 2018 World Equestrian Games here with his best three-star dressage score to date as well as a qualifying result (65.9).

In the CCI2*, Helen Bouscaren had one rail in hand ahead of Sunday’s show jumping, and she made use of it over Marc Donovan’s challenging course. Piloting her own Ebay, an 8-year-old Oldenburg owned by Bouscaren, she closed the weekend out a winner.

“He was great all weekend I was really happy with him and I’m excited for him. He’s not very experienced, but he doesn’t seem to need much experience,” Bouscaren beamed. “He’s smart and brave and careful, so everything I want.”

She was especially pleased with his performance across country as this is his first long format two-star test. “Yesterday he was fantastic and came across the finish line fresh which is a nice feeling, especially on a warmblood because you really don’t know what you have until you do it.”

Second-placed Emilee Libby and Linda Libby’s Jakobi also dropped one pole to finish second. They added nothing across country, and had one pole down for a final result of 51.5. CCI3* winner Alliston also scooped up third in the two-star class aboard Sunsprite Warmblood’s Sunsprite Madeira on a mark of 55.7.

Marc Donovan’s show jumping course proved especially challenging for the two-star group, with only one double clear round managed by Julie Boyer and High Decorum, who finished in eighth position.

Rails rattled the top three of the CCI* division. Overnight first and second fell victim to the same fence, sending them down the board and opening the door for Rebecca Braitling and Lauren Burnell’s Santana II to clinch the win.

Braitling and Santana II are on a hot streak this year after picking up two CCI* wins, first at The Event at Rebecca Farm, Kalispell, MT, and now here at Galway Downs International. She and the 7-year-old Oldenburg end the weekend on a fishing score of 43.7.

One pole dropped overnight leaders Erin Kellerhouse and her own Woodford Reserve into a second place finish. Only one pole marred an otherwise mistake-free weekend for the 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse, who ends on a score of 45.

James Alliston also felt the effects of the penultimate fence on course, shifting to third place after the four penalty rail with Pandora, a 6-year-old Swedish Warmblood owned by Laura Boyer. They finish with a score of 45.6.

For entries, ride times, and scoring, click here.

Captured Moment Photography is the official show photographer this weekend at Galway Downs. To purchase photos, visit their booth in the trade fair, or visit their website,

To learn more about Galway Downs, please visit our website,

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