Cross-country shook up the standings in the Re/MAX CCI4*-L with James Alliston and the 3-year-old Hanoverian gelding Paper Jam (Papparazzo x Reely Jamin XX), owned by Helen Alliston, emerging atop the leaderboard. Alliston continues a super year with only time faults on Clayton Fredericks' demanding track.
"Paper Jam was very relaxed and rideable and he jumped really well," Alliston reported. "The time was tight because you had to dial it down to make those turns, then you'd lose the gallop rhythm a bit."
Alliston is just back from representing the U.S. at the Military Boekelo-Enschede in October on another horse, Nemesis. He sees Paper Jam's performance here as an indicator of his readiness for running Kentucky next year. Today's effort bodes well for that possibility. As for show jumping tomorrow, Alliston hopes the gelding's tendency to get "buzzy" in Galway's Grand Prix Arena won't distract from their effort to add another international title to their long list of them.
James also has up-and-comers, Karma and Monkey, sitting second and third in the CCI3*-L..
Overnight leader Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Gretchen Cook’s 13-year-old German Sport Horse gelding Passepartout (Pasco x Preschel) were sadly eliminated in their CCI4*-L debut with a fall at fence 25B in the 40-effort course. Horse and rider are fine, and the young professional has the consolation of sitting second with MB Group LLC's 12-year-old German Sport Horse mare MaiBlume (Sir Schiwago x Free Lady). They, too, had only time faults over the course. MARS Bromont Rising U25 participant Sophie Click and her 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Quidproquo (Quidado x Waleila) are third going into designer Marc Donovan's show jumping challenges Saturday.
Tamie Smith and Linda Payne's 11-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding Cheers (Blauer Vogel x Qtrapastree) cruised through the finish timers with no jumping or time penalties. It was a nice follow-up to their dressage test in which an off-course goof contributed to a 35.6 score that put them 7th. Tamie considers Cheers to be Badminton and Burghley material and was pleased with his work in the sandbox. "I feel like he's kind of been knocking on the door," Tamie says of the half-brother to Gin & Juice, an international star for Cheers' owner.
Announcer Ed Holloway refers to Smith and Alliston as the "King and Queen of Galway" and the royal pair are indeed closely aligned in this three-star division. Alliston is hot on Smith's heels with two youngsters, Karma and Monkey. Both sired by Escudo II, these very different looking and behaving horses are part of a growing string of solid mounts for James and Helen Alliston's Northern California program.
"Karma is a really exciting horse," said Alliston of the 8-year-old Oldenburg who was the only other horse to make the three-star time. "She's probably the fastest horse I've had and she's a really good athlete, though dressage can be a bit tricky. Despite our score yesterday (a 37.2), I was very pleased with her because she was settled in her mind and walked well."
Alliston sits third with Monkey on a 40.7, including 5.2 time penalties. The handsome grey 7-year-old Oldenburg owned by Golly Martin has moved up the ranks with apparent ease under James' hand. "He's done a lot quickly."
On Thursday, Smith acknowledged she was so new to Kynan, a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by The Kynan Syndicate, that she had no idea what to expect of him on cross-country today. Double clear is what he delivered on a track Smith appreciated as a significant step up in size and technical questions from past years. Staying on their 27.1 dressage effort, Smith retains her lead in this division and sits 3rd, 7th and 8th on three more hot prospects: Crafty Don, Mameluke, and Fleeceworks Quinn.
"They were all double clear and fantastic," she summarized. "They are all different types of horses, but I didn't have one situation where I felt like one of the horses was green or that they didn't understand what the questions were."
Riding a horse that was bred for her by owner Liz Jenner of GWF, Erin Kellerhouse is in second on Bon Vivant GWF. She's had the 7-year-old Oldenburg in her Galway Downs-based training program since he was four. Every event and every year, he keeps "rising to the challenges," she says. "He's one of those solid citizens where everything seems easy for him." At one point, he was so nonchalant about jumping, Erin questioned his scope. But as the jumps got higher, his athletic abilities became clear. "He needs a little atmosphere and difficulty to be impressed."
Being based at Galway Downs was no advantage in facing cross-country's new twists, turns and fences. "It's weird to be here and not know where I'm going," Kellerhouse said. She was uncharacteristically off her pace the first 5 minutes of the course while navigating those new challenges, but found plenty of galloping stretches to make it up to finish on a 28.9.
From horse trials in her home state of California where she prepared herself and her horses to take on the best in the nation and around the world to five-star events overseas where she represented the United States on some of eventing’s biggest stages, Tamie Smith had a remarkable season and finished 2022 as the Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year for the second year in a row.
TerraNova Equestrian Center in Myakka City, Florida, held its first CCI4*-S competition in the fall of 2021 and is now gearing up for the location’s third-ever FEI event and inaugural spring event this weekend during The Event at TerraNova which takes place March 30-April 2.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
Many riders across all levels have found that working with young horses has provided them with the most valuable experiences in eventing. The opportunities for young event horses have never been more exciting. The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast and West Coast Championships continue to grow in profile as the culmination of a calendar of qualifying events is expanding to more areas of the country. More American riders and their young horses are aiming for the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion D’Angers, France, particularly thanks to programs like the Holekamp/Turner YEH Lion d’Angers Grant. That’s become one of the most attended sporting events in the entire country. It’s given young event horses from the United States a chance to represent the growth of the American eventing community’s dedication to properly developing talent in the sport.