Paso Robles, CA—April 13—The first day of competition at the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International in Paso Robles, California, brought out career-best dressage scores in FEI events for the two horses leading the CCI4*-S—Elliot V ridden by Tamie Smith and Nemesis ridden by James Alliston.
Both horses are using Twin Rivers as their final runs before heading to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event at the end of the month. Elliot V is prepping for the CCI4*-S, and Nemesis is aiming for his first CCI5*-L.
Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R) scored 28.1 to lead the field of six, the largest that has competed in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Spring International in five years.
“He was super,” Smith said. “The trot felt the best he’s ever produced and although the canter can still improve, he’s getting stronger and more confident and now able to get his changes which I’m very pleased about.”
Smith and Elliot V won the Advanced at the 2023 Twin Rivers Winter H.T., sparking confidence in Smith for what the year could hold for the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by the Elliot V Partnership.
“2023 is going to be his breakout year, and he’s really come out fantastic,” Smith said after that victory, in which they also led after dressage.
As they prepare for their first CCI5*-L together in Kentucky, Alliston and Nemesis (Novalis 46 x Maesy) recorded their best dressage score in FEI competition, as well as their first sub-30 for an international, with a 29.2.
“This was good; this was nice,” Alliston said. “I’ve been practicing hard as always, but I sort of changed a few things up. I put him in a double bridle, which I’ve never done before [at a show], which changed it up a little bit. He was really relaxed, and it was the first clean test I’ve had in a while.”
Alliston said he decided to make the equipment change to a double bridle after Nemesis scored 37.5 for dressage in the CCI4*-S at the Galway Downs International H.T. (Temecula, California) at his most recent competition at the end of March.
“At Galway, it just wasn’t good, and I was like, alright can’t keep doing this, so this was good,” Alliston said. “With the double, I have a bit more control, and there were no mistakes. It was a nice, clean test.”
At 9 years old, the Canadian Warmblood gelding owned by Alliston Equestrian, is tied for the youngest in the CCI4*-S field at Twin Rivers with his stablemate Karma (Escudo II x Travita). Nemesis is the youngest horse in the five-star field for Kentucky in 2023. Alliston’s first Kentucky Three-Day Event also came with a 9-year-old, when he and Parker (Marquetry x Hello Mom), a Thoroughbred gelding, finished 14th out of 45 in 2011.
“It seems a bit aggressive, but I feel like you have a small window with these horses where they’re going well and healthy and everything,” Alliston said.
Karma, a 9-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Alliston Equestrian, was making her four-star debut and scored 39.2 as she prepares for the CCI4*-S in Kentucky.
Marc Grandia and Campari FFF (Camiros x Tanner) are in third after dressage with a score of 31.6. They’re coming off a third-place finish in the CCI4*-S at Galway. Sophia Click and Tarantino 54 (Quattro B x Los Argentina) are in fourth with a score of 32.4, and Gina Economou and Cooley by Design (Plot Blue x Uthree Z) are in fifth with a score of 36.7 in the horse’s first four-star.
Show jumping for the CCI4*-S designed by William Robertson is scheduled for Friday with cross-country on the course designed by Morgan Rowsell set to close out competition on Saturday.
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After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.