Frankie Thieriot-Stutes and Chatwin began their defense of the Galway Downs International Horse Trials title with a win in Thursday evening’s CCI4*-S. Their effortless-looking test put them on a 28.8 score going into the weekend. Emilee Libby and Jakobi stand second on a 32.9 and Tamie Smith and Wembley post third with a 33.1.
Thrilled with the super strong turn-out for the international divisions, organizer Robert Kellerhouse got the four-star riders' okay to stage their dressage early, on a clear, breezy late afternoon in Southern California’s Temecula and it was a neat warm-up to that night’s exhibitor’s party.
A new, big inflatable Devoucoux entry gate for the international ring, flags flapping and lots of spectators made some of the horses as excited as their people were about this first CCI4*-S on the West Coast under the FEI’s new starring system.
Judges Andrew Bennie of New Zealand and Tim Downes of Great Britain officiated a seven-pair four-star field. James Alliston and Pandora, the champs of their last Galway Downs outing in November, finished fourth, followed by Sabrina Glazer and Rembrandt of Canada; Andrea Baxter and Indy 500; and Young Rider Mallory Hogan and Clarissa Purisima. They will synch up with the three-star and two-star riders on Saturday, with show jumping in the afternoon, then finish with cross-country on Sunday. Thirty-pair turn-outs in the three-star and two-star divisions is a great start to the season, says Kellerhouse, and the horse trials divisions are loaded with up-coming talent, too.
Ride On Video is live-streaming all of the international divisions Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, live coverage includes the all cross-country for the international divisions plus Open Intermediate and Advanced on www.rideonvideo.net. Live scoring can be found at www.evententries.com.
It’s exciting to see so many enjoying all the improvements that have been implemented at Galway Downs over the last few years. In becoming a mecca for top equestrian sport in all disciplines, Galway Downs, under Kellerhouse’s direction has harnessed the good work, goodwill, and generous support of many key players in the sport. Nilforushan Equisport Events, along with Footing Solutions USA, have brought fantastic footing through their sponsorship of the Grand Prix Arena and warm-up ring, and a new jumper ring and cross-country warm-up area. Becoming host of the entire six-week Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival is an additional source of upgrades, as is the ongoing hosting of equestrian competitions almost every weekend of the year.
Many of the most recent improvements are things “that you won’t notice until you notice,” said Kellerhouse. In the process of adding infrastructure that will expand the venue’s capacity to host bigger events, major upgrades to the power and water systems, RV facilities and permanent and portable stabling have been underway all winter.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.
Get to know each United States Eventing Association (USEA) Areas a little better in this new series, Meet the Areas! This month’s feature is USEA Area I which is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Founded in the 1960s, Area I was the birthplace of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA) which was founded in 1959 and would later evolve into the USEA in 2001. In 2021 just under 800 members made up the membership count in Area I.
Trainers, riders, parents, and more are in for a real treat when the all-new USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is officially released. Those participating in the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first to set eyes on this all-encompassing guide that has been two years in the making.
The USEA established the Young Event Horse (YEH) program in 2004 to identify young horses that possess the talent and disposition to, with proper training, excel at the uppermost levels of the sport. While the goal of the YEH program is to identify horses that will be successful at the four- and five-star levels, horses with the potential for lower-level success are also showcased by the program.