Paso Robles, CA—April 15— James Alliston finished first and second in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Spring International in Paso Robles, California, on Saturday with the two horses he plans to take to this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event—Nemesis for the Kentucky five-star and Karma for the four-star.
Nemesis (Novalis 46 x Maesy), who was second going into cross-country at Twin Rivers, added just 0.8 time penalties and took top honors with a finishing score of 30.0. Alliston and Karma (Escudo II x Travita) finished five seconds under optimum time—and were the only pair in the field of six to do so—on Morgan Rowsell’s four-star cross-country course. They moved up from fifth to second and finished on their dressage score of 39.2.
Both Nemesis and Karma were the youngest in the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers at 9 years old and will be the youngest for their respective levels in Kentucky—Nemesis as the lone 9-year-old in the CCI5*-L and Karma as one of three at that age in the CCI4*-S.
“I feel good about the preparation obviously,” Alliston said. “I don’t want to put too many expectations on how competitive I think I’ll be with a young horse, and it’s been a while for me personally. It’s whole ’nother world out there with the world’s best obviously. So, I’m happy with how it went this weekend, and hopefully that can be a springboard to a good performance there.”
Having a 9-year-old at eventing’s highest level in 2023 will take Alliston back to his first Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2011 with the Thoroughbred gelding Parker (Marquetry x Hello Mom).
“He was a great horse; I got him as the first horse I got when I came to America [from England],” Alliston said. “We did it together and went up together. I also had another nice horse, Jumbo’s Jake, who we took at the same time, but Parker was sort of one I’d had from the get-go and young, and he ended up doing a lot of Kentuckys. We call him a war horse. He was so durable and sound and just a tough guy.”
Alliston competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event with Parker every year from 2011 to 2017, running the CCI4* (now CCI5*-L) each year except in 2012 when they competed at Preliminary. Then, Alliston did not compete in Kentucky until last year. In 2022, he finished third with Nemesis in the CCI4*-S. A colic after dressage forced him to withdraw Paper Jam (Paparazzo x Reely Jamin XX) from the CCI5*-L.
Alliston has used the Twin Rivers Spring International as his final run before his last six trips to Kentucky—2013 to 2017 and then his return in 2022.
“It was a beautiful course,” Alliston said about cross-country at Twin Rivers. “It had all the different questions you could want, and they did a great job with the ground because I know they’ve had a lot of different rain this spring.”
Joining Alliston as the West Coast-based riders using Twin Rivers as their final prep before Kentucky were Tamie Smith and Rebecca Braitling. Smith finished third in the CCI4*S with Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R), a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by the Elliot V Partnership, adding 12.4 time penalties on cross-country for a finishing score of 40.5. They are scheduled to compete in the CCI4*-S in Kentucky, as is Braitling, who won the Advanced level with Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) with clear jumping and a finishing score of 52.5.
Braitling and “Ernie,” a 12-year-old British Sport Horse gelding owned by Arnell Sporthorses, continued their streak of never having a cross-country jump fault in the 29 events they’ve completed since they started competing together in 2019.
Saturday at Twin Rivers also saw the first career FEI win by Molly Duda with Disco Traveler (Donatelli x Cadence), a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, in the CCI3*-S.
The Twin Rivers Spring International will conclude on Sunday with show jumping for the CCI3*-L, which is the first Selection Trial of 2023 for the U.S. team that will compete at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, at the end of October. Other FEI levels that will crown their winners on Sunday will be the CCI2*-L and the first CCI1*-L in the history of Twin Rivers Ranch.
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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.