After navigating a course full of what its designer, Clayton Fredericks, described as "serious angles and in-your-face-fences," Erin Kellerhouse and Woodford Reserve maintained their wire-to-wire lead in winning the Galway Downs CCI4*-S on a 30.1. Helen Alliston and Ebay and Emilee Libby and Jakobi also crossed the finish line double clear to hold their second and third positions for a ladies' sweep of the division.
Especially after their first CCI4*-L here last fall, today's course "felt hectic," said Kellerhouse. "Everything is boom, boom, boom. No let-ups." The angled skinny brushes at 5 A/B/C, the sharp turn to a corner made of two banks at 10, and the white rails double coming down the berm at 12 A/B were among those "booms." The two houses leading into the water complex at 15 A/B to the bank bounce out at 15 C/D made for some dramatic rides, including a premature safety vest deployment. The reintroduction of the beautiful bounce banks at 18 in the 21-effort course were easily sailed over by all who completed: which was 9 of the 13 starters.
Kellerhouse praised the technical aspects of the course and the benefits of the very different tasks Fredericks has created in his second design assignment for Galway Downs. She and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tinaranas Inspector x Laughton's Flight) she's produced patiently through the levels will contest the Land Rover Kentucky CCI4*-S in a few weeks and she was grateful for the excellent prep today.
After a COVID season spent putting extra training into her Ebay, her 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Escudo x Komtessa), Alliston was thrilled before and after completing the course. "When I walked it, I thought it looked hard and that was good."
In the past, fast-fire questions have scared the horse, who breezed up the levels early in his career, then hit some snafus and needed a confidence rebuild. Today he answered the course's questions with relative ease. "He was straightforward about them, and he has not been straightforward in the past," Alliston explained. "It was a great chance to see where we are in his education."
Third place finisher Libby was also thrilled with her self-developed horse, Jakobi, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Ustinov x Expression). They were flawless throughout to finish on a 33.7 dressage score. As in show jumping, Jakobi maintained new levels of rideability on cross-country. "He locks onto the jumps now and it feels like he's taking me to them. It's a good feeling going into our first CCI5*," says the Land Rover Kentucky-bound Californian.
Patterson Has a Winning CCI3* Debut
18-year-old Alina Patterson and her own Flashback started out third after dressage. They moved into second after show jumping and into first today at a level new to both horse and rider. The Washington-based pair trains with John Camlin at Caber Farms and left the start box on a mission. "I had one job to do and I needed to get it done," she said of her aggressive approach to the course. The 9-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Fuerst Fugger x Queen of Joy) is confident – sometimes cocky, Patterson said. "He is super honest and bold. Also, I'm also really competitive!"
Thrilled with their three-star debut, they'll next tackle the CCI3*-L at Twin Rivers in April and Patterson has applied for the Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge.
Fellow 18-year-old Haley Turner led the division going into cross-country but a run-out at 15B going into the water dashed their day. Professional Sabrina Glaser continued a great outing with Cooley Mr. Murphy (Kroongraaf x Ballinabarney Highlight), an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, to finish second on a 38.4.
Jumping up from 12th after dressage, Katherine Robinson and her 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Outrageous Dance (Outrageous Limit x I Wanna Dance) finished third. They had no jumping issues and were the only pair in the division to incur no time penalties.
CCI2* Can Be Sweet, Indeed.
Lauren Billys forgot to start her watch until a minute into the CCI2*-S track, but otherwise she and the syndicate owned 9-year-old German Sport Horse gelding Can Be Sweet (Candyman x Tres Belle) were nearly flawless. They had just a quarter of a time penalty and easily held the lead they'd established on day-one dressage, finishing on a 28.6. Billys hopes that Can Be Sweet will be her Pan Am Games partner in 2023 and his responses to today's short-order challenges bode well. "He is a really willing partner and he was on his game today."
Miranda Olagaray and her 8-year-old Trakehner gelding Tanqueray (Tzigane x Orania) kept on their clean jumping trajectory, finishing second on a 34.7 score. Hailey Blackburn and Kilbunny Amigo, her own 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Eurocommerce Pittsburg x Ballyglisheen Sky) were third on a 42.3.
Galway Downs Horse Trials competition continues through Sunday.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.
Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.
Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.
Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.
Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.