When Helen Alliston and Ebay fell on the Advanced cross-country course at the Spring Event at Woodside on May 28, 2021, everyone thought that the then 12-year-old gelding walked away without injuries. The pair had been leading their division when Ebay caught a leg on a corner jump toward the end of the course and, as a result, had a half-rotational fall, landing on his neck and partially landing on Helen. Helen was transported to Stanford University Hospital with a broken pelvis, but immediate reports after the event announced that Ebay was unharmed in the accident.
“Initially, everyone thought he was fine,” Helen recalls. “But he wasn’t fine. And I was hurt, so I couldn’t ride. It was tricky because you needed to know him quite well to realize he wasn’t okay. I couldn’t walk so I couldn’t really go in his stall and feel his body and his legs and all that.”
Helen’s husband, James, was riding her horses while Helen was recovering from her injury. It wasn’t until he started preparing Ebay for upcoming competitions that they realized something was very wrong.
“My husband knows the horse pretty well but he doesn’t ever have his hands on him or ride him. It’s a different thing watching a horse versus riding one and touching them with your hands and really knowing their bodies,” says Helen. “I wanted James to ride him and do a couple four stars on him while I was hurt. James rode him a little bit and he seemed fine at first. He was jumping him around and then he took him cross-country schooling, and he said Ebay did not feel good. His jumping wasn’t how it should be. And then [Ebay] actually did go a bit lame. He’s a tough cookie so if he’s limping, there’s something wrong. So that’s when we started investigating.”
It turned out that Ebay had sustained injuries to his neck and his hip from the fall; injuries that were at first difficult to diagnose. Sidelined from riding and with some time on her hands, Helen loaded Ebay on the trailer and drove him 12 hours north from her base in Castro Valley, California to Mulino, Oregon to see Dr. Mark Revenaugh, a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of lameness and performance issues at Northwest Equine Performance. Ebay spent two weeks in assessment and treatment there under Dr. Revenaugh’s care.
Throughout the whole ordeal, Helen and James were able to rely on Parker Equine Insurance to take care of the coverage for Ebay’s complicated diagnosis and treatment process.
“They came to all the California shows, and they used to set up this super fun little bar, and you’d stop by and have a drink and chat away,” recalls Helen of her first encounters with Parker Equine Insurance, well before Ebay’s injury. “So that’s how we met them. They initially were working with my husband, sponsoring him. The owners [Joe Parker and Donna Chopp-Parker] are super passionate about horses.”
All of the Allistons’ upper-level horses are insured through Parker, so when Ebay’s injuries were discovered, Helen called her agent there, Denise Brown.
“They deal with everything,” explains Helen. “With Ebay, for instance, he had some stuff that wasn’t going to be covered, so they shop around for the next best situation, and they just take care of that side of it.”
With their extensive knowledge of the market, Parker Equine Insurance helps to take the hassle out of searching for the right insurance for each situation.
“They act as brokers,” Helen explains. “All of our horses are insured by different companies. When we want to insure a horse, we email Denise and she shops around for the current best coverage. She is the broker of it. So Parker does all the dirty work and then they say, ‘Sign here’ or ‘Pay here,’ and you’re done. So it makes it really easy.”
“Easy” is not a term that anyone – horse-owner or not – often associates with navigating the intricacies of insurance. By handling this confusing but critical aspect of equine care, Parker allows riders to focus on finding and implementing the best treatment protocols for their horses. For Ebay, this meant locating a veterinarian in another state who not only cared for him during his treatment but also came all the way down to California at the beginning of 2022 to check in and follow up.
As a result of the teamwork that enabled his successful treatment, Ebay has bounced back to wrap up the best season of his career to date. Among his accomplishments this year were finishing second in the CCI3*-S at Galway Downs in April; winning the Twin Rivers Spring International CCI4*-S; finishing fourth in the CCI4*-L at The Event at Rebecca Farm in July; and winning the Adequan USEA Advanced Final at the USEA American Evening Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds in August.
“He did a lot of great things, and we didn’t really feel like we missed a beat,” says Helen. “He’s actually back out in the field now just resting for the winter, because I’m hoping to do some even bigger things next year!”
Equine Network is thrilled to have the support of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) for the third annual Horse Week event brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim.
It was a busy day at Stable View Oktoberfest in Aiken, South Carolina as all FEI divisions and a few national divisions kicked off their competition weekend, including the 2023 USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships. Both the 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds got their chance to shine down the centerline at the start of the day, with the 7-year-olds also giving their best effort across Michael Vallaincourt’s show jumping track later this afternoon.
The USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) has initiated a renewed focus on the diverse challenges coaches in various regions of the country may be facing. To this end, the program is in the process of enlisting representatives in each of the 10 USEA areas to help guide the program as warranted for the unique needs of each specific area.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has opened nominations for the annual appreciation awards through Oct. 29. This is an opportunity for the sport to recognize those horses and riders who excelled in eventing throughout the year. It is also an opportunity to recognize and honor the very important people who have served the sport tirelessly both in a non-riding capacity and riding capacity during their golden years.