The Eventing Championships at Galway Downs featured an action-packed weekend with multiple championships, including the USEA Area VI Championships. In total, 11 USEA recognized championship divisions were offered with the addition of two championships at the Starter level. Get to know the 11 horse and rider pairs who rose to the occasion Nov. 3-5 in Temecula, California, a bit better below.
Preliminary Champions: Mickayla Howard & HH Ontario | 37.2
San Mateo, California’s Mickayla Howard topped the field of 10 in the Area VI Preliminary Championship at Galway Downs with her 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding of unrecorded breeding HH Ontario. The duo have been together since 2020, and they just moved up to Preliminary together at the end of their 2022 season. This win at the Area VI Championships marks their first win together at the level.
Modified Rider Champions: Stephanie Goodman & Global Monmore | 36.4
Stephanie Goodman had the ride on Kimberley Collin’s 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Global Monmore (Rehy High Society x Monmore Maggie) in the Area VI Modified Championship.
“His owner was working hard at school,” shared Goodman, who has had “Vinny” in her barn for almost two years now and was happy to have the ride on him again this past weekend. “He is moving up the levels with ease. Though he is green, he is always willing, talented, and kind.”
Goodman (Eagle, Idaho) and Vinny were slated in second after dressage. She was quite pleased with Vinny’s cross-country performance, where the pair added just 6.4 time penalties to their score.
“I was especially impressed with how he handled the cross-country questions with a little more speed than he has done before,” she reflected.
A double-clear show jumping round would launch the pair up to the winning position on the leaderboard. Looking back on the weekend as a whole, Goodman said, "The atmosphere was a blast. The courses were well presented, and it made for a great experience for this young horse.”
Modified/Training Champions: Tommy Greengard & Cooley Sligo | 22.7
Professional rider Tommy Greengard, Petaluma, California, had a slam-dunk weekend at Galway Downs, finishing in third in his first ever CCI4*-L with his own Joshuay MBF and winning the Modified/Training Championship with Megan Beachler’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Sligo (Sligo Candy Boy x Townland Pride).
The pair led the 11-horse field from the very beginning. This was the horse’s first time giving the Modified level dressage test and show jumping a try, as he had previously been competing at the Novice level with Beachler and had a win at the Training level with Greengard last month at Ram Tap.
Training/Novice Champions: Seika Streets & Counterpoint | 32.6
Seika Streets navigated Arnell Sporthorses’ 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding Counterpoint (Concerto Grosso x Natalina) to the win in the Area VI Training Novice Championship. Counterpoint previously competed up to the CCI3* level with Lauren Burnell before Streets took over the ride in 2023 and has been enjoying him at the Novice level. This weekend was the pair's first attempt at the Training level dressage test and show jumping height, and they did so with ease winning the division with their dressage score unscathed.
Senior Training Rider Champions: Teresa Harcourt & Csongor | 28.6
For California native Teresa Harcourt, Galway Downs is her favorite way to close out a wonderful eventing season.
“I always look forward to attending Galway at the end of the year,” she said. ”Robert Kellerhouse always puts on a wonderful show. It was great to have the Championship environment shared with the Young Riders as well as all of the FEI Levels. It is always fun to ride in the Grand Prix arena with a Championship environment.”
Harcourt took a seven-year hiatus from eventing, during which she began freelance grooming for Bec Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses. In 2022, Braitling connected Harcourt with the now 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding Csongor (Chekandino x Vorbuch), lovingly known as “Lou,” and the rest was history.
“I started by leasing Lou, and then made the decision to buy him while he was on the trailer on the way to the American Eventing Championships in Montana,” shared Harcourt. There, the pair competed together for the first time in the Open Novice Festival division and won.
“He was the perfect horse for me to gain confidence on and get back into the sport of eventing,” said Harcourt. “My goal this year was to gain confidence at the Training level and finish the year feeling ready for Modified. Lou and I definitely accomplished that at Galway Downs”
The pair led their division from the first phase and added no faults to their dressage score through the weekend. Harcourt was especially proud of their cross-country round.
“I had one of the quickest rounds, and Lou felt the most comfortable and confident on that course,” she said. “However, Lou was stellar in all three phases. Everything really came together when it mattered most. It was great to leave Galway this weekend feeling ready to move up to Modified next year.”
Their win together this weekend meant a lot to Harcourt.
“Area VI holds a special place in my heart,” she reflected. “I grew up eventing in Area VI, represented Area VI Young Riders, and now serve on the Area VI Council as the Young Rider Coordinator. I love being able to serve Area VI and being able to achieve this goal of winning a Championship in Area VI after years away from eventing was the cherry on top. We truly have some of the best events on the West Coast, and I feel fortunate to be involved in eventing in Area VI.”
Junior Training Rider Champions: Maddie Kelly & Favoloso | 33.0
In the Junior Training Championship, it was Meridian, Idaho-based young rider Maddie Kelly who rode Adison Lopicolo’s 12-year-old Westphalian gelding Favoloso (by Ferragamo) to the win. Kelly only recently began leasing “Fabu” this spring.
“It has taken a while to get to know him but I think our partnership is really starting to click, and we’ve really started to get on the same page,” she shared. “It has been a very rewarding experience getting to know him; he’s taught me so much and really is such an incredible partner.”
The pair added 2.4 time penalties on cross-country to their initial dressage score of 30.6, a feat that Kelly is most proud of.
“It’s been challenging learning what kind of ride he needs for this phase, and we’ve spent a lot of time trying to get on the same page with one another. This weekend he really tried his hardest and had such a confident run, and I couldn’t be happier with him; he was such a good boy.”
Kelly went into the weekend with a goal to improve on what they had been working on all season long and conclude their 2023 show schedule on a good note.
“Finishing the weekend with a blue ribbon was surreal,” she said. “Fabu blew me away all weekend trying his hardest in each phase and showed me what a special horse he really is. I feel so lucky to have him as my partner.”
Senior Novice Rider Champions: Keelari Mauzy & West Coast Cooley | 29.4
Keelari Mauzy calls her experience at the Area VI Championships at Galway Downs “a very special moment in my equestrian career that I will always cherish.”
“As someone who hasn’t competed at the upper levels of eventing or FEI, these Championships offered a similar taste with the challenging courses, packed stands, beautifully decorated courses, and awards ceremony on horseback,” she said.
Mauzy purchased her winning partner, the Irish Sport Horse gelding West Coast Cooley (Pointilliste x Hugginstown Imp), two years ago as a green 5-year-old while horse shopping on her “trip of a lifetime” in Ireland.
“He was the first horse I sat on and after him, no others compared,” she said. “He was younger and greener than I initially was looking for, but everything about him felt right, and a few weeks later I picked him up from quarantine. I’ve been slowly producing him myself, and the process has been extremely rewarding. He’s my dream horse. We can compete recognized one weekend, then the next ride around a Halloween show in the games classes—egg-on-spoon, ride-a-buck, ribbon pairs, musical chairs, carrot earring contest, you name it! I’m excited to see where our career goes and for our move up in a couple of weeks.”
Their dressage score of 29.4 remained untouched through the remaining phases, a feat that Mauzy attributes to all the work they have put in throughout the season.
“We’ve been working really hard at all phases, and I think it has shown in the last several events," she said. "Dressage is a never-ending work in progress, but more recently we’ve been making a lot of progress in our overall rideability and adjustability which impacts all phases.”
She describes her win at this year’s Area VI Championships as “surreal.”
“Area VI and the surrounding areas in attendance have highly skilled horses and riders making for tough competition," she said. "The championships are something I never thought I’d qualify for, let alone have the privilege to attend. I owe my success to my mother for her endless support of my eventing dreams, to my wonderful barn family, and most importantly, to my amazing horse.”
Junior Novice Rider Champions: Isabella Rega & Blurred Lines | 26.9
Isabella Rega has had the ride on her good friend Anna Kosmont’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding of unrecorded breeding Blurred Lines for a little over a year.
“We formed a strong bond almost immediately, and showing him has been so much fun,” she shared. In their first show together, Rega and “Beau” were featured as the USEA’s Winner’s Circle Wednesday pair on social media for having the lowest winning score in the nation that week.
The duo made the move up to Novice this summer, earning a win in their debut at the level together. The pair would later finish fourth in the Junior Novice Championship at this year’s USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds (Lexington, Kentucky). Galway was their first event back since the AEC, and what better way to return to the show ring than by winning on your dressage score?
Speaking of dressage, that is the phase that Rega was the most proud of from the whole weekend at Galway.
“We have been working hard on our test, and coming out of the ring at Galway I felt really confident about our performance,” she said. “Dressage sets you up for the rest of the show, and ending up tied for first after day one was a really great feeling.”
Her win this weekend was the cherry on top of a wonderful season with Beau.
“I am so proud of Beau," she said. "He is the best boy, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner. My trainer, Sabrina Miller, is the reason I am where I am today. She has always been there for me and supported my dreams, even if I drive her crazy some days. I have her to thank for my win, too. This was a really special way to end our competition at the Novice level.”
Novice/Beginner Novice Champions: Chloe Smyth & Topper | 27.7
In the Novice/Beginner Novice Championship, Temecula local Chloe Smyth rode Marian Cerilly’s 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding of unrecorded breeding Topper to the top of the pack in the horse’s third USEA outing.
The pair had a win at the Beginner Novice level earlier this spring and a sixth-place finish at the Novice level this summer. They added just one rail to their dressage score of 23.7 to finish in first on a score of 27.7.
Senior Beginner Novice Rider Champions: Justin Flach & Aracelli | 32.1
While winning the Senior Beginner Novice Rider Championship was special in its own right for Justin Flach, there was something that stood out even more.
“What truly made the experience special was the camaraderie and support amongst the competitors in my division,” he shared. “We didn’t know each other coming into the weekend, but together we discussed our courses, cheered each other on, picked each other up after each rail, and celebrated every success. We’d all worked so hard to be there, any of us deserved to win, and the collective spirit made it truly special.”
Flach started riding as an adult and two years ago decided to get serious about the sport of eventing. That is when he purchased the now 11-year-old Oldenburg mare Aracelli (Coromino x Adagia), who everyone knows as Ari, to be his step-up horse.
“She is a beautiful mover, scopey, and brave, but most importantly she gives her heart and tries for our partnership every single ride,” he said. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the pair.
“Earlier this year, Ari developed anxiety from an incident in a jumping warm-up arena, and it was a real struggle to feel safe riding close to other horses,” Flach reflected. “The last time we showed at Galway Downs, my wife had to collect Ari from the line at the taco truck while I dusted myself off in the warm-up arena before my cross-country ride.”
As the pair have also had quite a bit of success in the straight dressage ring, Ari’s newfound anxiety had Flach seriously contemplating stepping away from jumping entirely to focus on a dressage career, but Flach knew he couldn’t give up.
“Ari is most at home on cross-country and is a seriously talented jumper. As a hyper-competitive, overly-confident 40-something who sets big goals for himself, it took a lot of growing up for me to realize that my own anxiety and fear was feeding Ari’s,” he said. “It was time for me to step up and become a more capable rider to better support Ari, so we took a step back this summer, focused on the fundamentals, and began slowly introducing ourselves to positive experiences to help rebuild our confidence. We had a great team around us who helped us each step of the way. Ari getting to be her beautiful, scopey, brave self this weekend is such a reward for the work we’ve put in together. I love this mare for her heart, and she certainly has mine!”
The duo started their weekend in third after dressage, but their double-clear performances in both jumping phases proved influential, moving them up to the top of the leaderboard. This win was very sentimental for Flach for so many reasons.
“As I stood there in awe of the horses and riders at the Kentucky Three-Day Event a decade ago, I turned to my wife and told her that I wanted to compete at Kentucky someday," he said. "I was an adult in lessons with 8-year-olds doing the crossrail hunter classes and Kentucky was—and still is—far, far away. This weekend Ari and I got to compete on the same course and in the same arena as superheroes like Tamie Smith and Liz Halliday—albeit at a much, much lower level—and we won! This was my dream, this was my Kentucky, and I’m going to ride this high for a long time.”
Junior Beginner Novice Rider Champions: Charlotte Boleda & Bellechase | 30.0
Winning the Junior Beginner Novice Rider Championship was never something Charlotte Boleda would have imagined for herself and her 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Bellechase (Lancelot x Red Brigade).
“I have been riding Brodie for about a year and a half,” shared Boleda. “He was originally imported from Ireland by his previous owner to be her upper-level eventer. Brodie was young and could be a jerk. His personality wasn’t a good match for his previous owner, and she got fed up with his shenanigans and offered him for sale. At the time I was a working student for a show jumper trainer, Darci Bayney, and she thought that with time and patience, Brodie would be a good fit for me. The first six months were pretty rough, and Brodie would dump me on the weekly. He was so stubborn, but we kept chipping away to help uncover his potential.”
When they were ready to give cross-country a go, Boleda paired up with Olivia Putrino, who Boleda claims gave her all the tools she needed to deal with any of Brodie’s “tantrums” on cross-country.
“With time and consistency, Brodie has learned to trust me and has settled into a really fun horse to ride. He is now so playful and nickers whenever he sees me. It has been such a rewarding experience,” Boleda said.
With that newfound trust in place, Boleda has begun really enjoying riding Brodie, and her cross-country round this past weekend at Galway was a blast.
“He used to try and dump me or just stop for no reason and refuse to go forward,” reflected Boleda. “I love that now when we are out in the field galloping, he will squeal with excitement. He is such an incredible and fun horse.”
Boleda gives all the credit for their success this weekend to the people who have supported them throughout their journey together so far.
“[Winning] was an incredible feeling, but I honestly never thought it would be possible a year ago as Brodie and I had so far to go," she said. "I think it is a real credit to the team of trainers who have supported and believed in me. I am so thankful to them and my barn who never gave up on us. I am so excited for next year and for us to continue to develop Brodie.”
Boleda and Brodie finished on their dressage score, winning the Junior Beginner Novice Championship on a score of 30.0, their lowest winning score to date.
In addition, Galway Downs offered two Championships at the Starter level, which will soon become a fully recognized division by the USEA. In the Junior Starter Championship, Bo Moore topped the field with Zodiac Kowboy, and Brit Sabbah rode Delilah 111 to the win in the Senior Starter Championship.
United States Eventing Association (USEA) members at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention were in for a treat on Friday as the U.S. Eventing Team was on hand to discuss their accomplishments this year at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
“Test the best without hurting the rest,” said show jumping course designer Chris Barnard as he and fellow designer Marc Donovan led a lively discussion for nearly 50 participants at the Show Jumping Seminar on the first day of the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
This afternoon, USEA President Louise “Lou” Leslie welcomed U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors members, USEA staff, and USEA Annual Meeting & Convention attendees to the first of two Board meetings which will take place during this year’s Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, with the teaser that 2024 is going to be full of initiatives for more opportunities to access the eventing experience, some of which attendees might get first wind of during this year’s gathering. The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place Dec. 7-10 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.
Welcome to the Show Me state and to Area IV USEA members! The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention kicks of tomorrow and features four full days of educational seminars, committee meetings, and social gatherings all with one aim—to bring the eventing community together to continue to improve upon and celebrate the sport that we all love. This year’s Convention takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Marriott St. Louis Grand in downtown St. Louis from Dec. 7-10, and we have rounded up everything you need to know to make the most of your time in the heartland.