Any hope eventers had of keeping Galway Downs as their own Shangri-La got blown away this past year. New, elite competitions let the international dressage community and national hunter/jumper exhibitors in on the fact that the venue in Southern California’s beautiful Temecula Valley Wine Country is an ideal place to excel in and enjoy top sport.
There’s an upside to sharing Shangri-La: the new events fast-tracked facility-wide upgrades. Ideal footing for the jumping, dressage, warm-up rings, and cross-country tracks led a host of improvements ready for the Galway Downs International Event & Horse Trials, October 31-November 3, featuring competition from Novice to CCI4*-L and including the popular Training Three-Day division.
“The equestrian facilities have undergone more improvements in the last 18 months than in all of the previous eight years,” says Ken Smith, who purchased the 242-acre property in 2010. He recently renewed a long-term contract with facilities and competition manager Robert Kellerhouse to keep the equestrian operation on the upward trajectory that’s brought it to national prominence and appeal.
The eventing community has treasured and supported Galway Downs since it began hosting competitions in 1999. Kellerhouse staged the West Coast’s first CCI4*-L (then called a 3*) in 2010. Enhancements have been constant since then and hit light speed when Nilforushan Equestrian Events launched the Temecula Valley National hunter/jumper circuit in 2018, and when the Adequan® West Coast Dressage Festival came this year with its World Cup and Pan Am Games-qualifying international divisions.
In addition to satisfying demanding equestrians’ good footing fetishes, Galway’s many improvements positively impact the experience of exhibitors, sponsors, and spectators. Exciting new stabling options, electricity and water-supply upgrades, new RV spots, and lovely landscaping enhance the already-strong appeal. The show’s Temecula setting is a rapidly-growing tourist destination with great dining, wine tasting, hot air ballooning, and other outdoor lifestyle attractions.
Pan Am Games team gold medalist Tamie Smith knows first-hand the scale of improvements and their impact. “Galway Downs has quickly become a premier equestrian facility that Olympic hopefuls, previous Olympic riders, and top professionals can compete at to prepare their horses and themselves for the world stage.”
Eventers count on Galway Downs to lead the way in cross-country creativity, challenge, and safety, notes Jay Hambly. The international course designer is fresh from serving on the design team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics test event and looks forward to working with his longtime Galway partner, Bert Wood.
“Bert knows Galway better than anyone,” says Hambly. Wood has been Galway’s course builder since the beginning, and Hambly became the venue’s course designer last year. Their top priority is incorporating the longest possible stretches of the same terrain and applying their creativity and safety expertise to the track’s many unique features and five water complexes.
“There’s lots to play with,” Hambly notes. “Bert has built a multitude of water obstacles, lots of mounds and bumps, and there are trees everywhere! Galway has always set the standard on the West Coast.” Managing the track footing is another of Wood’s specialties, Hambly adds. “He knows what equipment to use on each spot to tighten up or loosen the ground, so you have it consistent the whole way around.”
Australian Olympian Clayton Fredericks enjoyed Woodhouse’s temporary stabling during the 2012 London Games and recently brought it to the United States as FEI Stabling. In use now at several top East Coast events, FEI Stabling debuts at Galway Downs as an ideal showcase for its innovative efficiencies and comfort.
The Clearspan® covered stables have generously-sized, single row stalls separated by a 13’ aisle. Air circulates freely and horses can see each other but not be in contact, for safe socialization. Plusses include a 50-amp power supply for each of the 20 stalls, LED lighting and HDPE walls that clean easily for biosecurity and are kick and chew resistant.
Fredericks and Kellerhouse are longtime friends who served on the FEI Eventing Committee together. “We’ve had conversations about better event stabling for some time, and I’m happy to have made this arrangement for FEI Stabling at Galway for the next year.” Visiting Galway Downs International exhibitors can choose from 100 FEI Stabling stalls or thoroughly refurbished permanent stabling. “Our focus is always on serving the needs of our competitors while helping the sport grow and engaging more people in it – both exhibitors and fans,” Kellerhouse concludes.
Early sponsors of the Galway Downs International include Devoucoux, Parker Equine Insurance, and Auburn Labs. Entries open September 17 at www.evententries.com.
For updates on the show and more information, visit www.galwaydowns.net.
During the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, there will be two meetings of the USEA Board of Governors (BOG), one on Thursday, December 8th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and one on Sunday, December 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The USEA is run by a BOG of around twenty individuals. These individuals discuss and vote on important matters related to the organization and its members. BOG members come from all over our ten USEA areas and come from various backgrounds from grooms, to professional riders, to amateurs, to course designers, and much more. Each BOG member serves a three-year term.
USEA members from near and far are getting ready to converge on the historic city of Savannah, Georgia this week for the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention! With four full days jam-packed with educational seminars, committee meetings and social gatherings, the convention is sure to excite all members of the eventing community that will be in attendance. The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel this year, and we have all of the information you need to know to make the most of your experience!
As USEA members prepare for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, the USEA is pleased to share “The Business Toolkit For Eventers” from our educational partner STRIDER. This webinar is part of their popular Professional Development Series for Equestrians, which features experts from across the horse industry speaking on business topics relevant to equestrian sport.
If you look at HSH Blake’s competition record, it won’t take you long to understand why Caroline Martin is dreaming big with the7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Owned in partnership by Caroline Martin, Sherrie Martin and Molly Hoff, HSH Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass) has already seen much success in his short career, collecting the championship title at the 2020 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast 5-Year-Old Championship, several top 2 finishes at the CCI2* level and multiple top 10 finishes at the CCI3* level since stepping up this year.