Pan Am Games team gold medalist Tamra Smith and Mai Baum and five-star pairs Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 and Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin headline a strong Advanced field when Twin Rivers begins an exciting season of eventing competition this weekend.
Weather for the Winter Horse Trials looks distinctly un-wintery Feb. 28-March 1, as the Baxter family-owned venue on California's Central Coast welcomes 300-plus contenders. Joining the aforementioned pairs running Advanced are newly-anointed members of the USEF's U25 Eventing Program: Maddy Temkin, Kaylawna Smith-Cook, and Megan Skyes. The levels through Introductory will see future star horses and riders tackle new challenges.
Twin Rivers' 500 acres are green and tracks designed by new upper level course designer Hugh Lochore are full of new tests. Plus, teasers for what's to come at April's inaugural Spring International CCI4*-L, one of only six competitions at this rigorous level in the United States.
"They are a progressive bunch," says Lochore of the Baxter family. Along with five-star eventer Andrea Baxter, organizer Connie Baxter has extensive eventing experience and Whirlwind Excavating owner Jeff Baxter happily applies his expertise and equipment to bringing Lochore's ideas to life.
"The venue has interesting topography and it's a good canvas to play with," Lochore adds. "It's exciting when you put things on paper, then you have a team that is keen to get the bit between their teeth and make it happen." Lochore designed the Preliminary through Advanced courses; Marc Grandia designed the Intro through Training. Show Jumping course designer Jose Nava has colorful new obstacles to work with in the arena.
The Winter Horse Trials are presented by Auburn Labs, makers of adaptogenic APF Formula for horses, riders and dogs; and Professional's Choice, manufacturers of top-of-the-line sports medicine boots for horses. Supporting Sponsors include Best Western PLUS Black Oak, which offers great exhibitor deals on nearby lodging; and Riding Warehouse, the horse gear and supply company located in nearby San Luis Obispo.
Volunteer opportunities abound and all those helping out will have their name entered in a raffle for generous prizes. These include Twin Rivers entries, stabling and a cross-country schooling certificate; and a Family 4 Pack of tickets to the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari. More hours equals more raffle tickets!
For competition-related inquires, contact Christina Gray of Gray Area Events at [email protected].
James Alliston made out like a king earlier this summer at The Event at Rebecca Farm with wins in the CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L aboard Paper Jam and Nemesis respectively. We caught up with Alliston to chat about his horses, competing on the West Coast, his time in the States, and how it compares to competing in England.
Three clear show jumping rounds in the CCI4*-S at the Plantation Field International Three-Day Event have placed Allie Knowles in first, third, and sixth place with Ms. Poppins, Morswood, and Business Class all owned by Katherine O’Brien. Phillip Dutton and Quasi Cool, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Quo Vados I x B-Estelle) owned by Caroline Moran, kept their cool to put in a double clear round and move up to second from overnight third place.
It was a historic week for U.S. Eventing as American athletes achieved their best results ever in the CCIO4*-S at CHIO Aachen. The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team of Will Coleman and Off The Record, Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire, Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan, and Tamie Smith and Mai Baum took second place in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup – the highest result by a U.S. team at the prestigious event.
Perhaps one of the best reasons to be a member of USEA is the opportunity to qualify for and participate in the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. This year there was a record 1,178 entries and a waitlist of over 150. There were 1,009 pinnies handed out and 939 horses started the competition. All combined it made for the largest horse trials in USEA history. Competitions ran in all USEA divisions and additional prizes were given for teams, incentive programs, amateur, and young rider divisions.