Oct 29, 2018

Winning in Washington for the USEA Classic Series at Spokane Sport Horse Farm

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
Photos courtesy of Alexis Larson, Alessandra Allen-Shinn, and Elizabeth Gold.

Two hours south of Canada and five hours east of Seattle lies Washington state’s second largest city, Spokane. “Near Nature, Near Perfect” is Spokane, Washington's motto and near perfect were the winners of the fourth annual Fall Spokane Sport Horse Farm Horse Trials. As summer fades to fall with dropping temperatures, colorful trees, and pumpkin spice, Spokane Sport Horse Farm hosted a USEA Classic Series event with a Training Three-Day (T3D), Novice Three-Day (N3D), and Beginner Novice Three-Day (BN3D) on October 4-7. The ‘near perfect’ winners were Alessandra Allen-Shinn on Mixologeigh, Alexis Larson on PL Diamond’s Inspiration, and Elizabeth Gold on Frigal.

Alessandra Allen-Shinn was introduced to eventing as a pony clubber and riding a Grulla Quarter Horse. “I was addicted, and then I spent the next 15 years trying to convince myself that bartending and working at a diesel shop was interesting enough,” said Allen-Shinn. Trading in the bar for a barn, Allen-Shinn shares how she found her winning mount, Mixologeigh, an off-the-track-Thoroughbred sourced from Leigh Gray at Thoroughbred Rehab Center in Southern California. “Mixologeigh and I met when I started working for Jil Walton, who like me, is a huge Thoroughbred fan. I have so far managed to keep the ride thanks to a sponsorship from ChubbyCov.”

Allen-Shinn and Mixologeigh on endurance day. Photo courtesy of Allen-Shinn.

“It was a fabulous weekend and my favorite part of the three-day was the second lap of steeplechase and that he dragged me around cross-country!” Allen-Shinn went on to describe Mixologeigh, or Mixio for short, as “a superhero” on the final day.

A passionate course designer, a Thoroughbred lover, and a dedicated competitor at Spokane H.T., Allen-Shinn explained, “I have been to almost every event at Spokane Sport Horse Farm and it’s one of my favorites. I especially love that Christel [the owner of Spokane Sport Horse Farm] is so willing to support eventing. Not only was it a great experience for Mixio, but also the long format morphs my ideas on course design.”

“After all, jumping a horse on cross-country after steeplechase is incomparable.”

Larson and PL Diamond’s Inspiration with their blue ribbon. Photo courtesy of Alexis Larson.

Some girls dream of becoming the homecoming queen or having their high school crush ask them to the school dance, but not Alexis Larson, the winner of the Novice Three-Day at Spokane Horse Trials. Choosing between high heels and helmets, Larson is happy she competed the weekend of October 4-7. “I had to choose between my freshman homecoming dance or the Spokane [Horse Trials]. I’m so glad I made the choice I did,” said Larson.

Barely reaching the double digits in horse hands, Larson learned to ride on a 10hh pony named Belle. The first blue ribbon Larson earned was when she was three years old in a lead line class aboard Belle. “I still have my blue ribbon,” Larson said with a smile. “I tried other sports, but nothing compared to my passion for riding.”

“I have high hopes for our future,” Larson said of PL Diamond’s Inspiration, an Irish Sport Horse mare that Larson’s mother, Malia Larson spotted in an online ad as a two-year-old filly. Now at six years old, PL Diamond’s Inspiration, also known as Izzy, has added a wire-to-wire win to her record. Resting on their dressage score, Larson and Izzy were victors of the Novice Three-Day. “[Izzy] has proved to be extremely brave and she is one of the most athletic horses I’ve ridden. In just a short few months, we’ve developed a very strong bond together.”

The top reason why Larson made the decision to ditch the dance was because of endurance day. “My favorite part had to be the phases on Saturday - roads and tracks, steeplechase, and cross-country, because I love jumping out in the field and letting her gallop.”

Gold and Frigal finishing their weekend with a blue ribbon. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gold.

A road with twists, turns, and bumps; all the pieces came together for Elizabeth Gold and Frigal as they led the Beginner Novice Three-Day from start to finish on a 27.9. “This was the first show where we finally put it all together and I finished on my dressage score!” emphasized Gold.

Frigal (pronounced Free-gall) who is known around the barn as Muchi (pronounced Mookie) can blame his German upbringing for the name pronunciations. Gold explained how she found the 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding, “Michele Pestl and I found Frigal in Bavaria [as] a 7-year-old stallion. I gelded him in Germany and imported him. He was extremely green and so initially my trainers, Marc Grandia and Allyson Green, did most of the showing, but I did a bit until an ‘unplanned dismount.” With the unplanned dismount resulting in a broken arm, Green helped to restart Frigal and get Gold back in the tack.

Back and better than ever, Gold’s favorite part of her winning weekend was split between endurance day and the educational opportunities. “We had our best round ever and easily made the time. I also really appreciated the educational opportunities the day before the competition. The steeplechase lesson with Wayne Quarles was really helpful.”

As for their future goals, Gold shared “I hope I’ll get to try a Novice Three-Day next year!”

Congratulations to the Classic Series winners: Elizabeth Gold, Alexis Larson, and Alessandra Allen-Shinn!

About the USEA Classic Series

The USEA Classic Series keeps the spirit of the classic long ­format three­-day events alive for Beginner Novice through the Preliminary levels. Competitors can experience the rush of endurance day, including roads and tracks, steeplechase, the vet box, and cross­ country, as well as participate in formal veterinary inspections and educational activities with experts on the ins and outs of competing in a long ­format three-­day event.

Riders who compete in a USEA Classic Series event during the year will have the chance to win a variety of prizes at the events and will also be entered in a drawing held at the USEA Year End Award Ceremony for a year’s supply of SmartPak supplements and a custom fitted Stackhouse and Ellis saddle. Click here to learn more about the USEA Classic Series.

The USEA would like to thank Parker Equine Insurance, FLAIR, SmartPak Equine, Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, and Eventing Training Online for sponsoring the USEA Classic Series.

May 12, 2021 Competitions

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Announces $300,000 Prize Money for Inaugural Event

The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced athletes and horses in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill (CCI5*-L) will be competing for $300,000 in prize money. Additionally, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing National Championship (CCI3*-L), running in conjunction with the 5 Star, will award $25,000 in prize money. Both events, as well as the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, will take place this October 14-17 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.

May 12, 2021 Education

Pre-Purchase Examination 101: With Dr. Shauna Spurlock

You’ve seen a horse you like. You’ve ridden it; you love it. The money’s right; you’ve agreed to buy it. What happens next?

Pre-purchase veterinary examinations are one of those topics that a roomful of horsey people could discuss - and argue amongst themselves about - for hours. For the amateur rider, that can be confusing and slightly alarming.

So, let’s simplify it. What is a pre-purchase examination, why are they done, and what should you expect?

May 11, 2021 Intercollegiate

Eyes on the Prize at the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships

The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships will take place later this month at the Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) in Lexington, Va. across May 27-30. Following the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan, the USEA is working with VHT organizer Andy Bowles to ensure the Championships are still a destination competition for all Intercollegiate event riders, packed full with an opening ceremony, the traditional “college town” area, the prestigious spirit award, and an abundance of prizes.

May 10, 2021 Eventing News

2021 FEI MER Changes effective July 1

The FEI passed rule changes impacting Minimum Eligibility Requirements in November 2020 that go into effect on July 1, 2021. The changes will impact athletes who are uncategorized, “D” and “C” athletes competing at the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI4*-L, and CCI5*-L levels. Please see below for the highlighted changes. The USEF requirements to compete at these levels remain unchanged, but please remember that the USEF requirements must be achieved within 12 months of the competition. These changes will be adopted into the USEF Eventing Rulebook by July 1. See Appendix 3 for qualification requirements.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Horse Clothing of the USEA