Entries for the Woodside International Horse Trials, October 4-6, are filling fast as the September 17 deadline nears. Contenders from Intro to CCI4*-S will converge in one of the West Coast’s horsiest havens, The Horse Park at Woodside, for top competition at a super venue and to socialize during Friday and Saturday ringside dinners at the Grand Prix Arena.
Stabling, footing, and many other upgrades continue at the 272-acre venue located just an hour south of San Francisco. New stabling overlooking the Grand Prix Arena has received rave reviews all year and the arena itself has been freshly fluffed with GGT™ footing for the Woodside International. Plus, there are new tweaks to the cross-country track for Preliminary and Training level contenders.
Friday’s schedule is full of dressage for all levels, with the international divisions showcased in the Grand Prix Arena. Friday night, some of the international divisions’ show jumping phases will unfurl in the same beautiful ring. All three phases of international competition wrap up with Saturday’s cross-country, and that night an awards dinner featuring Catering by Dana’s famously fabulous food will be staged at the Grand Prix Arena.
Out on the Ian Stark-designed cross-country track, front-row seating is available in a new VIP tent at the North Water Complex. Light snacks, coffee, and soft drinks will enhance the splash-close view as pairs navigate their way through the exciting mid-course challenge.
Tickets for Friday and Saturday night dinners and the cross-country VIP tent can be purchased in advance at www.woodsideeventing.com.
Amber Levine has seven horses entered and a slew of students from Chocolate Horse Farm contending the Woodside International. It’s close to her Chocolate Horse Farm base in Petaluma, and she and her clients have contested the fall circuit fixture for many years. Several factors keep it fresh, fruitful, and fun for all involved.
“The courses are great,” Levine says. “Since (organizer) Robert Kellerhouse took over, there have been some serious upgrades and changes to the courses.” Levine’s string includes two CCI4*-S horses and two in the Novice division, and the Woodside courses offer perfect tests for every point on that spectrum. “The lower level courses are very jumpable for the young horses,” Levine says. “At the upper levels, the courses are a great stepping stone if you are preparing for Kentucky or Fair Hill because they are real. They use the land well and are very good with jump placement."
“West Coast riders are finally being recognized for producing great horses and riders,” Levine continues. “What Robert is doing has been a big piece of that.”
Fun is always a priority on what Levine calls the “traveling circus” of the eventing scene. “Woodside and Robert do a great job of making everybody feel welcome and the parties are always fun.”
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.