When you’re a seasoned upper-level eventing professional, there are many idiosyncrasies you adopt along the way. James Alliston is no exception and recently his support crew — Helen Bouscaren and groom Golly Martin along with his team of students — put their heads together to compile a list of quirks and fun facts about this West Coast four-star rider.
Originally from Gloucestershire, England, and now based in California’s East Bay area, James has completed a total of seven CCI4* throughout his career on Parker and Jumbo’s Jake. Five of those completions came on Parker, the 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who picked up a top-30 finish this year in Kentucky. Perhaps the most consistent of James’ four-star partners, Parker has not a single cross country jump penalty on his FEI record.
Enjoy this fun “getting to know you” post — and maybe bring James a pack of Cheez-its next time you see him out and about!
1. James has two running styles: a casual half-jog and full on track sprint, which he displays depending on the urgency of the situation.
2. James is super-shy and doesn’t like crowds, but he’s also uber-competitive, especially when he and Helen are in the same division at shows.
3. He’s basically always eating and loves all manner of unhealthy orange American junk food (cheese puffs, Cheez-its, etc.) — the British would frown! He’s also not shy to take food from students/Golly/Helen, saying, “What you got there?” as he helps himself.
4. He’s very behind on technology, with no understanding of Facebook or how to use his phone. He always says “it’s broken” and it turns out to be on silent, etc. He’s astonishingly awful at taking videos on his phone and don’t even mention Snapchat or Instagram.
5. Helen and Golly must keep him well hydrated, especially at horse shows. They give him a water bottle with times written on it (“drink this much by 11 a.m.,” for example) to help keep him on track.
6. He is absolutely terrified of cops and as such won’t drive over 55 mph. Once he got pulled over for going too slow. But he stills drives his own horse(s) to Rolex every year, along with other California competitors.
7. He LOVES golf and plays tennis at least once a week. He jokes that the best part of Rolex is the golf! We think Parker disagrees.
8. He loves his horses and is very much involved in their care. He shows his favorites by who he takes out to hand graze most often!
9. He is a super supportive coach, and even when he’s riding 12 horses will still make time to coach each and every one of his students.
10. His parents, Petery and John, are the best! They often host other 4* riders/professionals/etc. when those folks are in England competing or horse shopping. They fly over to Rolex and watch live streams when they can, checking scores and calling him after every show.
Thanks for sharing, Team Alliston! You can learn more about James by visiting his website (which we’re guessing is probably maintained by someone other than James himself!) here.