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Modified Match To Be Introduced at 2024 Woodside Spring Horse Trials

Nadia Vogt and Castle Larchfield Purdy. Photo by Tina Fitch Photography.

After the first competition at Modified was held at The Horse Park at Woodside in California in 2023, the level will be under an even bigger spotlight with the Modified Match that will be offered at the 2024 Woodside Spring Horse Trials that will take place from May 24-26.

The Modified Match will bring additional prestige, as well as prize money, to the level that is making a positive difference on the development of event horses and riders.

“The Modified is a really important level because it allows horse-and-rider combinations to make a more gradual transition from the lower to the upper levels of the sport in a much more predictable and safer way,” said Steve Roon, Executive Director of The Horse Park at Woodside.

The Modified Match will offer Horse and Rider divisions. Dressage will take place on Friday, May 24, in a large dressage ring with two judges—something that would typically be seen at championships or FEI levels. Cross-country will be on Saturday morning, May 25, and then show jumping will conclude the level later that night in conjunction with the Modified Match Dinner next to the Laughing Monk Arena. In addition to FEI-style ribbons and prizes, there will be prize money that starts at $1,000 per division with an additional $100 per rider added to make up the total amount. (There will also be “regular” Modified competition offered at the Woodside Spring Horse Trials.)

“For The Horse Park, we feel that the level is important enough that it should be highlighted in a special way during our May horse trials and doing it late in the afternoon as our signature show jumping class as we’re also having an arena-side reception to really enhance the spectator experience for both spectators and riders as well,” Roon said.

After approval of what would become eventing’s seventh recognized level by the USEA Board of Governors in 2016, the first Modified competitions with jumps at the height of 3 feet 5 inches were held in 2017, attracting a total of 28 starters. The number of Modified starters increased tenfold to 321 in 2018 and was 1,555 in 2022 when the level celebrated its five-year anniversary.

“Historically, the gap between Training (3 feet 3 inches) and Prelim (3 feet 7 inches) was significant and caused issues for horse-and-rider combinations as they tried to leap that gap,” Roon said. “The other great thing about Modified is that it’s a level that’s approachable for a lot more members of the sport.”
Four eventing venues in California now offer Modified, with The Horse Park at Woodside introducing the level at the 2023 Woodside Summer Horse Trials. Nadia Vogt and Castle Larchfield Purdy (Karistos x Hallo Purdy) won, a stepping stone for a new partnership at the time made up of a 17-year-old rider that had previously competed up to Training and a 21-year-old horse that had represented Puerto Rico at two Olympics with Lauren Billys Shady.

“The cross-country was great,” Vogt said after the victory on her dressage score of 29.5. “I’ve never done Prelim, but I thought it was a very good step-up for Prelim. I like that it followed the Preliminary track, and the course rode really nicely. There were a lot of open spots to gallop. The jumps were really nice, big, and bold.”

Vogt’s observations were what the team at The Horse Park at Woodside had in mind when tasking Bert Wood to design and build a Modified cross-country course.
“It rode beautifully; people said it looked ominous, but then afterward they came off satisfied and had a great sense of accomplishment because it rode well and was so aligned with the Preliminary course that it was a good test to get them ready for that,” said Victoria Klein, who serves on the Board of Governors of The Horse Park at Woodside.

After winning Woodside’s inaugural Modified in what was their second event together, Vogt and “Purdy” did their first FEI competitions at the one-star level that complements Modified to conclude their first season together. They have moved up to Preliminary in 2024, a testament to the role the Modified level plays in the progression through eventing’s levels. With the eventing community’s support, the Modified and one-star levels have become a significant part of the vision for the sport at The Horse Park at Woodside.

“Building the Modified course was only possible through the donations of many of our riders,” Klein said. “I enjoy seeing the many jump plaques that acknowledge their commitment to our sport.”

Entries for the Woodside Spring Horse Trials close TODAY, May 7. In addition, The Horse Park will also host the Woodside Summer Horse Trials from August 9-11 and the Woodside Fall International with FEI levels offered from October 4-6. For more information, visit the Woodside website here.

First FEI Victories and Final Preps for 5* Hopefuls Highlight 2024 Twin Rivers Spring International

James Alliston and Paper Jam. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Veterans and young riders shined at the 2024 Twin Rivers Spring International in Paso Robles, California, during the event from April 11-14.

As they look ahead to five-star competition in the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event in two weeks, James Alliston won the CCI4*-S with Paper Jam and the Advanced level with Karma, and Bec Braitling and Caravaggio II had their prep as the only competitors in a special five-star combined test that was offered during the first of the two international events to be held at Twin Rivers Ranch in 2024.

Young riders Elsa Warble, Gabriella Ringer, and Mackenzie Davison won their first FEI events. Warble, 16, captured the CCI3*-S with FE Unlimited. Ringer, 20, won the CCI2*-L with Get Wild. Davison, 21, captured the CCI1*-L in her FEI debut with Lockdown JPL.

In addition, the CCI3*-L victory by Erin Grandia and Hyacinth marked the first victory in an FEI level for Grandia, who made her international debut in 2007. Megan McIver and Igor B won their second CCI2*-S in a row following victory at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials in Temecula, California.

THE VETERANS

James Alliston and Paper Jam. Photo by Ride On Photo.

The victory by Paper Jam in the CCI4*-S represented the first win for the 15-year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding out of a Thoroughbred dam (Paparazzo x Reely Jamin) since the CCI4*-L at Galway in November 2022. After not competing in 2023 because of an injury, Alliston is now eyeing a return to the five-star in Lexington following the four-star victory at Twin Rivers on a final score 43.7 that saw them add just one rail in show jumping and time penalties to their dressage score. Alliston will also point the 10-year-old bay Oldenburg mare Karma (Escudo II x Travita) to her first CCI5*-L in Kentucky following a win at Advanced at Twin Rivers that saw them jump clear and add just one second of time in show jumping for a finishing score 35.0.

“They were both really good,” Alliston said. “It was a great course for a final Kentucky prep, and I was happy with how they felt.”

Because of heavy rain on Saturday, organizers moved the FEI cross-country rounds up to Friday, and all FEI show jumping rounds took place on Saturday.

“Conditions were tough today in the show jumping with all the rain, but they performed real well and I was very happy,” Alliston said. “Many thanks to the Baxter family and Twin Rivers for changing the schedule around to give the horses the best conditions possible and avoid doing [cross-country] in the worst weather.”

Paper Jam and Karma will be joined in Lexington by Caravaggio II and Bec Braitling, who did the five star combined test at Twin Rivers with a dressage score of 45.4 and had one rail and three seconds of time penalties in show jumping. Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses’ 13-year-old black British Sport Horse gelding (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) also did the dressage test ride for the four-star competition. Braitling said she approached the weekend from a strategic standpoint.

Bec Braitling and Caravaggio. Photo by Ride On Photo.

“All systems go!” she said. “My score on the flat wasn’t amazing as I decided to school some canter walks in the test instead of the four changes. It was great to get in the ring and ride the test in a show setting. Also the XC was about to start, so he was for sure conflicted which phase he was REALLY supposed to be doing! He jumped SUPER in the very wet conditions. I’m excited!”

In the CCI3*-L, Hyacinth and Grandia relished the move-up in level for their first win as a pair and her first victory in her 19th FEI event dating back to 2007. (Hyacinth’s previous victory in a USEA recognized event came at the Preliminary level at Aspen in Washington in 2021 with Erin’s husband, Marc.)

“Winning at Twin Rivers was extra special because my husband, Marc, and I base our business here for two months every spring, so it really feels like a win on home turf,” Erin said.

Erin Grandia and Hyacinth. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Hyacinth was second after a dressage score of 31.3, jumped clear with eight seconds of time penalties to move into the lead after cross-country, and added one rail in show jumping to finish with a winning score of 38.5.

“Hyacinth is really a long format type horse,” she said. “She is a strong galloper, so having that extra time and space to let her go a bit more was a great feeling. She’s so brave on cross-country and she makes it feel like she’ll jump anything she’s pointed at. The show jumping has always been our hardest phase and we’ve worked really hard on strategies to keep the rails up, so I was really happy with how she jumped today, too.”

Grandia, who took over ownership of Hyacinth in 2024, said she will point the gray Dutch Warmblood mare (Contendro I x Vesper) to the CCI3*-S at Aspen in June.
“I want to give a special thank you to her breeder, Jessica Rosch, who was a great supporter and owner for me for several years before allowing me the opportunity to take over ownership of Hyacinth this year,” she said.

Two weeks after winning the CCI2*-S at Galway, McIver and Igor B won the same level at Twin, finishing on their dressage score of 30.6. The 11-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vittorio x Erica B) is now based in California after competing up to the four-star level with Kristina Hall Jackson in Great Britain.
“One of my amazing owners, Leo Wang, purchased him for me as a next step for my career goals,” McIver said. “It feels as if the sky is the limit with him, and he has made quite the impression so far Stateside with back-to-back two-star wins at Galway and now Twin.”

McIver said she will move up “Rupert” to Intermediate and then three-star at Rebecca Farm in Montana.

“He is quite an exciting horse for the future,” she said. “Our partnership is relatively new. I’ve only had him here in the U.S. for two months. But, we seem to just be cracking on as a team.”

THE YOUNG RIDERS

Elsa Warble and FE Unlimited. Photo by Ride On Photo.

In the CCI3*-S, Warble and FE Unlimited were second after a dressage score of 32.0 behind the 2022 USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old West Coast champion That’s Me Z (Take A Chance On Me Z x Venetia).

“Coming out of the court after our dressage test was a really special moment because it was one of our best tests yet, and I know there is still a lot of room to grow,” Warble said.

Then, the 16-year-old rider and 10-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding (Uriko x Viona III) moved into the lead by jumping clear on cross-country with the second-fastest round, adding just two seconds of time penalties. They were double clear in show jumping to win with a score of 32.8. McIver and Elle (Con Caletto x Vamp’s Tude) were second after also finishing second in the CCI3*-S at Galway.

“It means the world to me to win on ‘Axel,’” Warble said. “He truly is my horse of a lifetime. It’s been a couple of years in the making and to have all the pieces come together at Twin with all the people who have been there supporting me along the way—Mickayla Howard, Bec Braitling, and Tamie Smith just to name a few—along with the whole West Coast eventing community was really special.”

Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild. Photo by Ride On Photo.

This same event in 2018—then known as the Twin Rivers CCI, CIC & H.T.—marked the first competition together for Ringer and Get Wild. They were 14 years old and 6 years old, respectively, at the time. The dark bay Dutch Warmblood gelding (Plot-Blue x Cantana) was coming off a third-place finish in the 2017 USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships with Matthew Flynn as part of a promising 5-year-old class that also included future five-star horses Chin Tonic HS (Chin Champ x Wildera), Ferrie’s Cello (Chello III VDL x Karelza), and Miks Master C (Mighty Magic x Qui Luma CBF).

Ringer and Get Wild won their first event together at the Novice level. Almost six years later to the day, the 20-year-old rider and 12-year-old horse celebrated their first FEI victory in the CCI2*-L. They led after each phase and finished with a score of 27.4, adding just one second of time penalties in show jumping to the only sub-30 dressage score at the level.

“I am beyond proud of Get Wild this weekend and feel grateful to be his partner,” Ringer said. “He is such a special horse, and this win makes me excited about what we’re going to accomplish together. I was particularly happy with how we performed on a challenging cross-country track. He had plenty of run and felt really good out there. We have been working so hard on our partnership, and I am thrilled to have it come together in all three phases this weekend.”

Mackenzie Davison and Lockdown JPL. Photo by Ride On Photo.

On the other hand, Davison’s first event with Lockdown JPL at the final USEA-recognized horse trials held at Copper Meadows in Ramona, California, in September 2021 was not as auspicious. They had two jump penalties on cross-country at the Beginner Novice level. But, less than three years later, the 21-year-old rider and 8-year-old bay Irish Sport Horse gelding (KEC Maximum Joe x KEC Kingston) made their FEI debut a winning one, finishing on their dressage score of 26.2 in Twin Rivers’ CCI1*-L.
They also won at the Modified level at the Galway two weeks earlier, and it’s been a quick rise up the levels for the young rider and horse.

“I really came into this event just hoping to have a positive experience and ride my best,” Davison said. “My horse is still green and can get a bit overwhelmed, so at every show my only goal is to give him confident rides. We’ve had struggles in all the phases at some point over our time together, but this weekend I could really feel all the work we’ve been doing come together.”

LOOKING AHEAD

Megan McIver and Igor B. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Following the Twin Rivers Spring International, Twin Rivers Ranch will next host the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials from June 27-30. The second FEI event in Paso Robles in 2024 will be the Twin Rivers Fall International from September 19-22. Then, USEA-recognized competition for the year will conclude with the Young Event Horse West Coast Championships on October 25-26.

The 2024 Twin Rivers Spring International marked the FEI debut for 2023 YEH 5-year-old West Coast champion Camelot PJ (Colman x Hauptstutbuch Evita), who finished third on his dressage score of 29.0 in the CCI1*-L with Andrea Baxter. Baxter was also 12th in the CCI2*-S with YEH alumnus The Big Easy (Mr Lincoln B x PLS Hippo Q) in the FEI debut for the horse she affectionately refers to as “Caesar” and “Yoda.”

“It’s been so fun to continue producing my two 5-year-olds,” Baxter said. “Caesar/Yoda/The Big Easy won the Safe Harbor Award at the championships. He woke up this spring so trained and cottoned onto the job. He has effortlessly stepped up to Prelim and stepped around the two-star with his eyes closed. He is so cool. PJ is a totally different type, more of a Ferrari and has become a little more careful as the jumps got bigger, so I opted to keep him at one-star for a little longer. I’ve never done a new style one-star, so that was a lot of fun and such a useful new level for developing future upper-level horses.”

The full list of winners from the 2024 Twin Rivers Spring International:

CCI4*-S: James Alliston and Paper Jam (43.7)
CCI3*-L: Erin Grandia and Hyacinth (38.5)
CCI3*-S: Elsa Warble and FE Unlimited (32.8)
CCI2*-L: Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild (27.4)
CCI2*-S: Megan McIver and Igor B (30.6)
CCI1*-L: Mackenzie Davison and Lockdown JPL (26.2)
5* CT: Bec Braitling and Caravaggio II (50.6)
Advanced: James Alliston and Karma (35.0)
Open Intermediate: Hanni Sreenan and Ebenholtz (42.6)
Open Preliminary: Rachel Brickman and Finally DG (24.9)
Preliminary Rider: Mickayla Howard and Miss Tique (32.1)
Open Modified: Tommy Greengard and I’m All In (26.5)
Modified Rider: Saulo Tristao and Kremer VD Falieberg (26.8)
Open Training: Amber Birtcil and Milagro (23.9)
Sr. Training Rider: Lauren Henry and Carel Cruiser (30.0)
Jr. Training Rider: Anya Ostrovsky and Coco Cassana (32.1)
Training Amateur: Reese Blinks and I’M Jaguar (22.9)
Open Novice: Tommy Greengard and Casa de Prestige (24.7)
Sr. Novice Rider: Christine Murphy and Made You Look (32.8)
Jr. Novice Rider: Josephine Clark and Cinzano (22.8)
Novice Amateur: Bari Boersma and Reverie GWF (26.4)
Novice Horse: Nicholas Cwick and O’Malley (29.7)
Open Beginner Novice A: Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Only-Else (29.4)
Open Beginner Novice B: Tommy Greengard and Optimistic Sol (22.9)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider: Molly Johnson and Lexicon (27.1)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider: Michaela Smith and Cashmaker (25.9)

Twin Rivers Spring International (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

Record Field Size for FEI Levels at 2024 Twin Rivers Spring International

The largest field for the international levels of eventing in the history of Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, is scheduled to compete in the 2024 Twin Rivers Spring International from April 11-14. The event will feature FEI competition in the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-L, CCI2*-S, and CCI1*-L. National levels will go from Beginner Novice up to Advanced, as well as a five-star combined test and intercollegiate, interscholastic, and adult team challenges.

The year after Tamie Smith and Mai Baum won the CCI5*-L at the Kentucky Three-Day Event to become the first American pair since Phillip Dutton and Connaught in 2008 and West-Coast-based tandem since Derek di Grazia and Sasquatch in 1985 to capture top honors in Lexington, three entries in the 2024 five-star field will be using the Twin Rivers Spring International as their final prep.

Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio II. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Bec Braitling, who is based at Twin Rivers and represents Australia internationally, will compete with longtime partner Caravaggio II in the five-star combined test, as well as do the dressage test ride for the four-star competition. They are eyeing their first five-star together at the Kentucky Horse Park, where they competed in the CCI4*-S in 2023. Braitling and “Ernie” were one of 12 out of 49 in the 2023 Kentucky four-star with zero jumping penalties and finished 23rd overall before embarking on a trip to Europe to represent Australia in international competition.

“It’s such a long process with these horses, so any time you get the chance to go do these things, you like to jump on it, that’s for sure,” Braitling said. “He’s my buddy.”

The Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event would represent Braitling’s return to eventing’s highest level for the first time since she rode Just A Lady at Adelaide in Australia in 2003. She and Arnell Sporthorses’ 13-year-old black British Sport Horse gelding (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) are also long-listed for the Australian eventing team at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

“For me the big focus is doing a five-star,” Braitling said. “A lot of people that are going to end up doing [the Olympics] are going to be looking at a different preparation, but I feel like with him, you don’t get many chances to do a five-star. So, that’s my biggest focus for this year.”

James Alliston and Karma. Photo by Ride On Photo.

James Alliston is using Twin Rivers as his final prep for the Kentucky five-star with Karma at the Advanced level and with Paper Jam in the CCI4*-S. Kentucky would be the first five-star for Karma, a 10-year-old bay Oldenburg mare (Escudo II x Travita). She was eighth in the CCI4*-S there in 2023. Then, she won the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International before representing the United States and finishing 14th, the highest for an American, at the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Netherlands CCIO4*- NC-L at Military Boekelo in Enschede, Netherlands.

“Everything she’s done, she’s done it well up to this point,” Alliston said. “So, hopefully the massive jumps and all of that doesn’t back her off too much, and she can go as she’s been going.”

Paper Jam is in the midst of a comeback after not competing in 2023. The 15-year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding (Paparazzo x Reely Jamin) has finished second in events at Advanced-Intermediate and Advanced at Ram Tap in Fresno, California, in 2024.

“I wasn’t going to do the five-star to be honest; I was probably going to do the four-star [in Kentucky], and I still might,” Alliston said. “But, he’s going really well, and he has quite a lot of experience at four-star. He’s just had a year out with an injury, but he’s come back. They never forget anything, and they always have that experience. He doesn’t feel that rusty. Obviously five-star is a big ask, and they need to be at the top of their game. So, I’ll see how this show goes.”

There are a total of 70 entries across the FEI levels at the Twin Rivers Spring International in 2024. The most previously was the 68 that competed the first time Twin Rivers offered international competition during the spring in 2006. There were 56 competitors at the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International after 17 ran in 2022.

After Twin Rivers featured its largest field for the 2023 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) West Coast Championships since the West Coast Championships were first held as a standalone event at Twin Rivers in 2020, some of the YEH alumni will be making their FEI debuts.

Andrea Baxter and Camelot PJ. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Twin-Rivers-based Andrea Baxter and Camelot PJ (Colman x Hauptstutbuch Evita), the 5-year-old champions, are entered in the CCI1*-L. Baxter also rides The Big Easy (Mr Lincoln B x PLS Hippo Q), sixth in last year’s 5-year-old championship, in the CCI2*-S. The CCI2*-S is the largest FEI level at the 2024 Twin Rivers Spring International with 24 entries.

“They’ve all just stepped up the levels, and it’s kind of fun having them all showing up at the same time, Baxter said. “This time last year, they all did their first Novice in April, and a year later we’re doing a two-star on The Big Easy and the one-star on the other two.”

Baxter is also entered with Adventure (Avos Jordan Z x Rockmount Lillie) in the CCI1*-L. This will be Baxter’s first FEI competition since the same event in 2022 when she and Laguna Seca (Linaro x Indy 500) won the CCI3*-S.

“I’m excited,” said Baxter, who will also compete at the Beginner Novice level during the weekend. “I kept joking with everybody that I was retired after Indy [500] and Laguna Seca. I sold Laguna Seca to a young rider and restocked, and I’ve been doing that over the last couple years. It felt like I was out of it for a while, but here I am back again.”

Molly Duda and Disco Traveler. Photo by Ride On Photo.

After winning the Advanced level at the 2024 Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials, Molly Duda and Disco Traveler (Donatelli x Cadence) are part of the field of seven for the CCI4*-S. They’re coming off a second-place finish to Mai Baum in their four-star debut at the Galway Downs International H.T. in Temecula, California. Smith is entered in the CCI4*-S with Julianne Guariglia’s Pierre’s Farceur du Bochard (Con Air x Ariane du Bochard), who competed at the three-star level with Ugo Provasi in France in 2023.

In the CCI3*-L, the highest long-format level offered, James Alliston will ride Cora, who won the Intermediate level at this year’s Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials. Wife Helen Alliston will be aboard Call Me Rudi (Clooney x Genia), who won at Intermediate at Ram Tap in November 2023. Both horses will be moving up to CCI3*-L for the first time.

“He’s doing his first three-long, so that’s quite exciting,” Helen Alliston said. “He’s feeling good; he’s feeling ready. So, he’ll do that, and then I’ll probably just put him out in the field after that while I go cheer on James in Kentucky.”

She added about Call Me Rudi, “He’s one of my favorite horses I’ve ever ridden. I’ve got very high hopes for him. His jump is 10 out of 10. He has a lot of Thoroughbred in him, so he can gallop well.”
Dressage for the CCI4*-S and CCI2*-S will take place on Thursday and for all other levels on Friday. The short-format FEI levels will also show jump on Friday. All FEI levels will do cross-country on Saturday, and the long-format FEI levels will conclude with show jumping on Sunday.

Twin Rivers Spring International (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring] [Live Stream]

A Look into the Crystal Ball of West Coast Eventing at Twin Rivers

Molly Duda and Disco Traveler. Ride On Photo.

The 2024 Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials in Paso Robles, California, showed how much there is to be excited about for the future of West Coast eventing.

Molly Duda and Disco Traveler moved up to the Advanced level for the first time and won— setting the horse and young rider up to make their four-star debut this year. James Alliston, who campaigned Karma to be the 2023 Bates USEA Mare of the Year, showcased another speedy bay mare in Cora for her first victory at the Intermediate level. At the Preliminary level, Tamie Smith won the Open division with Sumas Tina Turner in the U.S. debut for the Irish Sport Horse mare that previously competed up to the three-star level with Australian Olympian Kevin McNab in Great Britain. In the Preliminary Rider division, Lex D ridden by Audrey Sanborn won his first blue ribbon since capturing the 2021 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championship for 5-year-olds, and it was Sanborn’s first victory at the upper levels in a USEA-recognized event.

Duda, who moved up to and won her three-star debut at the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International for her first FEI victory at the age of 18, took the next step in her promising young career at Twin Rivers’ first recognized event of 2024.

“The weekend was absolutely surreal,” she said. “It was both my and Disco’s first Advanced, so my goal was just to finish on a number, but taking the win was beyond what I ever imagined. It is truly a testament to the partnership I have built with this horse over the years and the team behind us that makes all of this possible—especially my wonderful coaches, Mickayla Howard, Tamie Smith, Bec Braitling, and Robyn Fisher.”

“Just to finishing on a number” turned out to be finishing on the lowest number for Duda and Disco. Duda and the 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Donatelli x Cadence) were second after a dressage score of 36.6, moved into the lead with the fastest round on Morgan Rowsell’s Advanced cross-country course by adding 12.0 time penalties, and jumped clear and added two seconds of time penalties in show jumping to finish on a score of 49.4.

“Moving forward, the plan is for Disco to run the CCI4*-S at Galway Downs [California] later this month and aim for the CCI4*-L at Rebecca Farm [Montana] this summer,” Duda said. “Disco continues to exceed every expectation of him, and I’m beyond excited for the rest of the season with him.”

In second and third at Advanced were two California-based five-star riders with Bec Braitling and Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) just 0.7 points back in second and Tamie Smith and Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R) in third. Duda credits the support of and camaraderie with the top-level West Coast eventers for her growth.

“On the first day, Tamie led a cross-country course walk for the entire Advanced division, and everyone walked the lines together and discussed strategies,” Duda said. “Tamie’s generosity is infectious, and the sense of community she creates among the competitors is truly special.”

James Alliston and Cora. Ride On Photo.

As he looks ahead to the five-star debut for Karma (Escudo II x Travita) at the 2024 Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event, Alliston is quickly moving Cora (Commissario x La-Montana) up the levels.

“The first thing, she’s massive,” Alliston said about the 9-year-old bay Hanoverian mare. “She’s really, really tall. She’s probably the tallest horse I’ve ridden. I don’t know exactly what she sticks at, but she must be 18 hands—really big, enormous. She’s German. She’s kind of cool — she doesn’t look like she’d be super speedy, but she’s a really good galloper and has all the pieces. So, we’re excited.”

Their first event together at the Novice level came at the Twin Rivers Fall International in September 2022. Then 2023 saw them start the year at Training and finish at Intermediate. They were the fastest on Adri Doyal’s Intermediate cross-country at the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials, adding 1.2 time penalties, and then show jumped clear to finish with a score of 34.2. James’ wife, Helen Alliston, was second with Call Me Rudi (Clooney x Genia).

“We got her with just 90 days under saddle,” Alliston. “She’s come along quite quickly and been pretty straightforward to move up the levels. It’s been nice. She’s one of those ones that does everything quite easily so far, so you feel like you could go quite quickly with her.”

Tamie Smith and Sumas Tina Turner. Ride On Photo.

Then at Preliminary, Sumas Tina Turner (Quantino x Sumas Fanny Brice) and Tamie Smith were “simply the best” in the Open division, finishing on their dressage score of 23.2 and leading after each phase. The 8-year-old chestnut Irish Sport Horse mare whose biggest career victory came in the CCI2*-L at Mallow in Ireland in 2023 with McNab represents another promising eventing prospect that Smith campaigns for owner Julianne Guariglia. Smith previously rode Guariglia’s Solaguayre California (Casparo x Solaguayre Calandria) up to the five-star level.
Sanborn and Lex D (Freeman VDL x Berber), an 8-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding, finished on their dressage score of 22.4 in the Preliminary Rider division in the important win for their careers.

Audrey Sanborn and Lex D. Ride On Photo.

The 2024 Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials were run against a backdrop of rainy weather in California’s wine country of Paso Robles.

“The show was exceptionally well run, and the organizers did a great job rearranging the schedule with the rain to ensure the quality of the footing for the upper-level horses,” Duda said. “Morgan [Rowsell] designed a fantastic cross-country course, which asked a lot of challenging technical questions but ended up riding really well.”

In addition to adapting the schedule to the weather, show organizers also sealed the dirt-based cross-country tracks overnight and adjusted which jumps would be offered based on the changing conditions.

“We’re so appreciative of how our riders came together to make this a successful first recognized event of the year at Twin Rivers,” organizer Connie Baxter said. “When conditions are tough, you really see how special the eventing community on the West Coast is.”

Twin Rivers will next host the Twin Rivers Spring International from April 11-14 offering FEI levels up to four-star. Entries opened on February 27 and close on March 26. The Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials will run from June 27-30 up to the Advanced level and also offer Twin’s first Young Event Horse competitions on the road to the 2024 USEA Young Event Horse West
Coast Championships that will take place October 25-26. Twin Rivers will also host the Twin Rivers Fall International from September 19-22.

Twin Rivers Winter H.T. (Paso Robles, CA) [Website][Scoring]

Camelot PJ and Oxford K Deliver Fairytale Finishes at Young Event Horse West Coast Championships

The 2023 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) West Coast Championships came down to the final rides in both the 4- and 5-year-old divisions to crown a champion. Camelot PJ and Andrea Baxter recorded the best jumping score on Saturday’s second day of competition at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, to move from sixth to first to win the 5-year-old championship. Oxford K and Amber Birtcil also had the best jumping score for the 4-year-olds to break the tie Birtcil had with another of her horses in Oriental Star after dressage and conformation on day one to win the 4-year-old championship.

This year’s YEH West Coast Championships continued to raise the bar for the top eventing prospects on the West Coast. The 32 horses made up of 18 5-year-olds and 14 4-year-olds represented the largest field since the West Coast Championships were first held as a standalone event at Twin Rivers in 2020.

Baxter, who has experienced eventing success up to the five-star level, said she was particularly proud of this victory because of her passion for working with young horses and serving on the USEA’s Young Event Horse committee.

“This program has been very special to me,” Baxter said. “I remember being able to compete Indy 500 when we first hosted the YEH championships at Twin Rivers in 2011, and that was so valuable early in her journey to becoming a five-star horse. When we gave the West Coast championships their own home here starting in 2020, we decided to turn it into a real FEI event where the young horses get to be showcased in the forelight. It gives them an opportunity that hopefully prepares them for what they hopefully will become.”

Andrea Baxter and Camelot PJ. Tina Fitch Photography.

Camelot PJ’s victory with a score of 85.94 out of a possible 100 was highlighted by having the best score from championship judges Marilyn Payne from the United States and Christian Schacht from Germany among the 5-year-olds for cross-country efforts (26.4 out of 30) and for overall evaluation for rideability, between fences, and open gallop (13.75 out of 15). Camelot PJ also had the second-best score for conformation (8.9 out of 10), show-jumping efforts (12.3 out of 15), and general impression as a potential four- or five-star event horse (9.2 out of 10). The overall score represents a weighted total of each mark with 10 percent for conformation, 20 percent for dressage, and 70 percent for jumping and galloping.

“To ride him, he is just effortless,” Baxter said. “He jumps with scope for days. He lands light as a feather. He gallops. He’s a beautiful mover. He’s the smartest horse you’ll ever come across. He’s a little suspicious, a little spooky, and quirky, but just everything about it is self-awareness, and he loves the job. He just plays with the jumps, and he’s the type of horse that, if we all had horses like this, we’d be winning medals. So, in my eyes, he’s just unbeatable, and it’s cool that the judges could see that, too.”

The bay roan Hanoverian gelding (Colman x Evita) goes by the barn of “The Hustler” because of his attitude, with Baxter saying that his theme songs are “Hustlin’” by Rick Ross and “You Can Do It” by Ice Cube.

“He’s tricky, he’s quirky, but he’s very self-aware and very brave at the jumps,” Baxter said. “He loves the job and loves the game.”

Birtcil finished second the 5-year-old championship with the bay Dutch Warmblood gelding Nevada (Il Est Balou x Onile W), culminating a big weekend for her highlighted by the win in the 4 year-old championship with the bay Dutch Warmblood gelding Oxford K (Grand Slam VDL x Walzing Patty). Her Cellar Farm Corp owned six horses in the 4-year-old championship—four ridden by Birtcil and two ridden by Bec Braitling—with all six finishing in the top-seven placings.

Amber Birtcil and Nevada. Tina Fitch Photography.

“Oh, I love it,” Birtcil said. “I think it’s the best. I mean, to go in the Flag Ring and the flags get going for dressage, and they have to cope with that. But, it’s such a laidback, easygoing atmosphere that’s it’s so inviting for them. And, it’s decorated so beautifully. They really make it such a big deal here that I think it’s the perfect thing. That’s why anything that’s 4 and 5 in my barn I drag out and has to come.”

Oxford K’s sire, Grand Slam VDL, is also the sire of the 8-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding
Kuno SMH, who competed in the CCI4*-S 8/9-Year-Old class at the Blenheim Palace International in
Great Britain in September. His dam, Walzing Patty, is the dam of three show jumpers that have
competed at 1.40 meters—one based in California, one in Europe, and one in Iran.

Amber Birtcil and Oxford K. Tina Fitch Photography.

“Oxford” won with a finishing score of won with a finishing score of 83.06 and recorded the highest score among the 4-year-olds for conformation (8.4 out of 10), for general impression as a future four- or five-star eventer (9.0 out of 10), for cross-country efforts (26.1 out of 30), and for overall evaluation for rideability, between fences, and open gallop (13.0 out of 15).

“He’s super quirky,” Birtcil said. “He’s hard to get on. He’s a bit of an odd duck. Those ones tend to stay. He does suit me. He’s very comfortable. I do like his personality even though he is odd, but the easy ones are the easy ones I generally sell.”

Braitling rode the Cellar Farm Corp’s bay Dutch Warmblood mare Olalandra (Falaise De Muze x
Gilandra) to second-place in the 4-year-old championship.

“I was riding them for Amber, and I hadn’t jumped them until today with the warmup jumps,” Braitling said of her two catch rides. “I had no plan. It’s kind of almost more fun doing it that way on 4-year-olds. Basically, I think riding 4-year-olds is like having no plan anyways, so it’s perfect.”

Olalandra was the lone mare in the 4-year-old field against 13 geldings.

“It’s funny, and I think it goes in rotations,” Braitling said. “I was just in Europe, and I feel like all there were were a million mares at the top level. I think one deterrent for me if you’re importing is that it’s expensive to bring mares in. But she was phenomenal. She’s an old soul that one.”

Bec Braitling and Olalandra. Tina Fitch Photography.

Sophie Stocks and her bay Irish Sport Horse gelding Rosco (Tyson x Kah Lasina) finished third. Birtcil and the Cellar Farm Corp’s chestnut Thoroughbred gelding Smarter World (Smart Bid x Circle the World) won The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program Award as the highest-placing former racehorse in seventh overall. The bay Thoroughbred gelding Check the Boxes (Box Score x Multiplyingtheheat) ridden by Tommy Greengard and co-owned by Greengard and Andrea Pfeiffer won The Go Get ’Em Award, In Memory of Don Trotter for the best gallop score with a perfect 10 for his gallop.

For the 5-year-olds, third-place went to Jordan Linstedt and her bay Hanoverian gelding LS Crown
Royal (by Comte). Ashley Horowitz and her grey Irish Sport Horse gelding Monbeg Salt Fever
(Womanizer x Eden Breeze) in fourth were the highest-finishing pair that also competed in the 2022 USEA YEH West Coast Championships, with “Salty” also finishing fourth as a 4-year-old. There were six horses from last year’s YEH 4-year-old championship, as well as the 4-year-old champion and reserve champion from last year’s USEA Future Event Horse West Coast Championships that were in this year’s YEH 5-year-old championship.

The special awards for the 5-year-old championship were The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program Award won by the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding Wynnville (Lakerville x Tebowing) ridden by Ella Garcia. The Big Easy, a chestnut Irish Sport Horse gelding (Mr Lincoln B x PLS Hippo Q) ridden by Baxter, won The Safe Harbor Award given to the 5-year-old with the most graceful and rider friendly performance throughout the competition.

“The Big Easy couldn’t be a more fitting winner,” Baxter said. “Nicknamed ‘Yoda,’ he displayed his perfection by standing like a total gentleman in the middle of the ring while everyone else victory galloped around him. He’s a gentle giant with scope, talent, and mental capacity for any sport. He’s the barn favorite.”

As for her overall winner, Camelot PJ, Baxter said, “The sky is the limit.”

Links Results | Website

Rising Stars Crowned in Return of FEI Competition at Woodside

Tommy Greengard said he was “a little excited, a little nervous” before competing in both his and his horse Joshuay MBF’s first four-star at the Twin Rivers Fall International in September. They finished third, and that experience set them up for what would then be their first four-star victory as one of the West’s top up-and-coming eventing pairs two weeks later in the Woodside Fall International.

Also highlighting the event that saw the return of international competition to The Horse Park at Woodside in California for the first time since 2021 was the three-star win by Helen Alliston and Flinterro Z on the same weekend that her husband, James, and Karma were the top finishers for United States at the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Netherlands CCIO4*-NC-L at Military Boekelo in Enschede, Netherlands.

Stephanie Goodman and Elwenda DP won their first international event together in the two-star, and Josh Barnacle and Skyrise captured the inaugural one-star held at Woodside.

There was a festive atmosphere that complemented Woodside’s hosting its first FEI event in two years with a reception on Thursday honoring the gold medal by Tracy Bowman and Jolie Wentworth at the 2023 FEI Para Driving World Championships, a happy hour hosted by Laughing Monk Brewery during the FEI show jumping rounds on Friday, and a high-energy awards ceremony for the FEI levels during the competitors’ dinner on Saturday.

Greengard, 24, can now add a victory in the CCI4*-S at the 2023 Woodside Fall International to his list of accomplishments that also includes wins in the 2022 USEA Young Event Horse 5-Year-Old West Coast Championships and in the 2022 Intermediate Championship at the American Eventing Championships, as well as two FEI victories at the two-star level.

Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF. Tina Fitch Photography

At Woodside, he and Joshuay MBF (Foreign Affair x Fernacchy MBF) led after dressage with a score of 26.8 and jumped clear in show jumping and on cross-country, just adding time penalties for their finishing score of 47.6.

“The whole thing was a highlight,” Greengard said at Saturday’s awards ceremony. “It was our second four-star. He did a really good dressage test, and he jumped super last night. So, I was just trying not to get in his way today. We’ve joked since he was a young horse just to try to stay out of his way and let him win, so it was nice to be able to that today.”

Greengard said that he would next point the 9-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding to the CCI4*-L at The Eventing Championships at Galway Downs in Temecula, California, on November 1-5 and that their goal next year could include the CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

A trip to the East next year could also be in the cards for Helen Alliston after she and Flinterro Z (Figaro B x Sara’s Muse), an 8-year-old bay Zangersheide gelding, won their second three-star event this year in the CCI3*-S at the Woodside Fall International. They led after a dressage score of 28.5, dropped to second after one rail in show jumping, and went back into the lead with the level’s second-fastest cross-country round that added 6.4 time penalties to finish with a score of 38.9.

“I’ve just been really trying to give him as diverse an education as I can,” Helen said. “I know I show mostly in California, but Derek [di Grazia] now designs at Woodside. So, I actually skipped Twin a couple weeks ago to focus on this show because Derek’s courses are definitely different than everyone else’s, and they’re quite difficult. With all horses, especially Flinterro, he needs to see a lot of different styles of cross-country and see a lot of different questions before he moves up to Advanced. When I walked the course, I was pretty wide-eyed. It looked really difficult, and he just flew around. I was very, very excited about it.”

Helen Alliston and Flinterro Z. Tina Fitch Photography.

It was a big weekend for Alliston Equestrian with both Helen’s three-star win, as well as a third place finish with Call Me Rudi (Clooney x Genia) in the two-star, and James’ 14th-place finish aboard Karma (Escudo II x Travita) as the top American pair at Boekelo. The United States finished fourth as a nation. Helen said it was the first time in 12 years that they’ve shown apart.

“We do everything together,” Helen said. “I think I was more nervous than he was, probably. I don’t know if that’s because he’s a guy or has more experience than me or what,” she added, laughing.

They did keep in touch and follow each other’s rounds during odd hours with the time difference.

“It was pretty cool for both of us to have good weekends,” Helen said.

The CCI2*-S represented the first FEI win for Elwenda DP (Westpoint x Wenderola), and for her rider, Goodman, it was her first FEI win “at least in the last 20 years,” she said. (Goodman’s USEA record goes back to 1995.) They led after each phase and added just 2.4 time penalties on cross-country to their dressage score of 28.5 for a finishing score of 30.9.

“She moved up to this level at this event last year,” Gooman said. “So, in a year, I think she has been consummate and honest. She can be a spooky horse and has developed confidence in being able to be a little bit quicker and not be as worried and spooky.”

For that reason, Goodman said she has kept a busy schedule with Elwenda DP. Woodside was their 11th event in six different states in 2023 at either the two-star or Preliminary levels.

“Just trying to give her as much as exposure as possible,” Goodman said. “She started later at life at this and just trying to give her the confidence and exposure that’s been part of her everyday routine since she did not start doing this until later.”

Stephanie Goodman and Elwenda DP. Tina Fitch Photography.

The 13-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood mare was originally imported by owner Deanna Briggs from the Netherlands as a dressage horse in 2017 and started competing in eventing with Goodman in 2021.

“Everything I ask her she seems to take pretty in stride, so we’re willing to let her do whatever she wants to do,” Goodman said.

The 2023 Woodside Fall International represented the first time that The Horse Park at Woodside has run a CCI1*-S. Barnacle and Skyrise (Silic x Aunt Polly) won with a score of 33.4 after posting the fastest one-star cross-country round on Saturday.

“They’re quick and a little bit lighter than some of the warmbloods, a little bit quicker on their feet,” Barnacle said about eventing with Thoroughbreds like Skyrise. “I took the wrong path in the woods, and that probably cost me a few seconds, actually.”

The 10-year-old bay California-bred Thoroughbred gelding had a three-race career in 2017 for the late owner-trainer William Delia in Northern California. Several of Delia’s former horses are now in successful eventing careers.

“My farrier sent me a picture,” Skyrise’s current owner, Summer Gloeckner, said. “I had been looking for a new Off-the-Track Thoroughbred at Golden Gate Fields. My farrier friend said I should come look at this guy. His farrier friend was shoeing him [on the track]. I went out, and it was love at first sight.”

Gloeckner competed Skyrise in three events in 2023. With Gloeckner recovering from an injury, Barnacle was back aboard for the first time since 2022 when he had taken Skyrise up to the two-star level.

The addition of a one-star marked another area of growth for the team at The Horse Park at Woodside.

Josh Barnacle and Skyrise. Tina Fitch Photography.

“Hosting our first FEI one-star that is building on the Modified courses earlier this year, it feels like a great example of what is happening here at Woodside,” said Horse Park Executive Director Steve Roon. “The Horse Park is so appreciative of two incredibly talented and dedicated teams—Bert Wood with the cross country crew and Christina Gray with the show management. Every show continues to build on our foundation of success.”

The 2023 eventing calendar for FEI events in the USEA’s Area VI will conclude with the The Eventing Championships at Galway Downs on November 1-5. That event will coincide with the USEF CCI2*-L and USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championships and the USEF Eventing Young Rider National Championships, presented by USEA.

Among the young riders from Area VI that had strong results at the Woodside Fall International were Greengard in first and Sophia Click in third and fifth in the CCI4*-S. Click rode Quidproquo (Quidado x Waleila) and Tarantino 54 (Quattro B x Los Argentina) to those placings, respectively. Also, Julia Beauchamp Crandon was third in the CCI3*-S with Playing the Game (Hillviewfarm Trnvelyan x Oughterard Beauty). Fiona Holland was second in the CCI1*-S with Joshua Tree (Acore x Gijit). Elsa Warble and Molly Duda were first and second, respectively, at the Intermediate level with FE Unlimited (Uriko x Viona III) and Disco Traveler (Donatelli x Cadence).

“It’s great to see the international levels return to Woodside,” said USEA Area VI Chair Andrea Pfeiffer. “The October date is an important one to maintain. It gives horses on the West Coast a last chance to qualify for the international divisions at Galway in November. This venue is making it so that the West Coast can do the prep necessary to get to a North American five-star or a European debut. The talent on the West Coast is growing, the future is very bright, just like the sun here.”

Links Results | Website

Twin Rivers Sets Stage for Nations Cup & Young Horse Championships

Karma is developing into one of the fastest and most-reliable cross-country horses in the West. The 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare and James Alliston won their third-straight blue ribbon together at either the four-star or Advanced level in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California, with the only double-clear cross-country round on Saturday. Karma is now scheduled to fly from Los Angeles to Amsterdam on Wednesday, and then Alliston will join her to compete at the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Netherlands CCIO4*-NC-L at Military Boekelo in Enschede, Netherlands, on October 5-8 as part of the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team.

Other highlights in the second international event of the year hosted at Twin Rivers Ranch were the victory in the CCI3*-S by Erin Kellerhouse and Bon Vivant GWF, who led after each eventing phase in the largest FEI division, and the CCI2*-S and CCI1*-S being won by a pair of 16-year-old riders. Julia Beauchamp Crandon and MGH Capa Vilou were the only pair to finish on their dressage score in the CCI2*-S. Jillian Mader and Coolrock Wacko Jacko took the first-ever CCI1*-S held at Twin Rivers.

James Alliston and Karma. Ride On Photo.

Prior to the weekend, Alliston had said, “I definitely won’t be babying her,” when it came to his approach to the final run for Karma (Escudo II x Travita) before heading overseas. They blazed around cross-country designer Morgan Rowsell’s 3,619-meter four-star track in 6:11, 10 seconds under the optimum time and 35 seconds faster than any other pair. Their final score was 36.2.

“She was awesome,” Alliston said afterward. “Felt very bold and fit. The ground was really good, so I thought it was a nice opportunity to give her a quick run as fitness preparation for Boekelo. It was a good setup for Boekelo hopefully.”

This year, Karma was also the only horse to make time on cross-country when winning at Advanced at the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials, when finishing second in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Spring International, and when finishing fourth at Intermediate at the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials. Alliston and Karma were one of only two inside the time when winning the CCI4*-L at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana, in their event prior to the Twin Rivers Fall International.

With an eye also on potential events overseas for the horses she rode in the CCI4*-S, Tamie Smith and Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R) had the only double-clear show jumping round at the level on William Robertson’s course. They finished fourth overall after adding 19.2 time penalties on cross-country. Smith was also second with Cooley By Design (Plot Blue x Uthree Z) and fifth with Kynan (Envoy x Danieta).

Kynan is currently the traveling reserve for the United States at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, at the end of October, and Elliot V is a team alternate. They are scheduled to compete in the Mandatory Outing for the Pan American Games at the Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy on the same weekend that Alliston and Karma are at the FEI Nations Cup Netherlands.

Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF (Foreign Affair x Fernacchy MBF) were third in the four-star debut for both horse and rider.

Erin Kellerhouse and Bon Vivant GWF. Ride On Photo.

In the CCI3*-S, Kellerhouse and Bon Vivant GWF (Banderas x Power Point) led after a dressage score of 27.6, tied for the best across all the FEI levels. Then, they were one of only three pairs in the biggest FEI class with 17 entries to record zero jumping penalties in show jumping and on cross-country. They added just 6.4 time penalties on cross-country for a finishing score of 34.0.

“It was one of those weekends that all phases just felt great,” Kellerhouse said. “He’s getting settled and strong enough to feel confident and happy in his work.”

Kellerhouse has developed quite the partnership with the 8 year-old bay Oldenburg gelding she calls “Pierre” in the barn. They first competed together at the Beginner Novice level when Bon Vivant GWF was 4 years old in 2019.

“Jill Jaeger and I bought him as a baby from Gateway Farm [in California], where my cousin Laurel Ritter and her business partner Elizabeth Jenner bred him,” she said. “He was really the first horse that they bred that had jumping lines. They mostly breed dressage horses. As a 4-year-old he always just got the jumping and was super brave and happy to do his job.”

Julia Beauchamp Crandon and MGH Capa Vilou. Ride On Photo.

With the 2023 USEF Eventing Young Rider Championships to take place at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials in Temecula, California, on November 1-5, a pair of 16-year-old riders won the CCI2*-S and the CCI1*-S.

“We have a really strong set of young riders out here because we all work really hard out here,” Beauchamp Crandon said. “We try and compete with the East Coast and do our best, and we all just want to keep getting better. So, we have a strong desire to keep improving and work together as a team.”

Beauchamp Crandon and MGH Capa Vilou won their first blue ribbon in their 13th USEA-recognized event together. They started showing together last year after the 9-year-old dark bay Dutch Warmblood mare previously competed at the equivalent of America’s Preliminary level in Great Britain in 2021 with Sammi Birch.

“She gets on course, and she just locks in and focuses,” said Beachamp Crandon, who was also fourth in the CCI3*-S with Playing the Game (Hillviewfarm Trnvelyan x Oughterard Beauty). “She really listens to me. It’s taken a bit to get a partnership with her. This year, it’s felt more set, and I’ve been able to communicate with her a bit better cross-country, and each show has gone a little bit better. She loves working. She definitely likes to work, but she also likes her rest time.”

They were the only two-star pair out of 14 entries with a double-clear show jumping round and then one of only three with a double-clear cross-country round, finishing with a score of 31.1.

“After the dressage, she was feeling super rideable and overall very willing to listen in the show jumping, which I think helped a lot,” Beauchamp Crandon said. “This also helped us cross-country I believe, as she was a bit calmer, so I could go quicker and make better use of the track with her like this.”

Jillian Mader and Coolrock Wacko Jacko. Ride On Photo.

In the CCI1*-S, the first competition ever held at the level at Twin Rivers, fellow 16-year-old Jillian Mader and Coolrock Wacko Jacko (Jacomar x Lux D Part) led after each phase to win with a score of 32.4. They were fourth in Twin Rivers’ inaugural CCI1*-L at the Spring International and have put together five top-three finishes since.

While riders like Alliston and Smith may have horse shows overseas on the horizon, the Twin Rivers Fall International marked the return to competition in the United States for Rebecca Braitling, an Australian team member based at Twin Rivers. Braitling and Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) spent the summer in Europe representing Australia at the CCIO4*-S competitions at CHIO Aachen in Germany and at Haras de Jardy in France. She and the 12-year-old British Sport Horse gelding owned by Arnell Sporthorses also took on the CCI4*-S at Hartpury and the CCI4*-L at Blenheim in England.

At the Twin Rivers Fall International, Braitling was first and second in the Open Modified division with Arnell Sporthorses’ Freedom Hill (Vriend x Sallymount) on a score of 25.0 and Jenny Ramirez’ Conlino PS (Conthargos x Zoratia) on a score of 25.2.

“It was great to be back but wild to think that just one week ago I was show jumping at Blenheim and now doing it at Twin Rivers,” Braitling said. “Big credit to Andrea [Baxter] for keeping my horses well tuned-up so I could pick up where I left off.”

Tamie Smith and Solaguayre Cantata. Ride On Photo.

With an eye toward the Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) West Coast Championships that will take place at Twin Rivers on October 27-28, Smith and Solaguayre Cantata (Canturo x Solaguayre Clarita) won the 5-year-old qualifier with the second-highest YEH score of 89.6 in the United States this year.

“Cantata is a remarkable mare, and I’m very excited to have such a promising young horse to produce for the Guariglias,” Smith said about the dark bay Argentine Sport Horse mare owned by Julianne Guariglia. “They have been so supportive to me in recent years, and it’s extra special because Cantata is from the same breeder in Argentina, Solaguayre,” referring to Solaguayre California, the mare whom Smith lost earlier this year following complications from surgery.

Also producing a top-10 5-year-old qualifying score across the country was Andrea Baxter and Estrella Equestrian’s chestnut Irish Sport Horse gelding The Big Easy (Mr Lincoln B x PLS Hippo Q) with 87.4.

Baxter, who serves on the USEA’s Young Event Horse Committee, also has Estrella Equestrian’s Camelot PJ (Colman x Hauptstutbuch Evita) and Arnell Sporthorses’ Nicolai Van De Heering (Hernandez TN x Candy D) qualified for the 5-year-old championships.

Amber Birtcil and Cellar Farm Corp’s bay Dutch Warmblood gelding Oxford K (Grand Slam VDL x Walzing Patty) won the 4-year-old qualifier at the Twin Rivers Fall International with a score of 85.3, second-best in the United States for 4-year-olds in 2023.

“He is actually quite quirky, but I really like his type, and for me he’s quite comfortable to ride which has become quite important for me,” Birtcil said. “He has been super here for his first outing, taking it all in stride. I love how the YEH introduces them to the sport.”

Birtcil acquired “Oxford” (“He’s quite serious in his personality, so it really suits him,” she said about the barn name) from the Netherlands last year. Oxford’s dam, Walzing Patty, has produced three show jumpers that have competed at 1.40 meters—one based in California, one in Europe, and one in Iran.

The USEA YEH West Coast Championships have been held as a standalone event at Twin Rivers since 2020 and will be preceded in 2023 by the Last Chance Qualifier on October 26.

“We love coming to them each year,” Birtcil said. “It’s a great showcase for young horses and being able to produce them.”

Amber Birtcil and Oxford K. Ride On Photo.

The full list of winners from the 2023 Twin Rivers Fall International:

CCI4*-S: James Alliston and Karma (36.2)
CCI3*-S: Erin Kellerhouse and Bon Vivant GWF (34.0)
CCI2*-S: Julia Beauchamp Crandon and MGH Capa Vilou (31.1)
CCI1*-S: Jillian Mader and Coolrock Wacko Jacko (32.4)
Open Intermediate: Amber Birtcil and Le Top F (44.1)
Open Preliminary: James Alliston and Justiz-ESH (17.9)
Open Modified: Rebecca Braitling and Freedom Hill (25.0)
Open Training: Andrea Baxter and Adventure (31.9)
Sr. Training Rider: Jessica Higgins and Finnegan (29.9)
Jr. Training Rider: Emma Pistone and Paulank Pepper Pot (32.6)
Open Novice: Lauren Billys Shady and Mister Cooley (12.5)
Sr. Novice Rider: David Timchak and Over Easy (26.4)
Jr. Novice Rider: Kennedy Wiklund and Atta Boy Atticus (25.3)
Novice Amateur: Christine Poulos and Quality Beach (28.1)
Open Beginner Novice: Natalie Burk and Laced Sensation (27.8)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider: Kate Flaherty and Eli’s Coming (23.1)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider: Erika Small and Happy Hour (30.6)
Open Starter: Bo Moore and Zodiac Kowboy (36.3)
YEH-4: Amber Birtcil and Oxford K (85.3)
YEH-5: Tamie Smith and Solaguayre Cantata (89.6)

Entries & Results | Website | YEH Championships Qualified Horses

West Coast Eventers Eyeing Big Results at Twin Rivers Fall International and Beyond

 

James Alliston and Karma winning at Advanced at the 2023 Twin Rivers Summer H.T. Photo courtesy of Ride On Photo.

2023 has been the year of the West Coast eventer. Events at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, have provided a springboard for horses and riders based on the West Coast to go on to shine on national and international stages. That is scheduled to continue with the Twin Rivers Fall International that will take place from September 21-24. The event will feature: FEI competition in the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, and CCI1*-S; national levels from Starter up to Intermediate; and qualifiers for 4- and 5-year-olds in the USEA’s Young Event Horse Program (YEH) leading up to the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships that will take place at Twin Rivers on October 27-28, with a Last Chance Qualifier on October 26.

James Alliston will be using the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International as the final prep for himself and Karma to represent the United States at the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Netherlands CCIO4*-NC-L at Military Boekelo in Enschede, Netherlands, on October 5-8.

“It’s for me as much as for her, honestly, just to make sure we’re used to jumping some big jumps,” Alliston said. “It’s the same dressage test [as Boekelo], which is nice, so I can practice that. I’ll try and be competitive. I think it’s good for the fitness. I definitely won’t be babying her.”

This will be the fourth event at Twin Rivers this year for Alliston and the 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare (Escudo II x Travita). They are coming off wins at Advanced in the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials and in the CCI4*-L at The Event at Rebecca Farm in Montana. Prior to that, following a second- place finish in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Spring International in April, Alliston and Karma finished eighth in the CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

“The timing works out two weeks before Kentucky, so it normally lines up with the last run before Kentucky,” Alliston said. “This show in the fall lines up as well if you’re going to do Boekelo or whatever your plans are—if you’re going to Maryland or something else like that. You’re going to get reliable footing. So, that’s definitely a huge positive. There’s nice big warmup arenas. There’s nice courses. It’s going to be a strong test. They do a good job of changing the courses the whole time, which I think is awesome. We really like Twin Rivers for our best horses. You don’t just jump the same course four times a year. You’re still educating the horses.”

In addition to the CCI5*-L victory by West-Coast-based Tamie Smith and Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira), three of the top 10 in the CCI4*-S in Lexington were also from California. They were Alliston and Karma in eighth and Smith riding Solaguayre California (Casparo x Solaguayre Calandria) in second and Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R) in 10th.

Smith will be returning to compete in California for the first time since she became the first American rider since Phillip Dutton in 2008 and the first West Coast rider since Derek di Grazia in 1985 to win the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. She also used the Twin Rivers Spring International in April as her final competition before Lexington.

Tamie Smith and Kynan winning at Intermediate at the 2023 Twin Rivers Winter H.T. Photo courtesy of Ride On Photo.

Smith has three entries in the CCI4*-S, with Kynan and Elliot V using Twin Rivers as a springboard to potential top-level international or national competition. Kynan (Envoy x Danieta), an 8-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding, is currently the traveling reserve for the U.S. team at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, at the end of October. Elliot V, a 14-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding, is a team alternate. After Twin, both horses will head east to the Mandatory Outing for thePan American Games at the Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy on October 7-8.

“Twin is quite important for those horses to be prepared for that,” Smith said. “This will be my first competition coming back into the fall and just gauging where they’re at. They’ll probably all be very raring to go and happy to be out and competing. I think it’ll be a great event. Morgan [Rowsell] is the course designer, and he always puts enough on the course to test the horses and get them looking at where they’re headed. If you have any homework you need to get done, then you can.”

Smith will also be competing for the first time on Cooley By Design (Plot Blue x Uthree Z), an 11-year- old bay warmblood gelding, while regular rider Gina Economou recovers from injury.

Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF winning at Intermediate at the 2023 Twin Rivers Summer H.T. Photo courtesy of Ride On Photo.

Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF (Foreign Affair x Fernacchy MBF) will each be making their four-star debuts at the Twin Rivers Fall International.

“A little excited, a little nervous—he’s ready to give it a crack though,” Greengard said. “He’s done his job at the Intermediate, three-star level, and this is the next logical step for him.”

The 9-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding and Greengard won the Intermediate Championship at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in 2022.

“He’s a phenomenal, natural cross-country horse, and it’s been fun to see, as the years have progressed, the rideability start to come through,” Greengard said. “He’s always been very brave and quite keen, but as he’s gotten older, he’s become a bit more rideable.”

Greengard rode in his first USEA-recognized event in 2011 and in his first FEI competition in 2018. His top accomplishments include three national titles at the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships and victory in the 2022 USEA YEH 5-Year-Old West Coast Championships.

There are 47 entries across the four FEI short-format levels at the 2023 Twin Rivers Fall International, almost twice as many as the 24 FEI entries there were at the event in 2022. This year represents the most FEI entries since international competition returned to Twin Rivers’ fall event in 2019 after a decade- long hiatus. Twin Rivers is hosting its first one-star competitions in 2023 with a CCI1*-L in the spring and the first CCI1*-S in the fall.

The largest FEI class in 2023 will be the CCI3*-S with 18 entries, including Lauren Billys Shady and Can Be Sweet (Candyman x Tres Belle), the first-ever international gold medalists in eventing for Puerto Rico at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador in July. Smith and Crafty Don (Tolan R x Diamond Breaker) won the CCI2*-L at the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International.

As Twin Rivers prepares to host the 2023 USEA YEH West Coast Championships at the end of October, this event will feature qualifiers for 4- and 5-year-olds.

“We love the Younge Event Horse Program,” Greengard said. “It’s such a phenomenal way for the horses to get exposure in a way that’s less stressful for them.”

Greengard will ride the bay Thoroughbred gelding Check The Boxes (Box Score x Multiplyingtheheat) he owns with Andrea Pfeiffer in the 4-year-old qualifier.

“We actually purchased him as a 2-year-old,” Greengard said. “He never raced. He wasn’t even backed. He came through a good friend of ours [William Delia] who was getting out of racing, and he was the one that we felt was the most likely candidate for an event horse. He kind of hung out for two years. I got on him for a little bit as a 3-year-old. He’ll do his first horse show this weekend.”

Smith will ride Julianne Guariglia’s Solaguayre Cantata (Canturo x Solaguayre Clarita) in the dark bay Argentine Sport Horse mare’s first USEA-recognized event in the 5-year-old qualifier.

“She came from the same farm as my Solaguayre California mare,” Smith said about the Argentine Sport Horse mare that she lost earlier this year following complications from surgery. “They’re similarly bred and have similar personalities. It’s a special thing. I think the mare is really talented, one of my nicest horses I’ve had. It’ll be exciting to see what she’s going to come out with.”

The Baxter family that has owned and operated Twin Rivers since 2001 has made a significant commitment to growing Young Event Horse programs on the West Coast. Twin Rivers has hosted the USEA YEH West Coast Championships as a standalone event since 2020. Andrea Baxter will ride the chestnut Irish Sport Horse gelding The Big Easy (Mr Lincoln B x PLS Hippo Q) in the 5-year-old qualifier.

“He’s always had a really, really good brain,” she said. “He’s like an old soul, but physically he was still growing. He still is growing, but he’s a lot more leveled-out now. He’s been going great. He easily jumps the big jumps. I’ve just been trying to get into the right balance timing-wise with his growth.”

She also serves on the USEA’s Young Event Horse Committee.

“That is really helpful that I have such a hand in developing the young horses regularly,” Baxter said. “I keep coming back to my number one thing I brought to the committee asking the 4-year-old [championships] to be smaller [jumps]. Last year, the 4-year-olds was 3-foot-3, and I got them to put that down to a Novice height [of 2-foot-11]. I feel like that was my biggest accomplishment because the 4-year-olds are learning to go, stop, steer, jump basic jumps. Yes, they’re all scopey and horses are being bred to be serious jumper, so typically we’re not lacking scope on the young horses, but we don’t need to overface them as 4-year-olds and getting ahead of ourselves with their trainability.”

The YEH competition kicked off the Twin Rivers Fall International on Thursday.

Twin Rivers Links: Entries & Results | Website

‘Sweet’ Win at Intermediate, ‘Wild’ Win at Preliminary, and Event’s Inaugural Modified Highlight Woodside Summer H.T.

Lauren Billys Shady and Can Be Sweet. Photo by Tina Fitch Photography.

Fresh off winning the first-ever international gold medal in eventing for Puerto Rico at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador, Lauren Billys Shady and Can Be Sweet returned to their home base of California to win the Intermediate level at the Woodside Summer Horse Trials. Then, Castle Larchfield Purdy, the horse Shady took to two Olympics and one Pan American Games, won the first-ever Modified level held at Woodside with his new partner Nadia Vogt.

At 17 years old, Vogt happens to be four years younger than the 21-year-old Castle Larchfield Purdy. Another teenage rider, 19-year-old Gabriella Ringer, continued her success at the Preliminary level, and her victory aboard Get Wild at Woodside came against her trainers, James and Helen Alliston.

The Woodside Summer H.T. marked the second of three USEA-recognized events hosted at The Horse Park at Woodside in 2023, coming between the Woodside Spring H.T. in May that unveiled new cross country courses and new custom-built show jumps and the upcoming Woodside Fall International in October that will mark the return of competition at the FEI levels to Woodside.

Shady and Can Be Sweet (Candyman x Tres Belle) won their fourth blue ribbon in their last five events competing at Intermediate with a finishing score of 38.1. Marc Grandia and GHS Calexico (Van Gogh x Penhaligon Cairo), the youngest horse in the field of 12 at the level at 8 years old, finished second with a score of 42.1. It was the bay Irish Sport Horse mare’s second run at Intermediate after they also finished second at The Event at Rebecca Farm in Montana.

“He’s quite confident, and he’s quite powerful, and he’s really different from the other horses I’ve had,” Shady said about Can Be Sweet. “He’s got a lot more [Thoroughbred] blood. He’s a lot hotter than the other horses I’ve ridden. So, for me, it was just taking my time to develop him and learn the ride, but I’ve learned a lot getting to ride him and I really enjoy riding him. I just like how fast he is on cross country. I’ve been on colder horses before, and that feeling of being able to really let it rip out there has been really fun for me. Also, just riding a horse that’s a bit smaller has been fun for me, too, because it really suits my size. I feel like I’m kind of on a pocket rocket. I can be quite efficient on him, which is very nice.”

Nadia Vogt and Castle Larchfield Purdy. Photo by Tina Fitch Photography.

Shady said that the long-term goals for her and Can Be Sweet, an 11-year-old bay German Sport Horse gelding, could be the 2026 FEI Eventing World Championships and then the 2028 Olympics. They’ve been together since the horse came from Germany to the United States as a 5-year-old in 2017 and have come a long way from the first time she attempted to ride him.

“I did get bucked off the first day,” Shady recalled. “When he landed in the U.S., I got on him on on the mounting block, and he bucked me off at the mounting block. So, we kind started with a bang, but other than that, he’s been pretty fun to produce.”

Shady represented Puerto Rico at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics with Castle Larchfield Purdy (Karistos x Hallo Purdy), and the bay Irish Sport Horse gelding has since been teaching the next generation of eventers. Maddie Smith rode “Purdy” to success at the Preliminary and two-star levels in 2022 and the start of 2023, and Vogt began leasing him at the beginning of June.

“He’s a very cool horse; I don’t think I’ve ridden anything like him before,” Vogt said. “He saves you a lot if you mess up because he knows what he’s doing. I love riding him. Whenever I get on his back every day, it brings me joy. He’s very fun to work with—definitely tries to test you a little bit when you first get to know him, but he’s a very good horse. At home, he definitely is the horse of the property. He definitely thinks he’s the man of the barn.”

Vogt is a working student for Shady, and Purdy still resides at Shady’s barn. “It’s been so fun because I still get to ride him every day,” Shady said. “I still get to train him every day. And then, he’s teaching young girls up the levels. He’s killing it. He’s so great at it. It’s fun to have him around, and he’s kind of the life of the party. Everybody wants to see him, he’s the king, but also he’s quite grumpy. He’s just fun. He’s part of the furniture of the barn. He needs to be there. He wouldn’t want anything different. He loves to compete. He loads himself on the trailer. He really likes to be out. So, it’s good for him.”

Woodside was Purdy’s second USEA-recognized event with Vogt after they finished third at Training at the Twin Rivers Summer H.T. in Paso Robles, California. At Woodside, they were the only horse and rider out of 18 entries in the event’s inaugural Modified level to finish on their dressage score, winning on 29.5 over Sophie Tice and Viva La Vida (Versace x Daydream by D’Accord) with 30.7.

“The cross-country was great,” Vogt said. “I’ve never done Prelim, but I thought it was a very good step-up for Prelim. I like that it followed the Preliminary track, and the course rode really nicely. There were a lot of open spots to gallop. The jumps were really nice, big, and bold.”

Running a Modified level for the first time represents the next chapter in the growth of eventing at Woodside.

Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild. Photo by Tina Fitch Photography.

“It rode beautifully; people said it looked ominous, but then afterward they came off satisfied and had a great sense of accomplishment because it rode well and was so aligned with the Preliminary course that it was a good test to get them ready for that,” said Victoria Klein, who serves on the Board of Governors of The Horse Park at Woodside.

Added Horse Park Executive Director Steve Roon: “One of the keys about the Modified course is that it takes advantage of all the terrain here at Woodside. It’s through the woods and water and up and down hills with lots of terrain questions and beautiful new jumps that were built for the Modified course.”

Ringer and Get Wild (Plot-Blue x Cantana) won their fifth-straight event at the Preliminary level. The streak started at the Area VI Championships held at the Ram Tap H.T. in Fresno, California, in October 2022. At Woodside, they finished on their dressage score of 27.6, ahead of James Alliston and Cora with 29.3. Ringer trains with James and Helen Alliston at Alliston Equestrian in Castro Valley, California. Helen was fourth on Call Me Rudi.

“She always beats me—every time,” James said with a smile as the three of them rode back to their stables together after the awards ceremony. Ringer said she’s grateful for the four events that James rode “Ace” back in 2021, including three wins at Preliminary. “Being part of their barn and riding with such experts really just solidified our partnership and made us feel much stronger,” Ringer said. “He’s so careful, and he’s super scopey, and for the most part, he’s pretty brave. He’s just a really nice partner going to those big jumps knowing that he’ll clear them for sure.”

Ringer was part of the USEA Emerging Athletes U21 (EA21) Program for developing young riders this year and hopes to be selected for the Area VI team that will compete at the 2023 USEF Eventing Young Rider Championships at Galway Downs in Temecula, California, in November. Get Wild’s win was the 11th at the level for the big 17.1 hh 11-year-old dark bay Dutch Warmblood gelding.

The team at Woodside will now look ahead to the Woodside Fall International on Oct. 6-8 that will feature the event’s first-ever CCI1*-S, as well as a CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S, along with national levels from Starter through Advanced-Intermediate.

“[Bert Wood] will be building 10 additional jumps for Derek’s [di Grazia] FEI courses, and we’re going to continue enhancing all the courses as resources allow,” Klein said.

The full list of winners from the 2023 Woodside Summer H.T.:

Open Intermediate: Lauren Billys Shady and Can Be Sweet (38.1)
Open Preliminary: Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild (27.6)
Open Modified: Nadia Vogt and Castle Larchfield Purdy (29.5)
Open Training: Ella Garcia and Wynville (31.4)
Jr. Training Rider: Anya Ostrovsky and Dassett Whisper (28.8)
Sr. Training Rider: Suzanne Miller and Kryptonite Z (27.8)
Open Novice: Helen Alliston and Barony (25.0)
Jr. Novice Rider: Emma Slocum and Patito (26.1)
Sr. Novice Rider: Lauren Masi and Far N’ Away (31.4)
Novice Amateur: Rhiannon Gorin and CSF Handsome (27.8)
Open Beginner Novice: Ruth Bley and Celest Blue (24.4)
Jr. Beginner Novice: Katherine Jackman and Prada (25.6)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider A: Olivia Bodner and Nil Phet (34.1)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider B: Anne Johnson and Grandios Sky (30.0)
Starter A: Daniela Zarate and Lexington DF (22.7)
Starter B: Olivia Galuppo and Mischief Managed (29.3)

Young Horses Take Spotlight at Twin Rivers Summer H.T.

James Alliston and Karma. Photo by Ride On Photo.

The 2023 Twin Rivers Summer H.T. in was highlighted by performances of young horses. From the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse competition that kicked off the event on Thursday to the win by Karma ridden by James Alliston as the youngest horse at the Advanced level on Saturday, the future of the sport of eventing on the West Coast looked bright on a hot weekend in Paso Robles, California.

The top-two finishers at the Advanced level were two special mares in West Coast eventing and the youngest and oldest competing at the highest national level at Twin Rivers. Hawley Awad and Jollybo (Jumbo x Polly Coldunnell), a 19-year-old bay British Sport Horse mare, led after a dressage score of 25.5. This was the first Advanced that Jollybo has done at Twin Rivers since 2017 — before the mare competed in her first 5* at the Kentucky Three-Day Event that year. Awad and Jollybo would go on to represent Canada at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships.

Alliston and Karma (Escudo II x Travita), a 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare, overtook Jollybo with a double-clear cross-country round, the only one at the level to jump clear and finish inside the time on the course designed by Morgan Rowsell. The mare added one rail and two seconds of time penalties in show jumping to win with a score of 38.4.

“She’s definitely improving all the time,” Alliston said. “She’s naturally obviously very fast with lots of energy and enthusiastic about her cross-country and her jumping. So that’s nice to have naturally.”

James Alliston and Karma. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Karma was coming off a strong eighth-place finish in the CCI4*-S at this year’s Kentucky Three-Day Event. Alliston said his short-term goal for Karma would be the CCI4*-L at The Event at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana, at the end of the month, and the long-term goal would be her CCI5*-L debut at the 2024 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

“There were hard enough fences to make sure we’re awake with the four-long to come, but hopefully it was a nice confidence builder as well,” Alliston said. “She is a warmblood, but she’s a very good galloping warmblood. This [was] a nice, good fitness run here. I went pretty quickly just to bring the fitness along.”

The 2023 Twin Rivers Summer H.T. kicked off on Thursday with its first Young Event Horse qualifier on the road to the Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships that will be held at Twin Rivers Ranch on October 27-28.

Sigourney Jellins and Cobain PJ. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Cobain PJ (Carridam PJ x Evian), a bay Hanoverian gelding owned and ridden by Sigourney Jellins, won the 4-year-old qualifier with a score of 83.1, the third-highest 4-year-old qualifying score in the United States so far this year.

“I couldn’t be any happier,” Jellins said. “It’s his first show over here and only his second time away from home. So, he’s just a really cool horse, and I’m really excited about his future.”

Jellins acquired Cobain PJ at the end of March because he’s a full-brother to her 6-year-old Hanoverian mare Catalina PJ that she moved up to the Modified level at the Twin Rivers Summer H.T. Jellins and Catalina PJ won the YEH 5-year-old qualifier at this event last year.

“I loved her so much that I bought the full-brother,” she said. “I let him hang out for the first couple months to hang out and be a horse. I started just doing groundwork with him. He was already under saddle with a breeder in Germany and I’ve had him under saddle here for a month and a half or so, and he’s fantastic. What a sensible guy and so sweet. He’s kind of one of those horses that thinks everything is easy.”

Amber Birtcil and New Gaillard AJK. Photo by Ride On Photo.

New Gaillard AJK (Gaillard De La Pomme x Pikolina), a bay Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Cellar Farm Corp. and ridden by Amber Birtcil, won the 5-year-old qualifier with a score of 87.3, the seventh-highest 5-year-old qualifying score in the U.S. so far this year.

“He’s super to ride,” Birtcil said. “He’s brave. He’s just been lovely to develop.”

Birtcil bought “Gary” (“It suits his personality; he’s a little bit of a goofball,” she said) when he was 2 years old. He remained in the Netherlands until coming to America shortly before the 2022 USEA YEH West Coast Championships, where he finished fifth as a 4-year-old.

“I love it,” Birtcil said about the YEH program. “I think it’s a great introduction for them as far as learning to go in the water and be in the show atmosphere. Especially, I love doing the Championships with the horses. They go up in the big ring with the flags. The jumping is so beautifully decorated. It’s challenging, but it’s inviting for the young horses at the same time. So, any 4- and 5-year-old we have in the barn, we drag them out, and they all get to do a qualifier or the Last Chance Qualifier, and everything we have goes and does the Championships, if nothing else just for the experience, because I think it’s a great way to introduce them to the sport.”

Other highlights from the Twin Rivers Summer H.T. included victory at Intermediate by Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF (Foreign Affair x Fernacchy MBF) with a score of 29.7. It was the first blue ribbon for the 9-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding since the Intermediate championship at the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships.

Molly Duda continued her strong 2023 with a win in the Open Preliminary division on her 11-year-old chestnut Irish Sport Horse gelding Carlingfords Hes a Clover (Polanski x Fourleaf Clover) with a score of 20.2. In 16 competitions this year, Duda has won six times and been in the top-three 12 times at levels ranging from Training to Intermediate/three-star.

Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild (Plot-Blue x Cantana), the 2022 Area VI Preliminary champions, won the Preliminary Rider division with the lowest finishing score of the weekend of 19.5. They also won the Preliminary Rider division at last year’s Twin Rivers Summer H.T.

Adri Doyal designed the cross-country courses from Intermediate through Starter at Twin Rivers. The cross-country building and facilities management teams at Twin Rivers put in extra hours managing the courses in a heat wave. Organizers adjusted ride times in response to triple-digit temperatures, and competitors ensured positive experiences for their horses.

Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF. Photo by Ride On Photo.

While the West Coast eventing community came together at Twin Rivers during the weekend, two West-Coast-based pairs were representing their countries at the prestigious CHIO Aachen CCIO4*-S at the World Equestrian Festival in Germany. Tamie Smith and Mai Baum (Loredano x Ramira) followed up their historic victory in the Kentucky 5* by finishing third individually as part of the silver-medal-winning United States team at Aachen. Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan), who train out of Twin Rivers and won the Advanced level at the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International, were part of the Australian team.

“The competition at Twin Rivers and at Aachen shows how strong eventing on the West Coast is,” said Connie Baxter, organizer of events at Twin Rivers. “We’re very grateful for all the riders, volunteers, officials, and sponsors that helped make this weekend a success. We appreciate the support of everyone during an unusually hot weekend, and it was a total team effort. We look forward to the remaining events we’re hosting this year.”

Twin Rivers Ranch will next host the Twin Rivers Fall International on Sept. 21-24. The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships will take place on October 27-28, with a Last Chance Qualifier on October 26. Twin Rivers will also host events that are part of the Young Horse Show (YHS) Series on September 16 and October 26. The YHS/FEH Regional Finals will take place on October 28, combining Future Event Horse and Young Event Horse championships.

The full list of winners from the 2023 Twin Rivers Summer H.T.:

Advanced: James Alliston and Karma (38.4)
Open Intermediate: Tommy Greengard and Joshuay MBF (29.7)
Open Preliminary: Molly Duda and Carlingfords Hes a Clover (20.2)
Preliminary Rider: Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild (19.5)
Open Modified: Anna Pierce and Dreamweaver (39.2)
Open Training: Helen Alliston and Barony (30.2)
Sr. Training Rider: Mackenzie Davison and Lockdown JPL (32.8)
Jr. Training Rider: Ellie Ryhorchuk and Jacobite (28.6)
Open Novice: Grace Brownrigg and Dhaulagiri (31.7)
Sr. Novice Rider: Ashley McCaughan and Excel Star Megawatt (33.6)
Jr. Novice Rider: Lauren Klein and Little Ghost (29.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Auburn Excell Brady and Carlo R (31.3)
Beginner Novice Rider: Annie Desmond and Little Elf (32.2)
Starter: Daniela Zarate and Lexington DF (33.0)
YEH-4: Sigourney Jellins and Cobain PJ (83.1)
YEH-5: Amber Birtcil and New Gaillard AJK (87.3)

Twin Rivers Summer H.T. (Paso Robles, CA): Website, Entry Status/Ride Times/Live Scoring

Woodside Recognizes the Best in the West

The 2023 Woodside Spring H.T. served as a celebration of the successes of the West Coast eventers that competed in the Kentucky Three-Day Event, as well as what’s in store for the future of the sport in California.

On the eve of competition on Thursday, organizers at the Woodside Horse Trials held a party in honor of both Tamie Smith’s historic win in the Kentucky five-star and the team of cross country builders led by Bert Wood that unveiled new courses at The Horse Park. Derek di Grazia designed the new Advanced and Intermediate tracks, with Wood designing the new tracks for Preliminary through Starter.

“Of course it is always a wonderful feeling being back home in California, and to have been recognized the way Woodside did is humbling and a tremendous honor,” Smith said. “There are many of us who dream of being able to accomplish big things in this sport. So I hope to continue to be an advocate and example of the ability to achieve these goals and dreams from the West Coast.”

In addition to Smith’s becoming the first American since Phillip Dutton and Connaught in 2008 and the first West Coast eventer since di Grazia and Sasquatch in 1985 to win the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, California-based James Alliston completed his first five-star since 2016.

James Alliston and Call Me Rudi. Tina Fitch Photography photo.

Alliston, who rode Nemesis to 20th place in the five-star debut for the 9-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding (Novalis 46 x Sara’s Muse), is back competing California. Focusing on his up-and-coming prospects, he rode Call Me Rudi and Cora to a one-two finish in the Open Preliminary division at Woodside. Alliston has developed a reputation for bringing young horses up the levels, and Nemesis was the youngest in this year’s Kentucky five-star field.

“Good to be back home helping my students and riding my up-and-coming horses who will hopefully be able to go east in a few years,” Alliston said. “Very exciting that Tamie won in Kentucky having honed her skills and produced her horses in California. Courses were amazing and excited to have such challenging and educational tracks here. Many thanks to Derek and Bert and also the Woodside organizers who have worked hard on this show.”

Call Me Rudi, an 8-year-old bay Bavarian Warmblood gelding, finished on his dressage score of 25.3. Cora, an 8-year-old bay Hanoverian mare, was second on her dressage score of 26.8. James’ wife, Helen, was seventh in the division riding HSH Redfield Hillside Star.

“They are both exciting German horses who look like they have promising futures,” Alliston said. “Call Me Rudi is owned by a partnership with John Matheny and will be for Helen to ride. I think she will take over after this show.”

While Smith and Alliston have proven themselves at the highest levels of the sport, the Woodside Spring H.T. also spotlighted the continuing rise of 18-year-old Molly Duda. Duda was coming off her first career FEI win in the CCI3*-S with Disco Traveler at the Twin Rivers Spring International. The dark bay 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Donatelli x Cadence) won the Open Intermediate division at Woodside as the only horse at the level to finish on his dressage score, 33.4. Duda and “Disco” were the only pair to go double clear on either di Grazia’s cross-country or Marc Donovan’s show jumping courses at Intermediate. This was their third win in a row at either the Intermediate or three-star levels.

Molly Duda and Disco Traveler. Tina Fitch Photography photo.

“My trainer [Mickayla Howard] and I got emotional last Thursday when we arrived at The Horse Park— exactly one year ago at this event, Disco and I completed our first show together and took home our first blue ribbon in the Junior Training Rider division” Duda said. “Now, winning the Intermediate just a year later feels like a dream. I am absolutely filled with gratitude for this horse, and for my trainer, Mickayla, who has always supported our partnership and pushed us to be the best we can. Disco and I are still at the beginning of our journey together, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us.”

At Advanced, Amber Birtcil and the Cellar Farm Corp’s Cinzano won in the return of the 12-year-old dark bay Holsteiner gelding (Classe x Walta) to the level for the first time since 2021.

“Cinzano and I have been together for about seven years now; even though the scoreboard doesn’t reflect it, I was thrilled with our weekend,” said Birtcil, who won with a score of 108.2. “This was our return to the level, and although I felt a bit rusty, he was excellent and it felt great to cross that finish line. I’m excited to build on this and tackle the rest of the season together. The event was wonderful with new course by Derek, brand new show jumps and everything was decorated and looking stunning. They’ve truly done a wonderful job! I’m excited to come back later this year.”

Amber Biracial and Cinzano. Photo by Tina Fitch Photography.

In addition to the new cross-country tracks, The Woodside Horse Trials unveiled new show jumps built by Jonathan Berger of JB Horse Standards in Sacramento. The new jumps reflected how the West Coast eventing community came together to support horse trials at Woodside with 15 training barns donating to the building of new jumps and acquisition of other eventing equipment.

“To me, the incredible thing about this weekend was that it was a celebration of West Coast eventing where everybody came together,” said Steve Roon, Executive Director of The Horse Park at Woodside. “We had enormous support from the community to enable the work to be done, and we had marvelous artisans to create the cross-country courses. We had marvelous JB jumps to execute all the stadium jumps. It truly ended up being a celebration of West Coast eventing.”

The Woodside Horse Trials recognized: Anke Herbert Dressage, Bay Haven Equestrian, Cellar Farm, Cheval Training, Chocolate Horse Farm, Equinox Equestrian, Fox Equestrian, Kismet Farms, Lauren LoPiccolo Equestrian, Portola Valley Pony Club, Rising Tides Equestrian, Sauvignon Eventing, Tayside Sport Horses, The Fencing Pony, and Webb Ranch. Many had their logos emblazoned on custom-built jump standards.

Tamie Smith speaks at the party in her honor on the eve of competition at the Woodside Spring H.T.
Tina Fitch Photography photo.

“The changes that the team at Woodside made were absolutely vital to our success and future of West Coast eventing, and to see the community from all demographics contribute was even more touching,” Smith said.

Horse trials at Woodside will continue in 2023 with the Woodside Summer H.T. with plans to add a Modified level. Then, the Woodside Fall International on October 6-8 will mark the return of eventing at the FEI levels to Woodside with a CCI1*-S planned to be run for the first time alongside the CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S.

“In order to continue to keep our horses and riders at the top of their game, these changes and efforts are imperative,” Smith said. “Overall, Woodside and their team hit it out of the park, and I only can hope other venues and our eventing community use this as an example to strive for in years to come.”

Victoria Klein and Steve Roon from The Horse Park at Woodside present a plaque to Tamie Smith recognizing her
five-star win in Kentucky that she could choose to place on any cross-country fence at Woodside.

Links Results | Website

The full list of winners from the 2023 Woodside Spring H.T.:

Advanced: Amber Birtcil and Cinzano (108.2)
Open Intermediate: Molly Duda and Disco Traveler (33.4)
Open Preliminary: James Alliston and Call Me Rudi (25.3)
Preliminary Rider: Coco Meerkamp and Dalanteretto (29.2)
Open Training: Sophie Tice and Viva La Vida (23.6)
Jr. Training Rider: Isabelle Eppink and Enfinity (28.6)
Sr. Training Rider: Mickayla Howard and Miss Tique (23.6)
Training Amateur: Leah Yacoub Halperin and Rodrigue Du Granit (30.5)
Open Novice: Kristen Joly and Kleary’s Rosie the Riveting (29.7)
Jr. Novice Rider: Holly Fosmark and When Starz Align (24.7)
Sr. Novice Rider: Eri Takada and Toronto Z (27.2)
Novice Amateur: Angela Bryson and Petite Pavarotti (28.3)
Novice Horse: Lauren Billys Shady and Mister Cooley (22.5)
Open Beginner Novice: Alexis Helffrich and Casanova (23.2)
Jr. Beginner Novice: Zoe Barker and Kontessa M (21.2)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider A: Eileen Morgenthaler and Levitate (23.6)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider B: Annie Desmond and Little Elf (25.6)
Jr. Starter: Michaela Smith and Cashmaker (22.3)
Sr. Starter: Megan LeFave and Lord Rocco (28.7)

Connect with Woodside

Location: 3674 Sand Hill Road, Woodside, CA 94062
Email: Send message at http://www.horsepark.org/emailmessage.php
Website: http://www.horsepark.org/
Volunteer: http://www.horsepark.org/volunteer.php
Instagram: horseparkatwoodside

FEI Long Format Recap: Sibling Horses with Married Riders Win FEI Classes at Twin Rivers Spring International

The day after Nemesis won the CCI4*-S at the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International, his younger brother Flinterro Z won his first FEI competition in the CCI3*-L. James Alliston rode Nemesis to the four-star win, and his wife, Helen Alliston, was aboard Flinterro Z in the three-star. Other highlights from Sunday’s final day of the Twin Rivers Spring International in Paso Robles, California, were the second-straight victory at the CCI2*-L level by Crafty Don and Tamie Smith, as well as a win by Jillian Newman and Curraghgraigue Freeman in the first ever CCI1*-L held at Twin Rivers Ranch.

Both Nemesis, who is 9, and Flinterro Z, who is 8, are out of the Thoroughbred dam Sara’s Muse, and both were bred by Danielle Burgess in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. (Note: The dam of Nemesis is registered with the FEI as Maesy, which is the barn name for Sara’s Muse.) However, the two brothers are quite different in terms of their looks and personality, according to Helen Alliston. Nemesis is by Novalis 46 and is a chestnut gelding registered as a Canadian Warmblood. Flinterro Z is by Figaro B and is a bay gelding registered as a Zangersheide.

Helen Alliston and Flinterro Z. Ride On Photo.

“We just really liked Nemesis, and [Burgess] said she had another one, and she claimed it was even better,” Helen said about Flinterro Z, who was a rising 2-year-old when the Allistons purchased him. “She did say on the phone he’s a bit small right now but he’ll grow, don’t worry. We bought him sight unseen, and when he showed up—Marc Grandia actually drove him down from Canada, and we met him at like one in the morning—and I remember he was tiny and pretty weird-looking. I just remember James and I drove home, and James lay in bed with his eyeballs popping out of his head like, ‘What did we buy?’ He was kind of like an ugly-ducking turned-swan because now he’s beautiful. As soon as we saw him moving, we knew he was a nice horse.”

Flinterro Z added 2.0 time penalties on cross-country and 1.2 time penalties in show jumping to their dressage score of 29.6 to finish with a score of 32.8.
“I wasn’t actually going to do this class, but one of our other horses [Addyson] got hurt that was entered here,” Helen said “So, I took that entry and just threw him in here.”

As far as what’s next for Flinterro Z, Helen joked, “I don’t really have a plan because this wasn’t the plan,” although she added that she’s considering the CCI3*-L at The Event at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana, in July.

Tamie Smith and Crafty Don. Ride On Photo.

The CCI2*-L represented Crafty Don’s (Tolan R x Diamond Breaker) seventh victory in 20 events since 2021 and second at the CCI2*-L level. Julianne Guariglia’s 7-year-old bay Irish Sport Horse gelding and Smith finished on their dressage score of 26.8.

“He’s just super consistent,” Smith said. “He’s very careful. He’s mostly Thoroughbred. He’s Irish-bred. And, even though he’s 18 hands, 17.3, or whatever, he just goes like a Thoroughbred really light across the ground, and he finds all the phases super easy.”

Having finished fifth in the Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) West Coast Championships for 5-year-olds in 2021, Crafty Don is in the running for the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Grant, and Smith is considering aiming the bay Irish Sport Horse gelding for this year’s FEI World Young Horse Championships at Mondial du Lion in France.

“He’s probably been ready to move up to Intermediate, and I’ve just been trying to take my time because he is careful,” Smith said. “So, I think he’s ready now. He is in contention for the Le Lion young horse grant for the 7-Year-Old World Championships, and I think we’ll just see how the year plays and see if that’s something that we’ll end up doing with him—as long as when he moves up he feels confident because you’ve got to have a very bold, strong cross-country and show jumping horse there.”

Jillian Newman and Curraghgraigue Freeman. Ride On Photo.

Newman’s journey to victory in the CCI1*-L in the 17-year-old rider’s first FEI competition began when she saw a Facebook post about Curraghgraigue Freeman (Freeman VDL x Curraghgraigue Vella Erri).

“I liked his size and he looked like a good boy, but he had a pink nose,” Newman said, with a laugh. “I really liked his face. He looked like he had a kind eye.”
However, five days after the 8-year-old bay Irish Sport Horse gelding arrived in the United States in June 2021, he underwent colic surgery. It would be six months before Freeman could start working with her new horse, although that time did allow her to develop a bond that helped accelerate their journey through the eventing levels. She bestowed the barn name of “Quincy” on Curraghgraigue Freeman, and that barn name continues to take on several other iterations like “Q Man” and “Quinoa.”
“It was rough, but it was nice because we got time where I got to know him and he got to know me,” Newman said. “So, we trusted each other a lot before I started competing him.”

Jillian and Quincy won their first event together in February 2022 at the Galway Downs Kickoff H.T. in their hometown of Temecula, California, in the Junior Novice Rider Division. They did seven USEA-recognized events together in 2022 with six top-five finishes and moved up to Modified for their final competition of the season in the Galway Downs International Event & H.T. in November. Before Quincy, Newman, who began eventing when she was 13 in 2019, had competed as high as Novice.

In 2023, they were part of the first Modified level ever offered at Twin Rivers at the Twin Rivers Winter H.T. in March, finishing 14th of 26 with a score of 39.1. Before attempting their first FEI competition in the inaugural CCI1*-L at the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International, Jillian and Quincy entered the Preliminary level at the Galway Downs International H.T. with the plan of doing dressage and show jumping at the higher level and then withdrawing before cross-country.

That set them up for the best dressage score they’ve had together—27.0. They added 1.6 time penalties in show jumping to finish with a score of 28.6.

“He’s great because he’s super brave,” Newman said about Quincy. “So, the size of the jump was never an issue for him; it was just getting rideability. Now, he’s finally at a point where he’s so rideable and good.”

Newman will graduate from Great Oak High School this year and plans to attend Virginia Tech in the fall where she will study environmental policy, join the Hokies eventing team, and compete in the USEA’s Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

In 2023, there were a total of 56 entries across the FEI classes, more than three times as many as the 17 for the Twin Rivers Spring International. Twin Rivers Ranch will next host the Twin Rivers Summer H.T. from June 29 to July 2, followed by the Twin Rivers Fall International on Sept. 21-24, and then the Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships on October 27-28.

Links Results | Website

Sponsors and Volunteers

Twin Rivers is proud to host the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International with generous support from sponsors.

Presenting sponsors for the season include: LEGIS Equine, horsemen insuring horsemen, Auburn Labs, manufacturers of the adaptogenic APF Formula for horses, people and dogs; Best Western PLUS Black Oak, which offers exclusive discounts for exhibitors; and Professional’s Choice, manufacturers of sports medicine boots for equine athletes.

Supporting sponsors include: Chubby Cov, makers of beautiful custom stock ties; Riding Warehouse, the horse gear and apparel supplier; RevitaVet, a leader in preventative maintenance and rehabilitative infrared therapy devices; and Devoucoux, saddle makers dedicated to the partnership between horse and rider.
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Christina Gray of Gray Area Events at [email protected].

Volunteers play a major part of events at Twin Rivers. Twin Rivers’ generous volunteer incentive program includes vouchers for show stabling and credits for schooling between events at the beautiful 500-acre venue. That is in addition to the genuine appreciation of the Baxter family and the entire Twin Rivers team. To sign up, please visit
www.twinrivershorsepark/volunteer.

Twin Rivers FEI Short Format and Advanced: Alliston Takes First and Second in CCI4*-S, Duda Wins First Career FEI in CCI3*-S

James Alliston and Nemesis. Photo by Ride On Photo.

A James Alliston one-two in the CCI4*-S and Molly Duda’s first career FEI victory in the CCI3*-S highlighted the conclusion of the FEI short-format competition at the Twin Rivers Spring International in Paso Robles, California, on Saturday. Also, Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio II produced a classy cross-country round to win the Advanced level, and Camille Brewer and Cooley Rock Star won the CCI2*-S by just two-tenths of a point.

Alliston was using Twin Rivers as the final runs for Nemesis and Karma before heading to the prestigious Land Rover Kentucky-Three Day Event at the end of the month. Twin Rivers has been his final prep before his last six trips to Kentucky as well. Nemesis (Novalis 46 x Maesy) won the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers in 2023 by adding just 0.8 time penalties on cross-country for a finishing score of 30.0. The chestnut Canadian Warmblood gelding was third in the CCI4*-S in Kentucky in 2022 and will be aiming for his first CCI5*-L in Lexington in 2023.

Bec Braitling and Caravaggio II. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Karma (Escudo II x Travita) finished five seconds under optimum time—and were the only pair in the field of six to do so—on Morgan Rowsell’s four-star cross-country course to take second in the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers with a score of 39.2.

“I feel good about the preparation obviously,” Alliston said. “I don’t want to put too many expectations on how competitive I think I’ll be with a young horse, and it’s been a while for me personally. It’s whole ’nother world out there with the world’s best obviously. So, I’m happy with how it went this weekend, and hopefully that can be a springboard to a good performance there.”

Both Nemesis and Karma will be the youngest for their respective levels in Kentucky, and it will be reminiscent of Alliston’s first time there in 2011 when he and the 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Parker (Marquetry x Hello Mom) finished 14th out of 45 in 2011.

“It seems a bit aggressive, but I feel like you have a small window with these horses where they’re going well and healthy and everything,” Alliston said.

Also headed to Kentucky out of Twin Rivers’ CCI4*-S will be Tamie Smith and Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R), a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by the Elliot V Partnership. They were third with a score of 40.5.

Molly Duda and Disco Traveler. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Karma (Escudo II x Travita) finished five seconds under optimum time—and were the only pair in the field of six to do so—on Morgan Rowsell’s four-star cross-country course to take second in the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers with a score of 39.2.

In the CCI3*-S, Duda’s victory on Disco Traveler (Donatelli x Cadence), a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, was the first in international competition for the 18-year-old rider from Menlo Park, California. Duda and Disco Traveler were coming off a victory in their move-up to Intermediate at the Galway Downs International H.T. in March. At Twin, they were the only pair in the field of 17 to finish on their dressage score—33.7. They were just one of two to go double-clear on cross-country on Saturday.

“This weekend was absolutely incredible,” Duda said. “Disco gave me his all and took care of me in all three phases. I think what makes our partnership special is that we have so much mutual trust, and we just love working together. I’ve been riding him for about two years now, and he took me all the way from Training level to my first Intermediate, and now my first FEI win. I’m so excited to continue building our partnership this season and see how far we can go together.”

Camille Brewer and Cooley Rock Star. Photo by Ride On Photo.

At Advanced, Braitling and Caravaggio II, a 12-year-old British Sport Horse gelding owned by Arnell Sporthorses, continued their streak of never having a cross-country jump fault in the 29 events they’ve completed since they started competing together in 2019.

In the CCI2*-S, Camille Brewer and Cooley Rock Star (O.B.O.S. Quality x Farna), a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, won with a score of 29.2. They were first after dressage with a score of 28.0, dropped to second after show jumping when they added 1.2 time penalties, and regained the top-spot after a double-clear cross-country round.

FEI competition at the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International will conclude on Sunday with show jumping for the CCI3*-L, which is the first Selection Trial of 2023 for the U.S. team that will compete at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, at the end of October. Other FEI levels that will crown their winners on Sunday will be the CCI2*-L and the first CCI1*-L in the history of Twin Rivers Ranch.

Twin Rivers Spring International (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries / Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

Twin Rivers or Bust: Preview a Packed Weekend of Sport on the West Coast

With the increasing success West Coast eventers are having nationally and internationally, the Twin Rivers Spring International holds an important place on the calendar. It’s the first of two FEI events that Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, will host in 2023, with competition taking place April 13-16. It represents the final international event in the United States Eventing Association’s (USEA) Area VI before riders based in California head out of state for FEI competitions during the rest of the spring and the summer. The FEI calendar will then resume in the Golden State with the Twin Rivers Fall International on Sept. 21-24.

There are three riders entered in the 2023 Twin Rivers Spring International that will be using the event as a final prep on their four respective horses before the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event later in the month. In addition, the CCI3*-L at Twin Rivers serves as the first Selection Trial of 2023 for the U.S. team that will compete at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, at the end of October.

Bec Braitling and Caravaggio. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

The California-based Kentucky-bound riders are: James Alliston with Nemesis (Novalis 46 x Maesy) and Karma (Escudo II x Travita); Tamie Smith with Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R); and Rebecca Braitling with Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan).

“Twin allows you to either go and decide you want to enter something for a confidence run; it allows you to get a four-short if you need it and need to have a proper run,” said Braitling, who is preparing “Ernie” for both his and her first ever trip to Kentucky. “And, you have the option to run a combined test if you feel like the horse doesn’t need to go cross-country because you really are only two weeks before Kentucky. The great thing is it’s absolutely at the level, but you can choose which part of it you’re actually going to tackle.”

Braitling and the 12-year-old British Sport Horse gelding owned by Arnell Sporthorses won their first blue ribbon together in the CCI4*-S at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International and are entered in Advanced at the Spring International.

Alliston, who has used Twin Rivers as his final run before his last six trips to Kentucky—2013 to 2017 and then his return in 2022—has Nemesis and Karma entered in the CCI4*-S, with Nemesis eyeing his first CCI5*-L and Karma the CCI4*-S in Kentucky.

“It was awesome. It’s hard to keep bringing horses through to that level, and it had been a little bit,” he said about returning to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event last year after a five-year absence. “So, hopefully now I can keep going back with the horses we have coming through. It’s really exciting to be there. It’s what you work towards all through the year but also in your career. You want to be showing at these big shows at the top of the sport, at the pinnacle of the sport.”

Alliston and Nemesis, a 9-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding, won at Advanced at Twin Rivers and then finished third in the CCI4*-S in Kentucky in 2022. For Karma, Alliston Equestrian’s 9-year-old Oldenburg mare, Twin Rivers will represent her four-star debut before the four-star in Kentucky.

“I hope it’s a good performance in all phases and use the cross-country as a bit of fitness, not go crazy out there, but definitely go quick enough where we spike their fitness a little bit and definitely want to try and go well and be full of confidence for Kentucky,” he said about his approach heading into this year’s Twin Rivers Spring International.

James Alliston and Nemesis. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Smith will compete in the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers with Elliot V, who won at Advanced at the 2023 Twin Rivers Winter H.T., before the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by the Elliot V Partnership tackles the CCI4*-S in Kentucky.

“I’m excited to get over to Twin, and then we’ll head out to Kentucky, and then we’ll go to Tryon, and then figure out where to go from there,” Smith said, as she prepares for her first events outside of California in 2023 following a successful 2022 that saw her compete in both CCI5*-L in the United States, as well as at Badminton in England and at the FEI World Championships at Pratoni in Italy.

Tamie Smith and Elliot V. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Smith will ride Cheers (Blauer Vogel x Qtrapastree) in the CCI3*-L at Twin Rivers, which is a Selection Trial for the 2023 Pan American Games.

“It’s super important for us, not only for preparing our horses for Kentucky, but also our younger horses, and also it’s a Pan Am selection trial,” Smith said about the significance of the Twin Rivers Spring International.

The other entrants for the CCI3*-L are: Helen Alliston and Flinterro Z (Figaro B x Sara’s Muse); Kayleen Crowley and Whiskey Up (Worthy Opponent x Travita); and Lauren Billys Shady, an international rider representing Puerto Rico, and Can Be Sweet (Candyman x Tres Belle). Helen Alliston won the CCI4*-S with Ebay (Escudo x Komtessa) at the 2022 Twin Rivers Spring International before she and Alliston Equestrian’s gray Oldenburg gelding then went on to capture the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final at the AEC at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana, later in the year.

There are six entries for the CCI4*-S in 2023, the most that have competed at the level at the Twin Rivers Spring International in five years. There are a total of 61 entries across all FEI levels in 2023, including the first-ever CCI*1-L at Twin Rivers. That ties for the most in the event’s history since 2019, the year that the new classification for FEI levels was introduced.

“We’re thrilled with how many top-level riders are making Twin Rivers a part of their show season and look forward to a great competition this year,” organizer Connie Baxter said. “It means a lot that we’re a Selection Trial for the Pan Am Games. So, it’s going to be special to follow riders from Twin Rivers when they go to Kentucky and potentially to Chile.”

With the goal of giving home-state riders the best opportunity for what lies ahead against top competition from around the country and the world, the Baxter family that has owned and operated Twin Rivers since 2001 brought on Morgan Rowsell (FEI Level 3 and USEA “S” course designer) to design the FEI cross-country courses in 2022.

“As far as the standard is concerned, I was impressed with all the riders out there,” Rowsell said. “I feel confident that I can push it a little bit now.”

The team that will design the cross-country courses in 2023 includes Rowsell for the CCI4*-S and Advanced tracks, Adri Doyal for the remaining international levels, and Marc Grandia for the remaining national levels.

“I have incorporated angles and more corners—they built another corner for me—and using the water in a different way, so, yeah, it’s been a great experience,” Rowsell said. “I enjoy it out there. It’s a good group of people that’s dedicated. They’ve given me some leeway. They have a lot of material to work with. Adri, their builder, is excellent. It’s been a very positive experience from my end. I hope the riders keep getting what they want out of it, and so far so good.”

Twin Rivers Links: [Website] [Entries, Ride Times, and Results] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage]

Looking Ahead to Eventing at Woodside Horse Park in 2023

A jump sits atop one of the hills at Woodside Horse Park, one of the only facilities in California with some significant terrain. Photo by Sally Spickard.

From carrots for the horses when they arrived and the coffee and donut hospitality cart that created a friendly atmosphere at the Woodside Fall Horse Trials last October, to the community support that raised funds for new show jumps and cross-country fences, to being approved to host three USEA-recognized events in 2023, there is a buzz about what lies ahead for the future of eventing at The Horse Park at Woodside in Northern California.

The Woodside Spring Horse Trials will take place on May 26-28 with national levels through Advanced, followed by the Woodside Summer Horse Trials on August 11-13 up to Advanced/Intermediate, and culminating with the Woodside Fall International on October 6-8 that will return eventing at the FEI levels to Woodside with a CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI2*S.

“I’m most excited that the community has come together so beautifully to allow us to purchase all of our own eventing equipment,” said Victoria Klein, who serves on the Board of Governors of The Horse Park at Woodside. “So, we have a new stadium jump course. What’s especially exciting about that is that so many of the local training barns got behind The Horse Park and donated money so that we could get those jumps, and we will be representing their logos on the jumps.”

Among other new developments for events at The Horse Park at Woodside in 2023 will be cross country courses designed by Derek di Grazia. Di Grazia’s courses have been featured at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, the Tokyo Olympics, Bromont International Horse Trials, and at the Morven Park International Horse Trials. Designing at Woodside reunites him with a venue close to where he resides in Carmel Valley, CA, and where he has competed for decades.

“I’ve been working at The Park off and on since the 1990s, and this is actually my third time back as course designer,” Derek said. “Obviously, The Horse Park has evolved quite a lot since then, and consequently the cross country has done the same. It’s seen its fair bit of change over the years and through that time they’ve developed a lot of nice features on the cross country which has made it good for competitors.”

Derek di Grazia at Woodside in February. Victoria Klein photo.

A team that included Derek di Grazia and Bert Wood, who will be cross country builder and will design courses up to Preliminary, toured Woodside on February 20 to set the course for the horse trials in May. They then visited a lumber yard to purchase logs that had been cleared from recent storms and in fuel mitigation projects. These logs will be used to construct new jumps during 20 days of building scheduled for April. “It was really like kids in a candy store,” Victoria Klein said.

Future plans for horse trials at Woodside include adding a Modified level either in late 2023 or in 2024.

The Horse Park at Woodside has hosted events annually since 2005 on 272 acres as the most northern eventing venue in California, although eventing has taken place since 1981 on what was previously known as Guernsey Field and part of Stanford University (on whose land the Horse Park still sits).

“There’s quite a lot of interest to compete there,” Derek said. “It’s one of the few places in California that actually has terrain, which is very beneficial for the horses and riders competing. Having that experience of being able to go up and down hills as well as having the terrain be part of the jumping question is quite important in the development of both horses and riders.”

In addition to eventing, Woodside hosts hunter-jumper, dressage, and reining shows, as well as polo and vaulting. There are also approximately 120 horses that are boarded at Woodside year-round.

Logs that will be turned into new jumps at Woodside during 20 days of building scheduled for April. Steve Roon photo

“The Horse Park was created to be an eventing venue, and we are very unique in a lot of ways because of it,” Executive Director Steve Roon said. “With all of these various disciplines, we are just so fortunate to have a facility that can accommodate them, and it’s the support of all these disciplines that make eventing possible here.”

Events at The Horse Park at Woodside in 2023 will be organized by Christina Gray and her team that makes up Gray Area Events. Christina grew up in Northern California near Woodside, so it represented a homecoming when she and The Horse Park at Woodside teamed up for their first event, the Woodside Fall Horse Trials, in October 2022.

“Woodside is a special place because I grew up competing there,” Christina said. “It was the closest venue to where I grew up, so it’s exciting to be part of it again. The fall event was our debut of starting things up, and we look forward to continuing things and having a real welcoming atmosphere and making sure things are done to the best possible level.”

All of the hard work is focused on two goals: the enjoyment of the competitors and the safety of their equine partners.

“I have been going to events at The Horse Park for over 30 years and I can say hands and hooves down, this was the BEST organized EVER!!” was a comment posted on Facebook by Olympic medalist Gina Miles based in Templeton, CA. “The organizing team that produced Woodside Horse Trials has overcome huge odds and delivered the goods. They had all the major details covered, great courses with the best cross-country footing and multiple drags of show jumping throughout the day, beautiful show jumps and course design, no dust throughout the park, on time rings and pleasant, helpful office staff.”

Panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay feature at the top of Woodside Horse Park. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Added Kassi McMillan, who has competed from Beginner Novice to Preliminary at Woodside since her junior rider years in 2006: “The effort put in to all aspects of the show was undeniable; from the gorgeous footing for all the divisions, to the gorgeous competitors dinner and the cold bottle water handed out at the exit to those departing home on Sunday. Count me in for May Woodside 2023!”

That feedback has motivated the organizers for the future of eventing at Woodside.

“We were so incredibly moved by the kind write-ups, the comments, and the people expressing their appreciation of the effort we are putting in to make the Woodside Horse Trials sustainable and to have a future,” Victoria said. “We are absolutely clear now that we have a beautiful future for horse trials at Woodside.”

Connect with Woodside

Location: 3674 Sand Hill Road, Woodside, CA 94062
Email: Send message at http://www.horsepark.org/emailmessage.php
Website: http://www.horsepark.org/
Volunteer: http://www.horsepark.org/volunteer.php
Instagram: horseparkatwoodside

Wins by Tamie Smith and First-Ever Modified Held at Twin Rivers Highlight Winter Horse Trials

Tamie Smith and Elliot V. Photo by Ride On Photo.

The 2023 Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials were an event to remember. A hard-working crew and community support stepped up after record rains in Paso Robles, CA flooded the cross country course prior to the show. Tamie Smith’s wins at the Advanced and Intermediate levels highlighted top-class performances. And, Twin Rivers hosted a Modified level for the first time in the event’s history.

That the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials even took place was a feat in itself. The bottom field at Twin Rivers Ranch where the dressage rings and the lower part of the cross country course are located was under approximately four feet of water six weeks prior to the event because of severe flooding to the area. The combination of grounds crews working ’round-the-clock, the strong response to a GoFundMe campaign, and a break in the weather during a particularly rainy California winter allowed for a “miracle,” as organizer Connie Baxter described hosting the event.

“We’ve gotten quite a bit of weather here in California, more so than ever, and the river flooded out the lower part of the cross country,” Tamie Smith said. “So, it was a little nerve-wracking knowing whether they were going to be prepared, but they did a great job.”

Tamie won the Advanced division with the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R), owned by the Elliot V Partnership. They led after dressage with a score of 30.0 and added 6.4 time penalties on cross country for a finishing score of 36.4.

“2023 is going to be his breakout year, and he’s really come out fantastic,” Tamie said. Following what she described as a challenging 2022 for Elliot V, she plans to step him up to the 5* level for the first time in 2023 at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, where he will join Mai Baum as Smith’s rides in the CCI5* at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“He’s kind of been a little bit in the background, and I’ve been trudging along developing him,” Tamie said about Elliot V. “Although he didn’t have the best year last year, it was more bad luck type stuff, and it always felt like he couldn’t catch a break.”

Tamie also won the Intermediate with Kynan, owned by the Kynan Syndicate, adding 5.2 time penalties on cross country to their dressage score of 28.6 to finish with a score of 33.8. It was Kynan’s first Intermediate, and the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding has made a quick ascent since his first USEA-recognized event with Tamie — at Training at the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials in June 2022.

Tamie Smith and Kynan. Photo by Ride On Photo.

“I took my time last year just trying to get to know him, and over the winter, I felt like I solidified a partnership,” she said. “He’s a real all-around super horse. He’s really good in all three phases and has an intelligent mind and is game.”

Kynan finished 2022 with a win in the CCI2*-S at the Morven Park Fall International in Leesburg, VA, and then a third place in the CCI2*-L back in California at the Galway Downs International. He started 2023 winning at Preliminary at the Ram Tap Horse Trials before moving up to Intermediate at Twin Rivers.

“Everything went to plan, which is always nice, and the horses felt really prepared,” Tamie said. “The courses really felt up to par with a good track, and it was great.”

Tamie was also second in Open Preliminary with Julianne Guariglia’s 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Crafty Don (Tolan R x Diamond Breaker) to Helen Alliston and Alliston Equestrian’s 8-year-old Zangersheide gelding Flinterro Z (Figaro). Elsa Warble won the Preliminary Rider division with Anna Meegan’s 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding FE Unlimited (Uriko x Viona III).

Molly Duda and Carlingfords Hes a Clover. Photo by Ride On Photo.

In the first ever Modified held at Twin Rivers, Molly Duda and her 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Carlingfords Hes a Clover (Polanski x Fourleaf Clover) finished on their dressage score of 25.3 to win. That tied for the lowest finishing score across all levels with Kelly Estes and Waltz With Me (Wild Dance x Point of Grace) in the Beginner Novice Rider Division.

“It was a tricky course. My trainers were joking that it looked like the Modified Olympics,” Molly said with a laugh. “It felt really good. My horse, Tommy, was just incredible through it. He’s just a cross country machine. He loves it out there. The footing really held up with the rain, so it was great.”

This was the second event together for Molly and “Tommy” following a fourth-place finish at Training at Ram Tap last month. Tommy was competing at the 3* level in Great Britain with Lizzie Baugh in 2022 before partnering with Molly.

“I’ve only had him for about two months. He’s very new to me,” she said. “He’s just such a gentleman. He’s a very well-trained horse, and he loves his job. We pretty much clicked right when he got to the States. He’s always been so level-headed about everything. He’s just got the sweetest personality.”

The Baxter family that hosts eventing at Twin Rivers Ranch was incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support received in response to the flooding that led up to the Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials. There was a significant private donation and a strong community response to the GoFundMe campaign to have the facilities ready for the event.

“The support we received was so heartwarming,” organizer Connie Baxter said. “It was a real team effort, and after all the hard work that went into hosting these horse trials, we’re looking forward to the internationals, as well as the Young Event Horse West Coast Championships, that make up our show schedule in 2023.”

The next event that will take place at Twin Rivers Ranch will be the Twin Rivers Spring International on April 13-16.

The full list of winners from the 2023 Twin Rivers Winter Horse Trials:

Advanced: Tamie Smith and Elliot V (36.4)
Open Intermediate: Tamie Smith and Kynan (33.8)
Open Preliminary: Helen Alliston and Flinterro Z (26.6)
Preliminary Rider: Elsa Warble and FE Unlimited (28.8)
Open Modified: Molly Duda and Carlingfords Hes a Clover (25.3)
Open Training: Tommy Greengard and Cooley Sligo (28.3)
Sr. Training Rider: Teresa Harcourt and Csongor (29.2)
Jr. Training Rider: Fiona Holland and Joshua Tree (25.6)
Training Amateur: Jessica Jones and Jameson (30.6)
Open Novice: Rebecca Braitling and Made by Leontine EB (26.1)
Sr. Novice Rider: Alexandra Naeve and Soaring Bird (30.0)
Jr. Novice Rider: Holly Fosmark and When Starz Align (29.2)
Novice Amateur: Taylor Miles and RLE Cappuccino (26.1)
Open Beginner Novice: Lauren Billys Shady and Mister Cooley (30.6)
Beginner Novice Rider: Kelly Estes and Waltz With Me (25.3)
Starter: Helen Alliston and Faraó (27.7)

2022 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH and FEH West Coast Championships Recap

It was a case of mistaken identity for chestnut mares that gave a glimpse into the future. Catie Cejka went to school a client’s experienced eventing horse this winter but instead grabbed a different chestnut mare. To this point, the rising 4-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare Valiane (Valentino x Joey) had been lightly backed but was not anywhere near the caliber of the horse she thought she would be riding.

“She hadn’t been out and handled for six months and was actually able to stay with me for the whole time and trust me,” Cejka said.

It was quite a ride, and it’s been quite a ride since, culminating in Valiane winning the 2022 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) West Coast Championship for 4-year-olds ridden and presented by Cejka for owner Barb Hanel on Saturday at Twin Rivers in Paso Robles, Calif. In addition to Valiane, Stacia Lloyd’s bay Oldenburg filly Secret Romance (Schwarzenegger x SH Romance) was crowned West Coast champion 3-year-old presented by Chloe Smyth. They joined Friday’s FEH winners, Michlynn Sterling’s 2-year-old Trakehner filly High And Mighty (Mighty Magic x High Priestess) and Sarah Cullum’s Westphalian gelding Cape Fear (Crumble x Sweet City Woman xx), to culminate the biggest field in the history of the USEA FEH West Coast Championships since the event was inaugurated in 2019.

There were a total of 31 yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds that presented before FEH championship judges Marilyn Payne from New Jersey and Katie Rocco from Massachusetts. That represented significant growth from the previous USEA FEH West Coast Championships—21 in 2019, 19 in 2020, and 18 in 2021.

For the FEH 4-year-olds, they were judged under saddle and for conformation on Friday and then in the jump chute arena on Saturday. Valiane was fourth heading into the jump chute, and her jumping score of 86.5 jumped them to the win with a final score of 82.6.

Coincidentally, Valiane will continue to learn to event with Cejka and may eventually partner with 16-year-old Hanni Sreenan, the rider of Zena, the horse Cejka mixed up with Valiane in the winter.

“Hopefully, she might be the kid’s move-up move-up horse, or I might get to ride her,” Cejka said. “I think they’re a little shocked with how well she’s doing.”

Arnell Sporthorses’ Dutch Warmblood gelding Nicolai Van De Heering (Hernandez TN x Candy D) ridden by Bec Braitling was second with a score of 81.2. Emilie Melnychuk’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Handsome Boy (Hardwell x Walykes) was third with a score of 78.5. Katrina Rivas’ Temptress Of Love, an Irish Sport Horse and Canadian Warmblood cross that finished fourth, won the Born In America Award presented to the highest-scoring American-bred horse.

Valiane. Tina Fitch Photography.

For the FEH 3-year-olds, they were presented in-hand and at-liberty for judging their conformation and gaits before going through the jump chute. Secret Romance was the only entrant to score in the 80s for both conformation and jumping and finished on a final score of 81.3.
“When the pandemic started, I decided to look for something really nice,” owner Lloyd said. “I could not afford a 3- or 4-year-old going. So, I saw her baby pictures, and I ended up purchasing her at 9 months old.”

A lot of factors went into choosing Secret Romance, according to Lloyd.

“Beautiful head, very uphill movement, her dam’s pictures were beautiful,” she said. “I didn’t know a lot about the bloodlines, but I liked the dark bay, and I like mares especially. And, the name just seemed to be a good name. So, I went with it.”

The good feeling paid off, with Secret Romance steadily improving each of the three times she has competed in FEH events at Twin Rivers in 2022.

“At the beginning of the year, she was wild when I brought her for the first time,” Lloyd said. “She’s not a very confident lady, and the second time showed some improvement. I was really impressed with her how she handled herself, and I was just hoping for the best really.”

Lauren Salgueiro’s Oldenburg filly Carolina Comet W.E. (Rabble Rouser x Comet Swinger) finished second with a score of 76.8. Megan Bittle’s American Warmblood filly Nevadas Ember BDF, who was fourth as a 2-year-old in the 2021 USEA FEH West Coast Championships, finished third as a 3-year-old in 2022 with a score of 76.2.

From right to left, Secret Romance with owner Stacia Lloyd, handler Chloe Smyth,
FEH judge Marilyn Payne, and FEH judge Katie Rocco. Tina Fitch Photography.

The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program award for the highest-scoring Thoroughbred in the 2022 USEA FEH West Coast Championships went to Gemma-Cieli Richards’ Tappington (Eddington x Tap the Till), a 2-year-old chestnut gelding that was race training at Golden Gate Fields as recently as last month.

The FEH competition had people at Twin Rivers not only excited about the future for the talented young horses but also for future of the FEH series.

“We’re thrilled with how this program is growing on the West Coast and look forward to what’s in store for the future,” said Connie Baxter, organizer of events at Twin Rivers.

2022 USEA FEH West Coast Champions
FEH-4: Valiane (82.6)
FEH-3: Secret Romance (81.3)
FEH-2: High And Mighty (78.3)
FEH-Yearling: Cape Fear (87.6)

The 2022 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) West Coast Championships produced the highest-scoring 5-year-old champion on either coast with That’s Me Z (Take A Chance On Me Z x Venetia) and Tommy Greengard, as well as Natagho-w (Comthago x Odorette-W) and Kristin Joly capturing the 4-year-old title on Saturday at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, Calif.

There were 18 5-year-olds and 12 4-year-olds competing, representing the largest YEH field in the history of the West Coast championships since they were first held as a standalone event in 2020.

That’s Me Z, a chestnut Zangersheide gelding that Greengard owns together with Andrea Pfeiffer, debuted in USEA recognized events earlier in October, competing at Novice at Woodside and Ram Tap in California before taking on the best 5-year-olds on the West Coast as part of the event that culminated 34 YEH qualifiers and the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast and West Coast Championships.

“We’ve had him like a month or so,” Greengard said. “I was just excited to have him out, and the cards were going to fall where they fell. He’s a lovely young horse, and I’m so proud of him for showing off what a nice quality horse he is.”

That’s Me Z and Tommy Greengard. Tina Fitch Photography.

That’s Me Z and Greengard tied for the best dressage score of 16.8 out of a possible 20, followed by a score of 7.9 out of 10 for conformation and type on Friday. Then, on Saturday, they added the best jumping score of 60.6, which included having the best cumulative scores for both stadium jumping and cross country efforts. Their final score of 85.3 topped the 84.2 by the East Coast 5-year-old champion, chestnut Trakehner gelding Sky Moon (E. H. Sixtus x Pr. St. Sky Lady) ridden by Boyd Martin. That could put That’s Me Z and Greengard in position to be awarded the prestigious Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Lion d’Angers Grant should they qualify for the FEI World Young Horse Championships at Mondial du Lion when the horse is 7.

Nick Cwick finished second and third with his bay Swedish Warmblood gelding Piccadilly’s Pride M.E. (Colmander x Narew xx) and chestnut Hanoverian gelding Lowmax. Starting Over (Street Sense x Indy Five Hundred), a former stakes-winning racehorse under the name of Albert Park, won The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program award recognizing the top-finishing Thoroughbred. Michlynn Sterling and her Irish Sport Horse gelding Gaelic Gamble (Island Commander x Marlton Dusk) were the recipients of the Safe Harbor Award recognizing their partnership.

Just like how That’s Me Z and Greengard represent a new partnership, so too did the 4-year-old West Coast champion Natagho-w and Joly.

“Amber Birtcil owns him through Cellar Farm, and she got him in Holland earlier this year,” Joly said. “He just got to America a month ago. This was her intention, and I get to be lucky enough to go along for the ride.”

Their first USEA recognized event together was the Last Chance Qualifier held on Thursday at Twin Rivers. They had the best score among the nine 4-year-olds. In the championships, they moved up from sixth after dressage and conformation to first with the best jumping score on day two.

“He’s super easy,” Joly said. “He’s just a good boy.”

Natagho-w and Kristin Joly. Tina Fitch Photography.

Cindy Hahn’s German Sport Horse gelding Tristan (Titulus x Elaisa) ridden by Michele Pestl, the leader after dressage and conformation, was reserve champion 4-year-old. Christy Garcia’s Thoroughbred gelding Wynnville ridden by Ella Garcia was third, as well as being the winner of the Go Get ‘Em Award presented by Stillwater Farm in memory of Don Trotter for the best gallop score and the Born In America Award presented to the highest-scoring American-bred horse.

The growing popularity of the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH and FEH West Coast Championships reflects the
vision of the Baxter family at Twin Rivers.

“It’s my vision to make it look and feel like an FEI event for these young horses,” Andrea Baxter, a member of the USEA’s YEH and FEH committees, said before the championships. “They’re only young once, so it’s a unique opportunity for these special young horses to show themselves off.”

2022 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Champions
YEH-5: That’s Me Z and Tommy Greengard (85.3)
YEH-4: Natagho-w and Kristin Joly (84.1)

FEH & YEH Last Chance Qualifier & West Coast Championships (Paso Robles, CA): [Website] [Entries/Times/Scoring] [Volunteer]

Yearling and 2-Year-Old FEH Champions Crowned on First Day of Competition at the USEA YEH and FEH West Coast Championships

From right to left, Cape Fear with owner Sarah Cullum, handler Nolan Spence, FEH judge
Marilyn Payne, and FEH judge Katie Rocco. Tina Fitch Photography.

Sarah Cullum’s Westphalian gelding Cape Fear (Crumble x Sweet City Woman xx) was champion yearling with the best West Coast championship score in history, and Michlynn Sterling’s Trakehner filly High And Mighty (Mighty Magic x High Priestess), whose sire, Mighty Magic, was the World 7-Year-Old Eventing Champion at Le Lion d’Angers in 2010, was champion 2-year-old at the USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) West Coast Championships at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, Calif., on Friday.

Yearlings and 2-year-olds were first presented for conformation before FEH judges Marilyn Payne from New Jersey and Katie Rocco from Massachusetts. Then, their gaits were evaluated with handlers walking their horses clockwise in a 15-meter triangle followed at the trot in a 30-meter triangle.
Cape Fear, owned by Cullum and handled by Nolan Spence, scored 87.625, the highest among the three FEH champions in 2022. East Coast champion VV-Aniyah (SGF Ahmour x Second Base), an Anglo Arab owned by Bill Payne, scored 87.57 at Loch Moy Farm in Maryland. Central champion Beatrice MRF (Barbarossa x Bayadere), a Trakehner filly owned by Elizabeth Mulroney, scored 79.12 at Haras Hacienda in Texas.

“Just to do the best we could, I just want to make the breeder proud of her line,” said Cullum, who bought Cape Fear from breeder Elizabeth Callahan. “His dad is a Holsteiner, and his mom is an off-track Thoroughbred.”

Cape Fear’s score was also the highest in the history of the West Coast championships, which were first held in 2019, and the best in any FEH championships since Oldenburg gelding Royal Casino (Rosenthal x Lady Logan) and Cynthia Gartrell finished on an 88.33 at the 2018 USEA FEH East Coast Championships.

“Winning is the ultimate goal, but I wasn’t going to be disappointed with however he did because I know how much of a great horse he is,” Cullum said. “He’s been an awesome baby for me. The breeder just did such a great job before I ever bought him.”

The top-finishing yearling filly was Amaya Davis’ Thoroughbred-Irish Draught Sport Horse Sealebrity (Sea Lion x DKH Estrelita) with a score of 75.4. Cullum said she plans to return to Twin Rivers next year for the 2023 USEA FEH West Coast Championships.

For the FEH 2-year-olds, Sterling’s filly High And Mighty won with a score of 78.3, ahead of the top finishing gelding, Erin Storey’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Prachtige Schatt (Markus Des Jardins x Mijin Schatje).

“I just came in wanting to give the two horses an experience,” Sterling said about High And Mighty and her other FEH 2-year-old entrant, Corona Especial (Coranado x Really Elegant). “We bred her with the full intention of the upper levels. We bred the mare [High Priestess] to Mighty Magic thinking that would be a pretty incredible event horse.”

From right to left, High And Mighty with owner and handler Michlynn Sterling,
FEH judge Marilyn Payne, and FEH judge Katie Rocco. Tina Fitch Photography.

Sterling is already looking to the future.

“I love the program,” Sterling said. “I think it just brings on the horses and gives a whole balanced education. Ideally, I’ll bring her back next year for the 3-year-olds and then after that for the 4- and 5- year-olds.”

The first day of competition for the Dutta Corp. Young Event Horse (YEH) West Coast Championships included dressage tests judged by Payne and evaluations for conformation and type for judge Martin Plewa from Germany.

Tommy Greengard rode the two best-scoring 5-year-olds. Both Macha (Don Frederic x Com Airline), a Holsteiner mare owned by Lisa Peecook, and That’s Me Z (Take A Chance On Me Z x Venetia, a Zangersheide gelding owned by Andrea Pfeiffer, came from Germany and began competing in USEA recognized events in October at the Novice level in California ridden by Greengard. Both horses tied for the best dressage score of 16.8, which accounts for 20 percent of the overall score. Macha’s score for conformation and type was 8.0, for an overall score of 24.8. That’s Me Z’s score of 7.9 for conformation and type gave them an overall score of 24.7.

Also with a 24.7 after day one was Lowmax, a Hanoverian chestnut gelding ridden by Nicholas Cwick with four wins at the Training level at events in California in 2022.

For the YEH 4-year-olds, Cindy Hahn’s German Sport Horse Tristan (Titulus x Elaisa) is currently in first-place with a score of 23.7 ridden by Michelle Pestl.

The YEH 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds will do their jumping tests on Saturday to account for the remaining 70 percent of their score.

The FEH 4-year-olds also had their first day of competition on Friday with evaluations under saddle and for conformation before they do the jump chute on Saturday. The current leader is Arnell Sporthorses’ Dutch Warmblood gelding Nicolai Van De Heering (Hernandez TN x Candy D). The FEH 3-year-olds will also go through the jump chute on Saturday. Ride On Video will live stream Saturday’s competition.

Twin Rivers is proud to host the 2022 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) and Future Event  Horse (FEH) West Coast Championships with generous support from sponsors. 

Presenting sponsors for the season include: LEGIS Equine, horsemen insuring horsemen, Auburn Labs,  manufacturers of the adaptogenic APF Formula for horses, people and dogs; Best Western PLUS Black  Oak, which offers exclusive discounts for exhibitors; and Professional’s Choice, manufacturers of sports  medicine boots for equine athletes. 

Supporting sponsors include: Chubby Cov, makers of beautiful custom stock ties; Riding Warehouse,  the horse gear and apparel supplier; RevitaVet, a leader in preventative maintenance and rehabilitative  infrared therapy devices; and Devoucoux, saddle makers dedicated to the partnership between horse and  rider.  

FEH & YEH Last Chance Qualifier & West Coast Championships (Paso Robles, CA): [Website] [Entries/Times/Scoring] [Volunteer]

Previewing the Biggest YEH and FEH West Coast Championships

Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International. Ride On Photo.

Twin Rivers Ranch is preparing to host the largest field for the Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) and Future Event Horse (FEH) West Coast Championships since they were first run as a standalone event in Paso Robles, Calif., in 2020. A total of 65 horses were entered as of the start of the week of the competition that will culminate the year of YEH events for 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds and FEH events for yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds.

The entrants include former YEH and FEH West Coast champions. Some will begin their weekend by competing in the Last Chance Qualifier on Thursday, Oct. 27, before the championships take place with dressage and conformation evaluations on Friday, Oct. 28, and jumping tests on Saturday, Oct. 29.
“We feel like we’re starting to develop a tradition,” said Connie Baxter, organizer for events at Twin Rivers. “We’re thrilled with how this event has grown and how excited riders on the West Coast are to showcase their young talent.”

The Baxter family’s commitment to growing the YEH and FEH series on the West Coast is also reflected in Andrea Baxter being a member of both the USEA’s YEH and FEH committees.

“I’ve worked very hard to keep the West Coast relative and growing,” Andrea Baxter said. “It’s my vision to make it look and feel like an FEI event for these young horses. They’re only young once, so it’s a unique opportunity for these special young horses to show themselves off.”

There were 41 horses that competed in each of the 2020 and 2021 Dutta Corp. USEA YEH and FEH West Coast Championships.

Among the 20 horses entered in the 5-year-old championships in 2022 are the top three 4-year-olds from 2021—Anita Nardine’s Oldenburg gelding Quinn HSR (Quarterback x Bonne Chance) ridden by Kaylawna Smith-Cook, Michlynn Sterling’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Musquito (Fly x Silona), and Sterling’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Gaelic Gamble (Island Commander x Marlton Dusk).

Sterling’s third 5-year-old entry is Irish Sport Horse gelding Carrigfadda (Luidam x The Big Lady), who is coming off posting the best YEH 5-year-old qualifying score in the country in 2022 with 87.3 and winning the Novice Amateur division on their dressage score of 23.9 at the Twin Rivers Fall International in September.

Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International. Ride On Photo.

“He is the best jumper I’ve ever sat on,” Sterling said about Carrigfadda. “He loves to jump. He just eats it up. I’ve never felt something like that.”
Also in the 5-year-old field is the 2021 USEA FEH 4-Year-Old West Coast champion, Oldenburg mare Graceland’s Ladera (Libero Star x Rittersporn) ridden by Charlotte Freeman. They won a YEH 5-year old qualifying event at Shepherd Ranch in California in June.

For the 12 YEH 4-year-olds, with 10 currently entered in the championships and an additional two in the Last Chance Qualifier, Layla Self’s Oldenburg gelding Indelible (Sandro’s Star x Ava) had the third highest 4-year-old qualifying score in the country in 2022 with 85.3 ridden by Maxance McManamy at Shepherd Ranch in August. McManamy was the 2009 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year across all breeds and disciplines.

Four of the nine riders with horses entered for the 4-year-old championships will be traveling from outside of California—Ashley Horowitz from Colorado on Irish Sport Horse gelding Monbeg Salt Fever (Womanizer x Eden Breeze), Catie Cejka from Washington on Irish Sport Horse mare MRF Nonchalant (Metropole x Cavalier Carnival Rose), Erin Storey from Idaho on Canadian Warmblood gelding Grayscape (Farscape DSF x Lotta), and Michele Pestl from Washington on German Sport horse gelding Tristan (Titulus x Elaisa).

The field of 10 for the USEA FEH 4-Year-Old West Coast Championships includes Hanoverian gelding RSH Goliath (Gringo-Gallipoli x Sam’s Girl), an FEH West Coast champion as a 2-year-old in 2020 and as a 3-year-old in 2021 when presented by Chloe Smyth.

Two FEH 4-year-olds, The Big Easy (Mr Lincoln B x PLS Hippo Q) and MBF Kingsriver Romeo (Womanizer x Soraja), both Irish Sport Horse geldings, are also entered in the YEH 4-year-old Last Chance Qualifier.

Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International. Ride On Photo.

Among the eight FEH 3-year-olds, Belgian Warmblood mare Trilogy (Claire de Lune x Honor Jean) was the FEH West Coast champion as a yearling in 2020 when presented by owner Janine Jaro and as a 2-year-old in 2021 with Ghislaine Homan-Taylor. Megan Bittle’s 3-year-old American Warmblood gelding Nevadas Ember BDF, fourth as a 2-year-old in 2021, enters the 2022 championships off of the highest FEH qualifying score across all ages this year with 88.3 at the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials in June.

Martin Plewa from Germany and Marilyn Payne from New Jersey will be the YEH judges at Twin Rivers. Earlier this month, Plewa and Payne judged at the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH East Coast Championships at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. Plewa was the national coach of German eventing team from 1985 to 2001 and is well-regarded for his work with young horses. Payne, an eventing judge at the 2008 and 2016 Olympics and recently President of the Ground Jury at the 2022 American Eventing Championships, is the chair of the USEA Young Event Horse Committee.

Payne and Katie Rocco from Massachusetts will be the FEH judges at Twin Rivers. Rocco judged the USEA FEH East Coast Championships at Loch Moy Farm in Maryland last month.

Ride On Video will again produce a livestream of the Dutta Corp. USEA YEH and FEH West Coast Championships. Last year’s livestream attracted approximately 1,000 viewers.

“You ride your upper-level horses, and you know them really well, and then the young horses, it’s like, ‘I wonder what they’re going to do,’” Rebecca Braitling, who rode three YEH championship horses in 2021, said about the camaraderie among riders after last year’s event. “Coming out, you feel like you’re ready to go to the Olympics.”

FEH & YEH Last Chance Qualifier & West Coast Championships (Paso Robles, CA): [Website] [Entries/Times/Scoring] [Volunteer]

Number of Horses (as of Oct. 24)
YEH-5: 20
YEH-4: 10 (with potentially 2 more in Last Chance Qualifier)
FEH-4: 10
FEH-3: 8
FEH-2: 7
FEH-YR: 10
TOTAL: 65 (includes 2 with entries in both YEH-4 and FEH-4)

Sponsors and Volunteers

Twin Rivers is proud to host the 2022 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) and Future Event Horse (FEH) West Coast Championships with generous support from sponsors.

Presenting sponsors for the season include: LEGIS Equine, horsemen insuring horsemen, Auburn Labs, manufacturers of the adaptogenic APF Formula for horses, people and dogs; Best Western PLUS Black Oak, which offers exclusive discounts for exhibitors; and Professional’s Choice, manufacturers of sports medicine boots for equine athletes.

Supporting sponsors include: Chubby Cov, makers of beautiful custom stock ties; Riding Warehouse, the horse gear and apparel supplier; RevitaVet, a leader in preventative maintenance and rehabilitative infrared therapy devices; and Devoucoux, saddle makers dedicated to the partnership between horse and rider.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Christina Gray of Gray Area Events at [email protected].

Volunteers play a major part of events at Twin Rivers. Twin Rivers’ generous volunteer incentive program includes vouchers for show stabling and credits for schooling between events at the beautiful 500-acre venue. That is in addition to the genuine appreciation of the Baxter family and the entire Twin Rivers team. To sign up, please visit www.twinrivershorsepark/volunteer.

Bec Braitling and Caravaggio II Produce Milestone Win in FEI Comeback at Twin Rivers

A double clear cross country round propelled Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio II to their first blue ribbon together in the CCI4*-Short, and Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector continued their run of sub-30 dressage tests to win the CCI3*-Short at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, Calif.

Other highlights included victory by Grace Wechser and Raskadero on their dressage score in the CCI2*-Short, the best 5-year-old qualifying score in the country this year for the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) by Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda, and the YEH 4-year-old win by Nicole Fuentes and Jungle Love DF.

The CCI4*-Short marked a return to FEI competition for Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses’ 11-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) following their fourth-place finish in the CCI4*-Long at Galway Downs in November 2021.

Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio II. Ride On Photo.

“I had my sights set on Kentucky, and we had a health setback in March,” Braitling said. “So, this has been pretty exciting to get him back at that level.”

They continued their streak of never having a cross-country jump fault in the 26 events they’ve completed since they started competing together in 2019. They added just 1.2 time penalties in stadium jumping to finish on a score of 42.6. Kaylawna Smith-Cook finished second and third with the 13-year-old German Sport Horse gelding Passepartout (Pasco x Preschel) that she co-owns with Gretchen Cook and the 12-year-old German Sport Horse mare MB MaiBlume (Sir Schiwago x Free Lady) owned by the MB Group LLC.

“He’s a super cross country horse,” Braitling said about Caravaggio II. “He really loves it. It’s funny because he’s quite a spooky horse, so it’s odd that he’s so brave at the same time. But, he is a little bit spooky, which is a good thing because it keeps him careful.”

Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio II. Ride On Photo.

Braitling said that she and the owners of Caravaggio II plan to donate their prize money back to the show in appreciation for Twin Rivers’ hosting the FEI levels of eventing.

In the CCI3*-Short, Turner and her 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Shadow Inspector (Tinaranas Inspector x Caragh Roller) improved to 21 of 23 events with sub-30 dressage scores since they started competing together in 2019 after the horse had previously done FEI events in Great Britain. They added 6.8 time penalties on cross country to their dressage score of 26.1 to finish on a score of 32.9 while leading after each phase.

“He really kept the energy well,” Turner said. “I was very happy with him because he’s always so steady and obedient. It’s just adding that next level of brilliance to help continue to get our scores better.”

Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector. Ride On Photo.

The victory was their first since the CCI2*-Short at the 2020 Twin Rivers Fall International. In 2022, the CCI2*Short was won by Wechser and her 16-year-old Westphalian gelding Raskadero (Rascalino x Naddel), who finished on their dressage score of 28.1.

With Twin Rivers Ranch set to host the USEA Young & Future Event Horse West Coast Championships on October 28 and 29, Sterling and her bay Irish Sport Horse gelding Carrigfadda (Luidam x The Big Lady) recorded the best qualifying score in the nation for 5-year-olds in 2022.

Sterling said she plans to return to Twin Rivers to compete in The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championships for the first time, a milestone in a journey that began when she bought Carrigfadda off a video from Ireland in July 2021.

“He has been a handful,” Sterling said. “We call him ‘Oscar the Grouch’ and ‘Trashcan Man’ depending on the day. I actually did not show him at all last year. I tried to sort him out and get to know him. He had such a huge ego. He’s not mean and thinks it’s funny. But, his saving grace is that when you get on him, he’s pretty amazing.”

Sterling and Carrigfadda earned 22.4 out of a possible 30.0 in dressage and 64.9 out of 70.0 in jumping and potential for a total score of 87.3. They also won the Novice Amateur division, finishing on their dressage score of 23.9.

Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda. Ride On Photo.

“It felt amazing,” she said. “He is the best jumper I’ve ever sat on. He loves to jump. He just eats it up. I’ve never felt something like that.”

The next best YEH 5-year-old qualifying scores in the United States this year are 86.7 by the Anglo-Arab gelding A-Debussy Royale (Adzaro de L’Abbaye x Zorosa) ridden by Michael Pendleton and owned by Kelli Temple at the Waredaca Farm Horse Trials in Maryland in August and 86.4 by the Dutch Warmblood mare K.M. Baliaretto (Adagio de Talma x Ubalia) ridden and owned by Kurt Martin at the Flora Lea Fall Horse Trials in New Jersey in September. One more YEH qualifying event will take place at the Spokane Sport Horse Fall Horse Trials in Washington on September 29 before the East Coast and West Coast championships are held in October.

For Fuentes and Jungle Love DF (The Twain x Vanity), the YEH 4-year-old winners at the Twin Rivers Fall International with a score of 75.7, their connection began with the bay Oldenburg mare being foaled at the Dragonfire Farm of Earl and Jennifer McFall where Fuentes is a working student, in addition to having a full-time job in IT for the State of California. Fuentes bought Jungle Love DF as a 2-year-old and finished third with her at the USEA FEH West Coast Championships for 2-year-olds in 2020.

“She loves her job, so it’s been a treat to have a horse that loves to do what they’re doing,” Fuentes said. “She’s always been really brave to fences. She took to jumping really well. It’s one of her favorite things.”

Nicole Fuentes and Jungle Love DF. Ride On Photo.

Winners of FEH qualifiers at the Twin Rivers Fall International were Andrea Baxter and her Irish Sport Horse gelding The Big Easy (Mr Lincoln B x PLS Hippo Q) for 4-year-olds, Anastasia Keyser and Sharon Steinhauser’s Belgian Warmblood mare Saphira De Lune (Clair de Lune SE x Bella Luna) for 3-year-olds, and Gemma Forshaw and her Belgian Warmblood gelding Uno Momento (Donar Weiss x
K GFF Cailida) for 2-year-olds.

“There was great turnout and quality this weekend, particularly for Young Event Horse and Future Event Horse, and we’re excited about the momentum heading into the West Coast championships,” said Connie Baxter, organizer for events at Twin Rivers. “We’re looking forward to hosting and continuing to promote these valuable series.”

Entries for the USEA Young & Future Event Horse West Coast Championships, the final recognized
event to be held at Twin Rivers in 2022, close on October 11.

The full list of winners from the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International:
CCI4*-S: Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio II (42.6)
CCI3*-S: Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector (32.9)
CCI2*-S: Grace Wechser and Raskadero (28.1)
Open Intermediate: Josey Thompson and Pistol Annie (50.3)
Open Preliminary: James Alliston and Keep Calm (28.1)
Preliminary Rider: Sophia Merz and Clara Bö (31.9)
Open Training: Nicholas Cwick and Lowmax (24.8)
Jr. Training Rider: Kelson Frieden and RHS Caspar Conthargos (30.0)
Sr. Training Rider: Kendra Mitchell and Calcourt Legend (28.3)
Training Amateur: Stacia Lloyd and Kid A (28.3)
Open Novice: Alexis Helffrich and Dolce Flame (25.8)
Jr. Novice Rider: Sofia Seto and Armi (23.9)
Sr. Novice Rider: Isabella Robinson and Ringwood Rouge (24.4)
Novice Amateur: Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda (23.9)
Open Beginner Novice A: Toora O’Mahony and Kiki’s Delivery Service (25.0)
Open Beginner Novice B: Chloe Smyth and Constantine Stanislavsky (26.9)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider: Fiona Holland and Joshua Tree (22.8)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider A: Kelly Schwisow and Redfield Out Of The Blue (25.9)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider B: Erin Rousey and Winsome Willow (29.7)
Introductory A: Kassandra Barajas and Sean O’Connor (27.3)
Introductory B: Toora O’Mahony and Presumida MR II (26.0)
FEH-2: Gemma Forshaw and Uno Momento (81.2)
FEH-3: Anastasia Keyser and Saphira De Lune (80.5)
FEH-4: Andrea Baxter and The Big Easy (82.4)
YEH-4: Nicole Fuentes and Jungle Love DF (75.7)
YEH-5: Michlynn Sterling and Carrigfadda (87.3)

Twin Rivers Fall International (Paso Robles, CA): [Website] [Results]

Solaguayre California Takes a Step Forward with Win at Twin Rivers

Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California. Photo by Ride On Photo.

After traveling the world last year and campaigning on the East Coast to start this year, Solaguayre California (Casparo x Solaguayre Calandria) returned to competition in the home state of her rider, Tamie Smith, to win the Advanced level at the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials held over Fourth of July Weekend in Paso Robles, California.

The Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials marked the two-year anniversary since Smith took the mount on Solaguayre California and won at the Preliminary level at this event in 2020 aboard Julianne Guariglia’s bay Argentinian Sport Horse that used to compete in 1.3-meter show jumpers in Argentina.

“We’ve definitely been going at a steady uphill speed,” Smith said. “She’s awesome. It’s great to have a horse like her because she’s the real deal.” In the 2022 Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials, they jumped clear and added just time penalties to their dressage score of 29.8 to finish on a score of 35.4.

“She was super,” Smith said. “She was great in all three phases. She really has matured a lot from her East Coast trip.”

This time last year, Solaguayre California and Smith were preparing to compete at Arville in Belgium and Boekelo in the Netherlands. “She handled it like a champ, a very exciting horse for the future,” Smith said. “It’s still a new partnership. It’s only my second year competing and riding her, and she was going Training level when I got her.”

Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California will tackle the 4*-L at Rebecca Farm this month. Photo by Ride On Photo.

Now 11 years old, Solaguayre California’s next event will be the CCI4*-Short at The Event at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. “She’s a bit new to the level and she traveled to the East Coast this spring, so we were trying to get her a run—she hasn’t run since Kentucky in April—so get her out of the box and get her going before the fall season starts,” Smith said.

Finishing second, third, and fourth at Advanced at the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials were a trio of horses ridden by James Alliston. Alliston Equestrian’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding RevitaVet Calaro (Camiros x Tanner) was second with a score of 35.6. “That was only his second Advanced, so he’s moving up, and I’m really happy with how he’s taking to going Advanced,” Alliston said.

Alliston Equestrian’s 8-year-old Canadian Warmblood Nemesis (by Novalis) was third at 37.5. Helen Alliston’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Paper Jam (Paparazzo x Reely Jamin XX) was fourth at 39.1. Coincidentally, all three of Alliston’s horses finished the Advanced cross country course designed by Morgan Rowsell within a second of each other’s time. Nemesis and Paper Jam are entered in the CCI4*-Long at Rebecca and RevitaVet Calaro in the CCI4*-Short there.

“I love doing the Twin show three weeks out from Rebecca,” Alliston said. “It’s a really good tune-up and fitness for the horses doing the ‘Longs’ at Rebecca. The ground is nice at Twin, so you can give them a quickish run there.”

Sophia Johnson and Arogorn’s Elegant Falcon took third in the Junior Novice at Twin. Photo by Ride On Photo.

The 2022 Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials also served as the United States Pony Clubs Eventing Championships West. Of the five horses and riders that took part across the Novice and Beginner Novice levels, the top finishers were third-places by Sophia Johnson aboard Arogorn’s Elegant Falcon (by Beyond Time) in the Junior Novice Rider division and by Ryann Bodman and Mohikan (Midnight Lute x Indiam Slipper) in the Senior Novice Rider A division. Bodman and Johnson, with Kayla Bentham as stable manager, were part of the winning Camino Real team.

“Smooth, great, fun, energetic, what Pony Club is supposed to be like, a positive experience,” said Stacey Bodman, the mother of 19-year-old Ryann.

Twin River’s July event featured competition in the USEA’s Young Event Horse and Future Event Horse series. Twin Rivers will host the USEA Young & Future Event Horse West Coast Championships on October 28 and 29. The next event at Twin Rivers will be the Fall International from September 22 to 25.

The full list of winners from the 2022 Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials:

Advanced: Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California (35.4)
Open Intermediate: Helen Alliston and Ebay (26.8)
Open Preliminary: Taren Hoffos and Regalla (28.3)
Preliminary Rider: Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild (29.3)
Open Training: Tommy Greengard and Cappachina (25.5)
Sr. Training Rider: Sarah Ross and Fernhill Heart Throb (24.8)
Jr. Training Rider: Lauren Crabtree and Excellence (26.2)
Training Horse: Nicholas Cwick and Lowmax (26.2)
Open Novice: Helen Alliston and Call Me Rudi (26.7)
Sr. Novice Rider A: Mackenzie Davison and Lockdown JPL (27.8)
Sr. Novice Rider B: Carrie Finno and Zahara (28.9)
Jr. Novice Rider: Gracie Pitts and Valeureux (32.5)
Novice Horse: Haley Turner and Remember Me (26.4)
Open Beginner Novice: Tommy Greengard and Shark (29.1)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider: Julienne Biglin and Reverie GWF (23.1)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider: Marilyn Schackner and Georgie Z (35.0)
Starter: Ellen Gudiksen and Kilkenny Fugitive (35.3)
FEH-3: Megan Bittle and Nevadas Ember BDF (88.3)
FEH-4: Celina Sanchez and Solaguayre Dina (81.3)
FEH-Yearling: John Lyons and Chatsworth Sea Hawk (86.8)
YEH-5: Sigourney Jellins and Catlina PJ (82.4)

Twin Rivers Spring International Has Best in West Looking Ahead to Big Goals

James Alliston and RevitaVet Calaro. Photo by Ride On Photo.

The 2022 Twin Rivers Spring International held over Easter Weekend in Paso Robles, Calif., was a key event for some of the West Coast’s top riders to assess their horses, and it proved to be a confidence booster for their journeys to the upper levels of the sport. In the first event of the year held at Twin Rivers Ranch, horses and riders faced questions on cross country presented by new cross country course designer Morgan Rowsell.

India McEvoy returned to competition for the first time since August 2021 and eight weeks after giving birth to her first son, Sam, to reunite with E’zara and win the CCI2*-Long in the black Oldenburg mare’s FEI debut.

Andrea Baxter’s Laguna Seca turned in his best score in an FEI event to win the CCI3*-Short for the bay Holsteiner gelding’s first blue ribbon since last year’s Twin Rivers Spring International at the CCI4*-Short.

James Alliston and RevitaVet Calaro followed up their CCI3*-Short victory at the Galway Downs International earlier in April with a win in the CCI3*-Long. Alliston also used Twin Rivers as the final prep for Paper Jam before the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Paper Jam was second at Advanced to Alliston’s other mount at the level, Nemesis. Plus, Irish Pop won at Intermediate for Alliston.

Helen Alliston successfully returned to the CCI4*-Short level aboard Ebay for the first time since breaking her hip and pelvis in May 2021.

And, Castle Larchfield Purdy, now 20 years old and making his first start since competing at the Tokyo Olympics with Lauren Billys of Puerto Rico, won the Preliminary Rider B division with new rider Maddie Smith. The bay Irish Sport Horse gelding and Billys were also Olympians in Rio in 2016.

Welcoming New FEI Cross Country Course Designer Morgan Rowsell to Twin Rivers

India McEvoy and E’zara. Photo by Ride On Photo.

The Twin Rivers Spring International marked the first time for the event that the FEI cross country courses were designed by Morgan Rowsell (FEI Level 3 and USEA “S” course designer).

“I think ultimately the West Coast riders really want to have these courses up to snuff so that they can prepare for Kentucky and international competitions without having to spend all their time, money, and effort going out East,” he said. “My three-year plan would be to get some more infrastructure out to the racetrack [at Twin Rivers] and notch it up to the standard. We have a great event.”

Rowsell said that this is the first time he has designed cross country courses on dirt and that he was pleased with the footing at Twin Rivers. The background he brought from designing up to the Advanced level at the Millbrook Horse Trials, at the Horse Park of New Jersey, at Rocking Horse, at the Aspen Farm Horse Trials, and more was appreciated by riders on the West Coast.

“I thought it was awesome,” James Alliston said. “They used all the water jumps for the 3-star long, which is great. If you have them, why not use them—there was a bounce in, a big drop in, a water-to- water jump. It had everything, so I thought it was a really, really good course. It was long, which I think is important on flattish grounds to make it an endurance test. It had every sort of fence really.”

Added Twin Rivers organizer Connie Baxter: “We were really excited to welcome everyone back to Twin Rivers this year, and we appreciate all the support from the volunteers, sponsors, course builders, staff, and officials to make it happen. We’re excited to have Morgan be part of the team and what he will continue to bring to the course design of the event.”

CCI2*-Long: India McEvoy and E’Zara

India McEvoy and E’zara. Photo by Ride On Photo.

The lowest finishing score at the FEI levels was turned in by India McEvoy and E’zara with a 30.8. McEvoy was competing on the mare that she says stands just 15.1hh for the first time since having a baby eights weeks ago.

“I’ve had this goal of a two-star for like five years,” McEvoy said. “So, it was a big weekend for us to complete and do well. It was a fun weekend.” McEvoy’s coach, James Alliston, had ridden E’zara in her two previous events at the end of 2021.

“I just started riding her six weeks ago after I had my boy,” McEvoy said.

In addition to getting back in the saddle after giving birth, McEvoy’s sense of timing also showed through by finishing her double clear cross country round on the optimum time of 7:19, giving her the tiebreaker over Taylor McFall and Stoneman, who finished with an identical score of 30.8.

CCI3*-Short: Andrea Baxter and Laguna Seca

In the CCI3*-Short, Andrea Baxter and Laguna Seca were the only pair without a rail in stadium jumping and the only pair to finish within the time while jumping clear on cross country to finish on their dressage score of 33.0. Their cross country time of 6:01 was 10 seconds below optimum and 13 seconds faster than any other competitor at the level.

“By riding him fast on the cross country, I really realized that he finds his scope out of a more forward step and gained a lot of confidence from doing that,” Baxter said. “I think going forward, I’ve discovered a new ride on him.”

Gina Economou and her bay Dutch Warmblood gelding Exclusive were second at 39.7, and Tommy Greengard and his bay Dutch Warmblood gelding Joshuay MBF were third at 39.9.

Baxter said she plans to move Laguna Seca back up to the Advanced level for his next show.

“I moved him up to Advanced last year, probably a little bit prematurely,” Baxter said. “He was going well, but not as well as I would have liked. So, I stepped him back down to Intermediate, 3-star to make it a little smoother and figure out where I could fill in the gaps. This weekend, I had the pressure on to win and finally went fast and think he had the best round he’s ever had. I’m really excited.”

CCI3*-Long: James Alliston and RevitaVet Calaro

James Alliston and RevitaVet Calaro. Photo by Ride On Photo.

In the CCI3*-Long, James Alliston and his bay Holsteiner gelding RevitaVet Calaro recorded a double- clear cross country round and added four jumping penalties to finish at 38.6 and defeat two entrants ridden by Chloe Smyth, the dark brown Thoroughbred gelding Flyin Huckleberry in second at 44.7 and the bay Belgian Warmblood gelding Guinness on Draught in third at 45.1.

“He’s a bit buzzy in the mind, but he’s really talented,” James Alliston said. “He’s just hot, and it takes a bit of work to have him relaxed in the dressage. He’s just sort of a bit lit-up in general on the show grounds, kind of nervy. He has a lot of talent, going well, and will have learned a lot this weekend.”

James Alliston completed a trifecta of blue ribbons with the chestnut Canadian Warmblood gelding Nemesis at Advanced and the bay Hanoverian gelding Irish Pop at Intermediate.

Nemesis has not been outside of the top two in seven events since July 2021. He overtook James Alliston’s other entrant at Advanced, the chestnut Hanoverian-Thoroughbred gelding Paper Jam, by jumping clear and just adding time penalties to finish on a score of 47.6.

“Nemesis is green and has only done one Advanced two weeks ago, but he’s a very nice horse,” he said. “Just giving him mileage at the level really. It was a nice, strong course, had all sort of different jumps, lots of different jumps in the water. So, I think he will have learned a lot.”

James Alliston is scheduled to compete at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event for the first time since 2017 with Paper Jam.

“I’m quite nervous,” said Alliston, who previously competed in Kentucky every year from 2011 to 2017. “I think when you’re going every year, it’s just sort of routine. But, I haven’t been in a while, and it’s the horse’s first time going.”

Irish Pop finished on his dressage score of 30.6 at Intermediate over Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector.

CCI4*-Short: Helen Alliston and Ebay

Helen Alliston and Ebay. Photo by Ride On Photo.

The CCI4*-Short was the 16th victory for Ebay since Helen Alliston began competing on the grey Oldenburg gelding in 2016, but she said this win was particularly significant.

“This was our first big one; we had a bit of a crash last May and I broke my hip and my pelvis,” she said. “It was a little bit nerve-racking going into this one. This was my first time back at the level, but he felt fantastic and confident. So, I was thrilled.”

Helen Alliston and Ebay also won at the level at the Woodside International in October 2019. Their win at Twin Rivers over Madison Temkin and the bay Thoroughbred gelding Dr. Hart came after a 29.1 in dressage and adding four stadium jumping penalties plus some time penalties in the jumping phases to finish on 42.3.

Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead

James Alliston and RevitaVet Calaro. Photo by Ride On Photo.

In Open Preliminary, Jordan Linstedt and the bay Hanoverian mare Lovely Lola only added 1.6 time penalties on cross country to their dressage score of 22.6 to finish at 24.2 for their fifth win in a row at the Preliminary level. Maddie Smith and the bay Thoroughbred gelding Versace won Preliminary Rider A with a score of 32.7, while Smith and Castle Larchfield Purdy moved up from 12th after dressage to win Preliminary Rider B with a score of 39.3.

Looking ahead in the 2022 calendar, Twin Rivers is scheduled to host the Twin Rivers Summer Horse Trials from June 30 to July 3, the Twin Rivers Fall International from Sept. 22 to 25, and the FEH & YEH Last Chance Qualifier and West Coast Championships from Oct. 27 to 29.

The full list of winners from the 2022 Twin Rivers Spring International:

CCI4*-S: Helen Alliston and Ebay (42.3)
CCI3*-L: James Alliston and RevitaVet Calaro (38.6)
CCI3*-S: Andrea Baxter and Laguna Seca (33.0)
CCI2*-L: India McEvoy and E’zara (30.8)
Advanced: James Alliston and Nemesis (47.6)
Open Intermediate: James Alliston and Irish Pop (30.6)
Open Preliminary: Jordan Linstedt and Lovely Lola (24.2)
Preliminary Rider A: Maddie Smith and Versace (32.7)
Preliminary Rider B: Maddie Smith and Castle Larchfield Purdy (39.3) Open Training: Tommy Greengard and Shannondale Fionn (28.1)
Sr. Training Rider A: Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild (26.4)
Sr. Training Rider B: Audrey Morrissey and Lord Limon (30.6)
Jr. Training Rider: Morgan Tyler and Livius (26.9)
Training Amateur: Kristin Terris and Rathcash Olympia (29.7) Training Horse: Rebecca Braitling and Conlino PS (29.4)
Open Novice: Tommy Greengard and Global Barouma (23.6)
Sr. Novice Rider: Sarah Ross and Fernhill Heart Throb (33.0)
Jr. Novice Rider: Abigail Huth and London Calling OHF (26.4) Novice Amateur: Margaret Crow and Gusto (30.8)
Novice Horse: Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Cooley Sky Watch (20.6) Open Beginner Novice: Caitlin Davison and Manaslu (27.9)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider: Angela Bryson and Petite Pavarotti (29.7) Jr. Beginner Novice Rider: Gracie Pitts and Valeureux (28.4)

Sponsors and Volunteers

Twin Rivers was proud to host the 2022 Twin Rivers Spring International with generous support from sponsors.

Presenting sponsors for the season include: LEGIS Equine, horsemen insuring horsemen, Auburn Labs, manufacturers of the adaptogenic APF Formula for horses, people and dogs; Best Western PLUS Black Oak, which offers exclusive discounts for exhibitors; and Professional’s Choice, manufacturers of sports medicine boots for equine athletes.

Supporting sponsors include: Chubby Cov, makers of beautiful custom stock ties; Riding Warehouse, the horse gear and apparel supplier; and RevitaVet, a leader in preventative maintenance and rehabilitative infrared therapy devices.

For 2022 sponsorship opportunities, please contact Christina Gray of Gray Area Events at [email protected].

Volunteers play a major part of events at Twin Rivers. Twin Rivers’ generous volunteer incentive program includes vouchers for show stabling and credits for schooling between events at the beautiful 500-acre venue. That is in addition to the genuine appreciation of the Baxter family and the entire Twin Rivers team. To sign up, please visit www.twinrivershorsepark/volunteer.

Many thanks to Ride On Photo for the images — click here to shop your rider gallery if you competed at Twin Rivers this weekend!

YEH and FEH West Coast Championships Puts Eventing’s Rising Stars in Spotlight

Lex D, owned by Cellar Farm Corp and ridden by Amber Birtcil. PC: Tina Fitch Photography/US Eventing

The 2021 Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) and USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) West Coast Championships held on Oct. 29 and 30 at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, Calif., gave young horses the chance to shine on a big stage. The 4-year-olds and 5‑year-olds that culminated a year of YEH events and the yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds that finished the FEH calendar for 2021 left the judges, their riders, and those in attendance excited about what lies ahead for the future of the sport of eventing.

YEH 5-Year-Old West Coast Championship

Lex D, a bay Dutch Warmblood gelding ridden by Amber Birtcil and owned by Cellar Farm, captured the YEH 5-Year-Old West Coast Championship. Quinn HSR, a chestnut Oldenburg gelding ridden by Kaylawna Smith-Cook and bred and owned by Anita Nardine, won the YEH 4-Year-Old West Coast Championship.

Birtcil started working with Lex D in the spring after the horse came to the United States from the Netherlands. Maarten Groeneveld, who bred the bay Dutch Warmblood gelding Carry On that Birtcil rode to wins at the Advanced level in 2016 and 2019, connected Birtcil with the bay Dutch Warmblood gelding Lex D.

“My goal all year with him was to do the 5-year-old Young Event Horse [West Coast] Championships,” Birtcil said. “I knew he had a great amount of talent and it would be a great showcase for him to show that off in.”

YEH judges Chris Ryan from Ireland and Debbie Adams from the United States scored the West Coast Championship horses in three sections: conformation/type, dressage, and jumping test/gallop/general impression. Lex D scored highest of the 13 5-year-olds in conformation/type with a 9.7 out of 10 and combined that with the second-best dressage score of 16.6 out of 20 and fourth-best jumping score of 66.6 out of 70 for a total of 92.9.

 

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“He’s a super mover and very much a head-turner just to look at,” Birtcil said. “On top of that, he’s super brave and has a great jump. He was at a show jump barn in Holland where I get most of my horses from, but the big thing that Maarten and I both look for is that they just have to be brave and willing.”

The West Coast reserve champion for the 5-year-olds, the brown Dutch Warmblood/Holsteiner mare Liefhebber ridden by Andrea Baxter, turned in the best dressage score of 16.8 and second-best jumping test score of 66.9.

“She is a fabulous mover and a fabulous jumper,” Baxter said. “I’m still getting to know her, and she’s green. But, in a weird way, my mistakes almost showed off her talent better. She was fabulous in the whole thing.”

Montecristo, a bay Thoroughbred gelding with a previous racing career under the name of Swope, had the top jumping test score of 67.5 ridden by Joe McKinley. Montecristo won The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) award for the YEH 5-Year-Old West Coast Championship.

 

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YEH 4-Year-Old West Coast Championship

While the YEH 5-Year-Old West Coast Champion came from Europe, the YEH 4-Year-Old West Coast Champion Quinn HSR was bred in Southern California. Smith-Cook, whose work with youngsters also includes being a new mom to her 1-year-old daughter Kennedi, said that the talent of Quinn HSR has only shown through recently.

“His brain is just so easygoing,” Smith-Cook said. “He’s pretty go-with-the-flow, and then he has the gaits. He moves super well. He jumps fantastic. He just wants to do his job.”

They combined the third-best dressage score of 15.8 with the second-best conformation score of 8.7 and second-best jumping test score of 59.7 for a winning total of 84.2.

“It’s kind of hard to pick one thing or one phase,” Smith-Cook said. “I would say he’s super good at the flat work, but his gallop is unreal.”

West Coast reserve champion Musquito, a bay Dutch Warmblood gelding ridden by Bec Braitling and owned by Michlynn Sterling, recorded the best jumping test score of 60.8 among the 10 4-year-olds. Braitling also finished third with Gaelic Gamble, a chestnut Irish Sport Horse gelding also owned by Sterling.

NSF R-Twain Star ridden by Jillian Terzian and Magnesium Overcast ridden by Lani Homan-Taylor had the top dressage scores of 15.9 while finishing sixth and eighth, respectively, overall.

McKinley’s bay Thoroughbred gelding Starting Over, a former racehorse under the name of Albert Park, captured the Stillwater Farm Award for the best gallop score for the 4‑year-olds and The Jockey Club’s T.I.P. Award for the 4-year-old class.

The Safe Harbor Award for the YEH competitor exhibiting the most rider-friendly performance went to 5-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding Leonardo Diterma, the 2020 YEH 4-Year-Old West Coast Champion.

 

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USEA FEH West Coast Championships

For the USEA FEH West Coast Championships, Graceland’s Ladera, a bay Oldenburg mare owned and handled by Charlotte Freeman, was West Coast champion 4-year-old after Friday’s evaluations of horses’ gaits under saddle and conformation and Saturday’s free jump by judges Susan Graham‑White from the United States and Chris Ryan from Ireland.

Graceland’s Ladera also qualified for The Dutta Corp. USEA YEH West Coast Championship through Twin Rivers’ Last Chance Qualifier held on Oct. 28, but Freeman opted to focus on the FEH series as a better fit for where the mare was in her training.

RSH Goliath, who is owned by Michelle Cameron Donaldson and handled by Chloe Smyth, captured the 3-year-old West Coast championship following Friday’s conformation and Saturday’s free jump. The chestnut Hanoverian gelding was also the 2-year-old West Coast champion in 2020.

Trilogy, a grey Belgian Warmblood/Thoroughbred filly bred and owned by Janine Jaro and handled by Homan‑Taylor, was 2-year-old West Coast champion based on Friday’s conformation evaluation after also winning as a yearling in 2020.

Megan Bittle’s bay American Warmblood gelding Charmander BDF was West Coast champion yearling.

 

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Super Second Year

With 2020 being the first year that the YEH and FEH West Coast Championships were run as a standalone event at Twin Rivers, 2021 saw the event grow in popularity.

“We’re year two into it, and it was impressive how many more people traveled from a far distance to come here,” organizer Connie Baxter said.

The weekend gave young horses their own special-event experience. In addition to several hundred in attendance, the livestream produced by Ride On Video attracted approximately 1,000 viewers.

“For as quiet as a show that it is with it being a standalone event, it still has a ton of atmosphere which is great exposure for the young horses,” Birtcil said. “If they are going to move forward in this sport, I think it’s a great opportunity for them. It’s fun to do with the young horses and really builds their confidence.”

It also gave the riders a chance to appreciate their rising stars.

“You ride your upper-level horses, and you know them really well, and then the young horses, it’s like, ‘I wonder what they’re going to do,’” Braitling said about the camaraderie among riders. “Coming out, you feel like you’re ready to go to the Olympics.”