The West Coast is officially beginning their Advanced season this weekend in Paso Robles at Twin Rivers, and 14 pairs are tackling the Advanced division.
Copious amounts of rain have plagued California all up and down the coast this season, making preparations for the spring season difficult. These eventers have adapted and overcome, however, and we saw some really competitive dressage scores from the judges yesterday.
Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin will be your Advanced leaders heading into today’s cross country on a score of 25.4. This will be the 9-year-old German Warmblood gelding’s first full season at Advanced, having spent the majority of 2016 at the Intermediate and two-star level. Frankie spent a lot of time working on dressage with Chatwin last year, and their efforts are certainly paying off this weekend.
In second are Canada’s Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo, who have set their sights on Rolex next month. This will be Jollybo’s first Advanced run of the season, a pipe opener to stretch the legs and have a bit of fun. Hawley and Jollybo are really beginning to get to know each other on the flat, and a consistent test earned them a 26.5 from the judges in the sandbox.
Rounding out the top three in the Advanced are James Alliston and RevitaVet Elijah, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by James who is making his debut at the level this weekend. RevitaVet Elijah finished his 2016 season with a third place finish in the CCI2* at Galway Downs after a solid season at the level with multiple wins and top finishes.
Looking to the Open Intermediate division, man of many hats Derek di Grazia currently holds the lead following dressage with Ringwood Justice on a score of 24.8. A 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Ringwood Justice has been produced extensively by Derek from the lower levels and capped off last season with a top five finish in the Open Intermediate at Fresno County Horse Park.
Emilee Libby and an exciting new talent, Jakobi, will take second place into cross country on a dressage score of 27.2. Jakobi is an 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Emilee and Linda Libby who moved up to Intermediate last fall. In three starts at the level, Jakobi finished in the top eight without fail. Keep an eye on this pair as the season progresses.
And in third in the Open Intermediate are James Alliston and Happenstance, who you may remember as a horse formerly campaigned by Matt Brown. The 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Mary McKee earned a 27.6 in his first start since 2015.
Cross country will run for the upper levels and some of the lower levels this afternoon, followed by stadium on Sunday. We’ll be bringing you much more from Paso Robles, so stay tuned and best of luck to all competitors!