The popular Woodside Preliminary Challenge welcomed a record entries 57 this year. With $15,000 up for grabs in both the Horse and Rider divisions and an exciting evening Gala with the top 10 running in reverse order of go, it’s no wonder it attracts a great group of competitors and enthusiastic supporters.
Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Tristen Hooks took the early leads in their respective divisions and never let go throughout the next two phases. Preliminary Challenge competitors were the first to tackle Ian Stark’s redesigned country course on Saturday morning, and both Frankie and Tristen flew around clear, coming in just seconds under the optimum time to hold their positions.
On Saturday evening, dinner and a silent auction added ambiance to the show jumping finale. The top 10 in each division took to the Sarah Duborst-designed show jumping at 6 p.m. and kept the crowd on their toes to the end.
In the Rider division, a single rail separated second through 11th place, so the pressure was on to produce a clear round. The eventual top eight finishers all produced double-clear rounds and the top four since the dressage phase remained unchanged. Tristen and her own Holsteiner gelding did not have a rail in hand, but there’s a reason they have such a good record at Preliminary, and they finished clear for the win.
Tristen got her 15-year-old partner “Fly” from a friend’s backyard. She is thrilled with how he has come up the levels and his enthusiasm for the sport. Fly, a Holsteiner/Dutch cross, got quite a few peppermints, and Tristen won quite a few awards for their performance today!
A rub at the last but Tristan Hooks is home clean and takes the win in the Rider division! pic.twitter.com/nI0nF6NFvV
— Eventing Nation (@eventingnation) May 24, 2015
Frankie’s German Warmblood gelding Chatwin has been battling an eye infection for months, but he had been cleared by his vets to compete just in time for the Preliminary Horse Challenge.
“While most likely he will need to have surgery to fix his eye for the long term so that he has no infection risks down the road, right now at this moment and this week, the best thing for Chatwin is to get to go to a horse show and be a horse for a little bit!” she wrote on her Facebook page earlier this month.
Chatwin was glad to be back, and Frankie said in a post-cross country interview that Chatwin was full of running on course. Hours later they were double-clear in show jumping to secure a sweet victory in the Horse division and their fourth consecutive win at the Preliminary/one-star level.
Thanks Robert Kellerhouse and the whole Woodside Eventing crew for another great Preliminary Challenge!
Stephanie Nicora also contributed to this report.