I want to give a million thanks to Kate Erickson for being our connection to west coast eventing during this great weekend at Galway. In true EN spirit, Kate did double and triple duty this weekend including the test ride for the CIC3* and an 8 hour drive home before beginning this post Saturday night. I also want to give a big congratulations to James for a great weekend that will hopefully get better today with an advanced win, Galway couldn’t have a classier champion. Good luck to all of the competitors finishing up the horse trials today at Galway and all around Eventing Nation. Please click the link below to see many more photos from Kate. Thank you Kate for the great recap and wonderful photos and thank you for reading!
CIC3* champions James Alliston and Jumbo’s Jake
Okay, so what did I say about that perfect California weather? Well, it looks like my future certainly lies in fields other than that of weather forecasting, as Cross Country Day for the upper level divisions of the spring Galway Downs horse trials dawned cool, overcast, and misty, and remained that way throughout the day. While it certainly was not the bright and sunny skies of Friday, the weather was in many ways perfect: quite cool without being too cold to ride comfortably, and with nice even lighting that meant that shadows and glare weren’t an issue all day.
After a relatively smooth Preliminary division first thing in the morning, the first real tests of the day came in the Intermediate horse trial division. Ian Stark’s large and old-fashioned course certainly proved quite the challenge, resulting in numerous stops and a few ‘unseated riders.’ One of the most difficult combinations on this track was 4AB, a double of progressively larger and airier downhill square oxers that came quite early on course and seemed to catch a few of the greener horses by surprise. At the end of the morning, the veteran pair of Julie Ann Boyer and Rumor Hazit maintained their dressage lead on the strength of a clear round with just a handful of time penalties, while James Alliston moved up from 5th to 2nd with a double clear.
The CIC2* seemed to run relatively more smoothly than the Intermediate, though there were still a few problems scattered around the course. Most notably, Kaitlin Veltkamp, who had been lying in 2nd overnight, had a heartbreaking stop at the same 4B that had caused so many problems in the horse trial division, to drop to 7th overall. Katherine Groesbeck rode a smart double clear to secure the win, while Teresa Harcourt and Bonza Twist of Fate moved from 3rd to 2nd with just 0.4 time penalties.
James and Parker II lead the advanced
The Advanced horse trial, like the Intermediate, proved quite difficult, with half the starters picking up at least one stop. Additionally, no combinations came home with fewer than 4.8 time penalties. Dressage leaders James Alliston and Parker II maintained their position by picking up just 10 time penalties, while Jeanine Allred and Snap Decision II moved from 4th to 2nd with the second fastest Advanced ride of the day.
In the CIC3*, it was a display of dominance by James Alliston, who piloted Jumbo’s Jake and Tivoli to 1st and 2nd, respectively. These two horses are polar opposites–Tivoli being hot and explosive and Jumbo’s Jake looking like he could at any moment get almost too casual–so it was a real testament to James’ good riding that he produced such lovely clear rounds out of both of them. Barb Crabo and Eveready II moved up to 3rd with a speedy round, while Jolie Wentworth and Killian O’Connor, who had been 2nd overnight, produced a clear but slow round to drop to 4th.
Giving some scale to the CIC3* trakehner
I unfortunately had to pack up for the long drive home after the CIC3*, and so missed the CIC*, but the top 8 placings after dressage and show jumping all remained unchanged in that division with Barb Crabo and Over Easy coming home as the wire-to-wire victors. Overall, Galway Downs provided, as ever, an exciting kick off to the FEI season on the West Coast. Go eventing!