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.”

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