After navigating a course full of what its designer, Clayton Fredericks, described as “serious angles and in-your-face-fences,” Erin Kellerhouse and Woodford Reserve maintained their wire-to-wire lead in winning the CCI4*-S on a 30.1. Helen Alliston and Ebay and Emilee Libby and Jakobi also crossed the finish line double clear to hold their 2nd and 3rd positions for a ladies’ sweep of the division.
Especially after their first CCI4*-L here last fall, today’s course “felt hectic,” said Erin. “Everything is boom, boom, boom. No let-ups.” The angled skinny brushes at 5 A/B/C, the sharp turn to a corner made of two banks at 10 and the white rails double coming down the berm at 12 A/B were among those “booms.” The two houses leading into the water complex at 15 A/B to the bank bounce out at 15 C/D made for some dramatic rides, including a premature safety vest deployment. The reintroduction of the beautiful bounce banks at 18 in the 21-effort course were easily sailed over by all who completed: which was 9 of the 13 starters.
Erin praised the technical aspects of the course and the benefits of the very different tasks Clayton has created in his second design assignment for Galway Downs. She and the horse she’s produced patiently through the levels will contest the Land Rover Kentucky 4*-S in a few weeks and she was grateful for the excellent prep today. (Clayton will be contesting Land Rover, too. The Australian Olympic silver medalist has three horses entered in the 5*.)
After a COVID season spent putting extra training into her 12-year-old Oldenburg, Helen Alliston was thrilled before and after completing the course. “When I walked it, I thought it looked hard and that was good.”
In the past, fast-fire questions have scared the horse, who breezed up the levels early in his career, then hit some snafus and needed a confidence rebuild. Today he answered the course’s questions with relative ease. “He was straight forward about them, and he has not been straight forward in the past,” Helen explained. “It was a great chance to see where we are in his education.”
Third place finisher Emilee Libby was also thrilled with her self-developed horse, Jakobi, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood. They were flawless throughout to finish on a 33.7 dressage score. As in show jumping, Jakobi maintained new levels of rideability on cross-country. “He locks onto the jumps now and it feels like he’s taking me to them. It’s a good feeling going into our first CCI5*,” says the Land Rover Kentucky-bound Californian.
Patterson Has a Winning CCI3* Debut
18-year-old Alina Patterson and her own Flashback started out third after dressage. They moved into second after stadium jumping and into first today at a level new to both horse and rider. The Washington-based pair trains with John Camlin at Caber Farms and left the start box on a mission. “I had one job to do and I needed to get it done,” she said of her aggressive approach to the course. The 9-year-old German Sport Horse is confident — sometimes cocky, Alina said. “He is super honest and bold. Also, I’m also really competitive!”
Thrilled with their 3* debut, they’ll next tackle the CCI3*-L at Twin Rivers in April and Alina has applied for the Futures Team Challenge.
Fellow 18-year-old Haley Turner led the division going into cross-country but a run-out at 15B going into the water dashed their day. Professional Sabrina Glaser continued a great outing with Cooley Mr Murphy to finish second on a 38.4.
Jumping up from 12th after dressage, Katherine Robinson and her Off The Track Thoroughbred Outrageous Dance finished third. They had no jumping issues and were the only pair in the division to incur no time penalties.
2* Can Be Sweet, Indeed
Lauren Billys forgot to start her watch until a minute into the 2* track, but otherwise she and her 9-year-old German Sporthorse Can Be Sweet were nearly flawless. They had just a quarter time penalty and easily held the lead they’d established on day-one dressage, finishing on a 28.6. Lauren hopes that Can Be Sweet will be her Pan Am Games partner in 2023 and his responses to today’s short-order challenges bode well. “He is a really willing partner and he was on his game today.”
Miranda Olagaray and her 8-year-old Trakehner Tanqueray kept on their clean jumping trajectory, finishing second on a 34.7 score. Hailey Blackburn and Kilbunny Amigo were third on a 42.3.
Galway Downs Horse Trials competition continues through Sunday.
Better & Better
Even visitors who experienced substantial facility upgrades unveiled during the Galway Downs International last fall were struck by what’s new at the venue just six months later. The new permanent VIP pavilion was enjoyed thoroughly by exhibitors this week. Its elegance as a gathering spot hints at plans for the venue to showcase the sport in ways that could draw much wider audiences.
Such amenities are icing on the cake, while continual improvements to footing, course design, stabling and other areas speak to Kellerhouse Presents’ mission to build a premiere stage for horse and rider advancement and enjoyment at all levels of eventing.
Many of the improvements have been made possible by a partnership with Nilforushan EquiSport Events, which organizes major hunter/jumper competitions at Galway Downs. The venue also hosts an increasing number of national and regional dressage competitions. The resulting synergies of ideas, effort and expenses are becoming a game changer for equestrian sport in the West.
Next up on the venue’s eventing calendar is the Spring Horse Trials May 14-16. The multi-week Temecula Valley National Horse Show hunter/jumper circuit starts with one week in April, then resumes with three consecutive weeks beginning May 19.
Thank you to these supporters:
Presenting Sponsors: Equine Insurance, CWD & Devoucoux
Silver Sponsors: UVEX, Kerrits, Temecula Creek Inn
Bronze: EquiFit, Shires, Home2 Suites, Mary’s Tack & Feed, Tina Fitch Photography, American Horse Trials Foundation, Auburn Laboratories, Inc., California Riding Magazine, California Horsetrader, Ride On Video, Stotz Equipment and Symons Ambulance
Social: Galway Downs on Facebook & Instagram
Live Scoring: http://www.evententries.com
Official Photographer: Tina Fitch Photography
Sponsorship: Ashlyn Dorsey, Ashlyn@Kellerhousepresents.com