Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The California Eventing Scene is Hot, Hot, Hot by James Alliston
The past few weeks have been busy on the California eventing scene with the events at Twin Rivers and Woodside in quick succession. Twin Rivers in Paso Robles kicked off on Thursday with the west coast Young Event Horse Finals. I rode Wimbledon in the 4 year old class and was feeling suitably terrified and under prepared upon walking the course. However, Wimbledon rose to the challenge and ended up with a third not too far behind the winners, Tamra Smith and Fleeceworks Cinco. Much to my amusement Wimbledon went on to win the Novice Horse division by 0.1 ahead of the lovely five-year old champions Maxance McManamy and Astro. I must say Max took the defeat in good spirits though and I am sure she is consoled by her haul of prizes that included a saddle in the young horse championship. To see the incredible prizes and sponsorship of this class is fantastic and makes it a real incentive and target for the future.
Jumbo’s Jake and Parker had their first run since Rolex and both went very well for 2nd and 4th in the Advanced. I was leading going into the show-jumping but a rail down cost me the win by 0.3 penalties to Canadian Sandra Donnelly so it was an exciting climax. Embarrassingly, I thought maybe I had still sneaked it as my friends had been telling me all day that I had a rail in hand but they were misinformed! A few minutes prior to this Parker jumped a clear round despite my stirrup breaking halfway round the course. This was a first for me and I give great credit to Parker for nursing me home without penalty.
Next up was a welcome return to international competition at Woodside. This show was huge with a ton of entries from all over and Robert Kellerhouse and his team did a great job of making this a real special event and handling the deluge of rain on Thursday. With a shifting of the timetable so the upper levels did cross-country on Sunday I would have to say the ground was as good as I have ever seen it anywhere in California. Also, the show jumping on Saturday seemed to attract a large and enthusiastic crowd throughout the day and the cheers of a clear round could be heard across the showground which was really cool.
On a personal note this show could not have gone a lot better for my horses. Jake led from the start to win the three star and Parker put in a massive effort for third in the same class. Parker’s 52 in the dressage shattered his international personal best by 10 marks and much to my delight and India’s (owner of Jumbo’s Jake) bemusement a few people even mistook him for Jake while I was warming up! Many thanks for this result go to dressage maestro and cool dude Gerd Reuter for flying out to California and teaching everybody in September. Derek Di Grazia’s cross country course had been given a major facelift with a lot of changes and new fences at all levels and proved a real test but both my boys jumped great and I’d have to say the result must go down as a career highlight for me so far. Elsewhere, at the same show Tivoli took 3rd in the Intermediate, Peggy Moore’s O’Reilly Factor took 3rd in her Prelim debut and four-year old Lagos won the Novice on his eventing debut.
Now we have a few quiet weeks but next on the radar is Galway where Jake and Parker will contest the 3 star, Tivoli the 2 star and Mojo the one star. My parents are traveling over from England to watch which is always entertaining as California will soon find out.
Photo of India McEvoy's Jumbos Jake at Woodside