Frankie & Chatwin take an early lead in the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CCI4*.

Frankie Thieriot-Stutes and Chatwin began their defense of the Galway Downs International Horse Trials title with a win in Thursday evening’s CCI4*-S. Their effortless-looking test put them on a 28.8 score going into the weekend. Emilee Libby and Jakobi stand second on a 32.9 and Tamie Smith and Wembley post third with a 33.1.

Thrilled with the super strong turn-out for the International divisions, organizer Robert Kellerhouse got the 4* rider’s OK to stage their dressage early, on a clear, breezy late afternoon in Southern California’s Temecula and it was a neat warm-up to that night’s exhibitor’s party.

A new, big inflatable Devoucoux entry gate for the International ring, flags flapping and lots of spectators made some of the horses as excited as their people were about this first CCI4* on the West Coast under the FEI’s new starring system.

Judges Andrew Bennie of New Zealand and Tim Downes of Great Britain officiated a seven-pair 4* field. James Alliston and Pandora, the champs of their last Galway Downs outing in November, finished fourth, followed by Sabrina Glazer and Rembrandt of Canada; Andrea Baxter and Indy 500; and Young Rider Mallory Hogan and Clarissa Purisima. They will synch up with the 3* and 3* riders on Saturday, with show jumping in the afternoon, then finish with cross-country on Sunday. Thirty-pair turn-outs in the 3* and 2* divisions is a great start to the season, says Kellerhouse, and the Horse Trials divisions are loaded with up-coming talent, too.

  

Ride On Video is live-streaming all of the international divisions today (Friday) and Saturday. On Sunday, live coverage includes the all cross-country, International plus Open Intermediate and Advanced. (www.rideonvideo.net). Live scoring can be found at www.evententries.com.

It’s exciting to see so many enjoying all the improvements that have been implemented at Galway Downs over the last few years. In becoming a mecca for top equestrian sport in all disciplines, Galway Downs under Kellerhouse’s direction has harnessed the good work, good will and generous support of many key players in the sport. Nilforushan Equisport Events, along with Footing Solutions USA, have brought fantastic footing through their sponsorship of the Grand Prix Arena and warm-up ring, and a new jumper ring and cross-country warm-up area. Becoming host of the entire six-week Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival is an additional source of upgrades, as is the ongoing hosting of equestrian competitions almost every weekend of the year.

Many of the most recent improvements are things “that you won’t notice until you notice,” said Kellerhouse. In the process of adding infrastructure that will expand the venue’s capacity to host bigger events, major upgrades to the power and water systems, RV facilities and permanent and portable stabling have been underway all winter.

The Galway Downs International Horse Trials’ high quality of competition is made possible by generous sponsors. They are:

  • Presenting Sponsors: Equine Insurance, Devoucoux, CWD, California Horse Traderand the USEA
  • Gold: Sunsprite Warmbloods
  • Silver: Temecula Creek Inn, Smartpak
  • Bronze & Friend: AHTF-Horse Trials Foundation, Auburn Lab (APF), Geranium, Ride On Video, Voltaire, Symons Ambulance Service, San Dieguito Equine

Reporting by Kim F Miller, from a Silver Lining Trailer Camp Airstream at Galway Downs, while watching race horses breeze through the sunrise on what looks like another beautiful day.. Come out if you are anywhere near!!