As the Oct. 15 entry closing date nears for the Galway Downs International Horse Trials, plans are ramping up to make it a season finalé to remember for contenders and fans alike.
Important qualifying scores are on the line in the CCI-L 4/3/2* divisions, with equally intense national level competition through Beginner Novice. The agenda includes the popular Training Three Day division, which preserves eventing’s origins by staging all of the discipline’s original endurance day phases: roads and track, steeplechase, more roads and track, and cross-country.
“Everyone who has the opportunity to do a Training Three Day should do it,” urges Bec Braitling, a professional who won the division last year aboard Dassett Ricochet. It was an important stepping stone for that now 7-year-old horse. He went on to a winning year, including victory in the Woodside CCI2*-S earlier this month. Braitling promotes the division for riders, too. “I encourage all my riders to do it because there’s so much to think about: there’s a lot involved.”
The competition takes place Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the continually updated and improved Galway Downs Equestrian Center. The tournament action is woven throughout the 242-acre property’s special event spaces. Shady trees, eco-friendly water features and lush grass expanses are appealing aesthetics that reflect function-oriented facility-wide upgrades that matter most to equestrians. The combined result is an equestrian sport stage that’s drawing a rapidly growing base of exhibitors and fans. Its location in the heart of Southern California’s Temecula Valley Wine Country enhances its destination event appeal.
Intense Fun for All
The intensity of the competition is matched only by the intensity of the fun. Two new tented “Oasis” areas on the cross-country course – near the tower and the water complex — will have snacks, soft drinks, local beers and Galway Spirits cocktails. Plus live music as the soundtrack to horse and riders galloping over ditches, banks and ponds. The international divisions run the course, created by Canadian international designer Jay Hambly, on Saturday, and the national Horse Trials divisions unfurl on Sunday. All divisions will conclude with an awards presentation in the Grand Prix Arena. Cash and other prizes presented then are courtesy of generous event sponsors: Devoucoux, Auburn Labs and Parker Equine Insurance.
The on-course Oasis hotspots are in addition to Wednesday’s night welcome party and Saturday night’s shindig in the Grand Prix Arena VIP tent, with good food, adult beverages, dancing and more live music. Throughout the weekend, live streamed cross-country action will display on big screens in the on-course and arena-adjacent VIP areas.
Organizer Robert Kellerhouse is thrilled to merge top notch equestrian competition with top local musical performances. The weekend’s line-up includes the Americana music of Lee Koch and the Tim Walsh Band, plus Tony Suraci performing as the Highwayman with spot-on covers of hits by that group’s members: Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. A Saturday afternoon concert on the Sycamore Tree Field anchors the weekend’s musical festivities.
A ticket to the Wednesday and Saturday parties comes with each Galway Downs entry, and additional tickets, including VIP weekend packages, are available for friends, family and fans to join in on the fun. Ten-dollar parking includes free admission, plus the event program and access to arena side bleachers and the Oasis entertainment.
A bustling vendor area and food trucks with delicious offerings enhance the weekend’s excitement.
- Enter: www.evententries.com, or USEA’s X-Entry at https://services.useventing.com/Services/Login.aspx
- Tickets: https://www.events.org/cpage.aspx?e=122357
- Ticket availability ranges from free daily general admission with $10 parking, to VIP Patrons Passes, which include reserved ringside tented seating, breakfast, lunch and beverages Thursday through Sunday.
- Volunteer: www.eventingvolunteers.com.
- More information: www.galwaydowns.net.