East Comes West for Olympic Qualifier at Galway Downs International
Written by CRM
Friday, 23 October 2015 17:19

Record Entry Sets Sights on Rio

With the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro just over the horizon, the Galway Downs International Event, on Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, is set to play an important role for riders from the United States and around the world. Galway Downs is one of the final CCI3* events in North America or Europe in 2015, making it a last chance this year for North American riders to qualify their horses for the 2016 Olympics.

"I expect that Galway Downs is going to be a very popular three-day event this year," said Robert Kellerhouse, the Galway Downs organizer. "Riders looking for a three-star qualifier here or in Europe before the end of the season are going to strongly consider coming to Galway Downs. It happened in 2011, which was only our second year of running the CCI3*, and I know that our reputation as a great event, with a great course and great weather, has only grown since then. So we're inviting riders from the East Coast and from Europe to come to enjoy California!"

A Galway Downs record entry of 29 horse and rider combinations is expected for the Olympic-qualifying CCI3* division. Several notable riders are making the trek west for this premier event. Phillip Dutton of Coatesville, Pa.- a two-time Olympic team gold medalist and the leading U.S. rider more than 10 times - has entered Fernhill Fugitive and Mr. Candyman. Joining him is Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, Va., a member of the gold-medal team at the 2015 Pan Am Games and the leading lady rider in the U.S. in 2014; she has entered her Pan Am mount, Meadowbrook's Scarlett.

Other riders coming west this year include: Jacob Fletcher of Arkansas, last month's winner of the USEA Adequan Gold Cup Series Advanced division at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, is bringing two horses; experienced Australian competitor Kate Chadderton, who lives in Pennsylvania, has entered two horses; Canadian Olympian and 2015 Pan Am silver medalist Jessica Phoenix is bringing four horses. With the already topnotch level competitors currently residing on the West Coast, it is sure to be an outstanding weekend of highly competitive sport.

In addition to the CCI3*, horses and riders will contest the CCI2*, the CCI*, and the classic-format Training-level Three-Day event. Galway Downs is also hosting the USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships for 4- and 5-year-old horses whose riders hope they'll be the stars of tomorrow.

The CCI3* horses will perform their dressage tests on Friday, Oct. 30, and then they'll gallop around the spectator-friendly cross-country course, once again designed by British Olympian Ian Stark, on Saturday, Oct. 31. The event reaches its climax with the show jumping finals and awards on Sunday, Nov.1.

USEA Young Event Horse West Coast Championships will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 28, beginning with the 4-year-old dressage phase at 10 a.m.

The weekend will also be filled with an exciting line-up of local musical acts, and spectators will enjoy music, food and wine at several oasis destinations located around the cross-country course on Saturday. Check the website www.galwaydowns.com for the daily musical program.

Delicious eating options will be available with gourmet food truck favorites Two for the Road, Super Q, Devilicious and Chop Sooey onsite throughout the weekend. Rasta Rita's will be serving thirst-quenching margaritas and more.

CWD, Devoucoux, Equine Insurance of California, California Horsetrader, and the Professional Riders Organization (PRO) Tour are the Presenting Sponsors of the 2015 Galway Downs International Event.

The Gold Medal Sponsors are: Equinox Equestrian Center, Ian Stark Equestrian Centre, John Deere, MD BarnMaster, Professional's Choice, and Sunsprite Warmbloods.

The Silver Medal Sponsors are: Charles Owen, Freedom RV Rentals, La Quinta Inn and Suites - Temecula, Smartpak and Temecula Creek Inn.

The Bronze Medal Sponsors are: Auburn Laboratories Inc., American Horse Trials Foundation, Elk Grove Milling, Finish Line Equestrian Products, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Geranium Street Floral, Ice Horse, California Riding Magazine, Ride On Video, San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, Shires Equestrian Products, Symons Ambulance Service, Triple Crown Feed and Voltaire Design.

The Friend Sponsors are: Copper Meadows Eventing, Eventing Training Online, and RevitaVet Therapeutic Systems.

Patron Level Sponsors include Majyk Equipe.

General admission for the Galway Downs International Event varies from $15 to $20 per day, with a discount for advance purchase. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by a paying adult. A special Halloween celebration on Saturday includes trick-or-treating locations throughout the venue. Wear a costume on Saturday or bring a child in costume and receive one free general admission ticket.

Patron's passes - which include seating in the ringside tent, lunch and a full selection of beverages - are also available for $55 per day on Friday and Sunday, $75 for Saturday, or $200 for the weekend in advance. For advance reservations, go to spectator information at www.galwaydowns.com.

For more information on the Galway Downs International Event, visit www.galwaydowns.com or call 951-303-0405. To learn more about eventing, visit the U.S. Eventing Association's website www.useventing.com.