July 2019 - Show Report - The Spring Event at Woodside
Written by CRM
Saturday, 29 June 2019 03:51
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Emotional Advanced win for Sara Sellmer & PDQ Leigh: James Alliston and Cassio’s Picasso KD top Intermediate division.

Winning an Advanced division anytime is a big deal. It was even bigger for Canadian professional Sara Sellmer, who did so at the Spring Event at Woodside aboard Jill Walton’s PDQ Leigh. In 2016 at the same venue, Sara’s horse, TF Kreisler, died following an incident on the CCI*** course and Sara hadn’t been back since.

“I wasn’t sure how I would handle it,” the rider acknowledged. “To be doing Advanced again and to win today is amazing. The support of the community here has also been amazing. All weekend I’ve been getting pats on the back in the warm-up ring and everybody telling me that I can do it.”

Preliminary Challenge: Horse division champion Penhill Celtic, with Bec Braitling, left; and Rider division winner Meg Pellegrini and Ganymede. Photo: Sherry Stewart

Sara has had the ride on PDQ Leigh just under a year and describes him as an especially “kind, generous and honest” horse. The pair started the weekend on a 33.80 dressage score from judges Valerie Crail and David Schmutz. On Saturday, they were one of just two pairs, out of 11, to go double clear on cross-country, putting them in Sunday’s catbird seat. They had a rail in hand and needed it. “It was totally mine,” said Sara of the downed pole in the triple element on a Chris Barnard track that used every inch of the Horse Park at Woodside’s big Grand Prix arena.

The win seals their qualification for the Rebecca Farm CCI4*-L in July, the next stop for the rider who is based in Langley, British Columbia.

Advanced division winner Sara Sellmer of Canada celebrates an emotional win. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Lauren Billys and her 2016 Olympic partner Castle Larchfield Purdy continued their return to West Coast prominence, finishing second after their 35.50 dressage score started them tied for fifth. Conscious of Purdy’s 17 years and with the Tokyo Games in her sights, Lauren did not put pedal to metal on cross-country, so penalties there moved them down to sixth. An exuberant clear jumping round with only .40 over the time moved them into second. Lauren is thrilled with Purdy’s fitness and finishing so well was “icing on the cake,” she said. Next up is Rebecca Farm, where she hopes to earn an Olympic-worthy score.

Frankie Thieriot-Stutes and Chatwin led after dressage with a 27.30, but took their time Saturday morning to sit fifth coming into the Grand Prix arena. They jumped clear with a .8 time fault, to leave Woodside with a yellow rosette and great prep for Luhmühlen Germany in June.

Roger & Joell Burnell enjoy the Preliminary Challenge festivities. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Fans of James Alliston’s popular palomino-colored mare, Pandora, were disappointed not to see her contend show jumping. She and James were second after cross-country, but James withdrew her after “being a bit banged up yesterday.” It was nothing serious, he assured. “She just seemed a little bit stiff last night.”

Advanced prize money was $500, $375, $300, $225 and $100, respectively, for first through fifth. As the winner, Sara also earned a Western Saddlery halter, certificates from Ride On Video, Marcus Green Photography and Devoucoux, plus gear and goodies from Professional’s Choice, Hilton Herbs, SmartPak and Smartlyte, which also provided prizes to second and third place finishers.

Woodside Eventing volunteers celebrate work well done. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Intermediate

James Alliston’s other colorful star, Cassio’s Picasso KD, was in fine form Sunday to win the Intermediate division, the 7-year-old’s second run at this level. The Paint Trakehner’s characteristic elegance in dressage earned the stallion a 22.20, and a confidence-building pace on cross-country added time penalties to put them in second coming into show jumping, where they were easily fault free.

Jordan Crabo, 15, and Over Easy show jump in a short downpour for second place in the Intermediate division. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Pouring rain arrived about halfway throughout the 21-pair Intermediate field at the end of a weekend otherwise graced by mostly sunny skies and cool weather. The day-two leader, 15 year old Jordan Crabo, could have blamed a first fence refusal on the downpour, but she didn’t. Riding the seasoned upper lever campaigner, Over Easy, Jordan blamed herself. The mare is a reliable, yet tricky ride, she explained. “I have to really be kicking but also leaning back and give her just the right approach to the jump.” Rather than get rattled, however, the NAYC-bound Area X rider piloted the mare onto their first clear jumping round at the Intermediate level.

Their previous two Intermediate outings, they’d had two rails, so Jordan was pleased about the round.

Frankie Thieriot-Stutes & Chatwin finish third at Advanced, great prep for Luhmuhlen in Germany in June. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Jordan’s 25 dressage score put them in third on Friday, then they flew fault-free around a cross-country track she described as “so much fun.” Many pairs had time faults, but Over Easy’s efficiency and agility enabled them to make the time easily.

Kelsey Holmes and NZB The Chosen One also jumped in the deluge, but kept their cool and their third-place position, finishing on Friday’s 30.30 dressage score.

Intermediate top finishers earned $300, $225, $180, $135 and $60, respectively, for first through fifth, plus several items from much-appreciated Spring Event sponsors.

James Alliston & Cassio’s Picasso KD sail over a table en route to winning Intermediate division. Photo: Sherry Stewart

A Sold-Out Weekend

Sunday concluded three days of competition ranging from Intro to Advanced and featuring Saturday’s special event, the Preliminary Challenge. Now in its 11th year, the Challenge drew a record number at nearly 50 participants, all vying for $30,000 in total cash and prizes divided equally between the Rider and Horse divisions.

Olympians Lauren Billys & Castle Larchfield Purdy cruise through the woods en route to red ribbon in Advanced. Photo: Kim F. Miller

The Challenge concluded with show jumping Saturday night in the Grand Prix arena in front of a full house and in an electric atmosphere. On the rider card, Meg Pellegrini took top honors aboard her veteran star, Ganymede, and finished third with her new horse, RF Eloquence. The Horse division was won by Penhill Celtic, piloted by professional Bec Braitling.

Organizer Robert Kellerhouse was very happy with the weekend. “Even the things we can’t control – like the weather – went well,” he said. All tolled, 450 horses/rider pairs enjoyed a sold-out weekend of competition, furthering The Spring Event’s reputation for top sport in a beautiful environment.

Current USEA CEO Rob Burk, left, and past president Brian Sabo, right, share Pony Club stories with Kathy Schultz, Mid-Cal Pony Club regional supervisor. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Upgrades to stabling, cross-country, infrastructure and in other areas were appreciated by all from visiting dignitaries, like US Eventing CEO Rob Burk, to first-time exhibitors. Saturday night’s Preliminary Challenge Dinner Gala crowd was treated to a down-to-the-wire finish and a new cross-country VIP viewing tent was well received. As always, volunteers – about 125 through the weekend – made the Event work, and sponsors were equally critical to its success.

•    Presenting: Auburn Laboratories, CWD, Devoucoux and Parker Equine Insurance.
•    Gold Medal: Ride On Video, Sunsprite Warmbloods, American Medical Response
•    Silver Medal: SmartPak, Voltaire & Hygain.
•    Bronze: Geranium Street Floral & EventTrainingOnline

Press release provided by Woodside Eventing. For complete results, visit www.evententries.com.


New Challenge At Summer Woodside

On the heels of a sold-out Spring Event at Woodside, organizer Robert Kellerhouse announces another competition innovation: The Modified Training Challenge. The “M-Training Challenge” is the centerpiece of The Summer Event at Woodside, August 9-11 at The Horse Park at Woodside.

Designed to offer new challenges in the dressage, cross-country and show jumping phases for Training level horses and riders, the M-Training Challenge is modeled on the Preliminary Challenge. Like that 11-year-old institution on the pathway to international divisions, the M-Training Challenge will conclude with Saturday night show jumping followed by a ringside dinner after-party.

Run to the standards Identified in the USEF rulebook as the “Modified-Training” division, the M-Training Challenge adds difficulty across the board without requiring the full step up to Preliminary.