Woodside, CA - Debbie Rosen and The Alchemyst overtook Lauren Billys and Ballingowan Ginger to win the CIC3* at the Woodside International Horse Trials, presented by Professional’s Choice, Equine Insurance of California and Sunsprite Warmbloods. Rosen incurred 4.0 time penalties, for a final tally of 58.5, while Billys finished with 8.4 time penalties, for a final tally of 59.4, to relinquish the lead she’d gained in the first two phases on Friday.
Helen Bouscaren rode Ben to the day’s fastest time (1 second slow, for .4 time penalties, to claim third place (62.7).
The CIC3* victory was worth $3,000, but it meant more to Rosen than the prize money.“Without crying, I don’t know if I can say what this means” said Rosen, 52, of Calabasas, Calif. “It means just don’t give up. When everybody else tells you you can do it, and you’re the only one who thinks you can’t, get your head right.”
She’s owned The Alchemyst for eight years and been competing him at the three-star level since 2008, but this is their first three-star victory. In addition, Rosen had cancer surgery in late 2009. “Honestly, this means the world to me—and not even the winning. I just wanted to do this. I wanted to work on my skills, and I wanted to be brave—those are the only things I wanted to do today. I can’t even get my head around that we’ve won,” she said, moments after dismounting.
“That was the fastest I’ve ever gone,” Rosen added. “It was the ride of my life. Everything I hoped for happened out there. There was very little for me to do out there, really—he was so perfect“
Billys, 25, said she wasn’t disappointed to finish second, since this was only the second CIC3* for her or her horse. “I was a little slow the first two minutes, by accident—I really wanted to win. But I came out of the box not quite fast enough, and then it was too late to make it up.”
Like Rosen, Billys has had a long partnership with Ballingowan Ginger, 11—they’ve been together for six years and have climbed from novice to advanced, along the way competing in the 2011 Pan Am Games for Puerto Rico and winning the CCI2* at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event in 2012. “I’ve been really lucky to have this horse,” said Billys, of Sanger, Calif. “I’ve learned a lot from her.”
Bouscaren began riding Ben, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred, when he was 3, and they too have moved through the levels together. Bouscaren, 22, thought Derek di Grazia’s course was perfect for Ben. “I thought it was great, and I liked that the time was tight, since I have a fast horse,” said Bouscaren, of San Ramon, Calif.
Mojito, a 13-year-old warmblood ridden by Maddy Mazzola of Oakland, Calif., earned the Fric Frac Berence Heart Award and $1,000 prize money, presented to the three-star horse and rider with the best cross-country performance, as determined by a panel of judges. They finished ninth, with 4.0 time penalties.
Matt Brown, who claimed first and second places in the CIC2*, had three chances on di Grazia’s course—all three jumped faultlessly and two finished within the optimum time. First-placed BCF Bellicoso finished 1 second slow, for 0.4 time penalties, but Aida and Super Socks BCF made the time, to finish second and eighth.
BCF Bellicoso’s final score was 49.7; Aida ‘s final score was 49.9; and John Michael Durr, of Woodside, Calif., finished third on Esprit De La Danse (54.2). Brown, of Petaluma, Calif., earned $2,000 for first place and $1,500 for second place.
“I’m really lucky to have such fabulous horses. I pinch myself every day,” said Brown, 37. His good fortune is due to the support of the Blossom Creek Foundation of Bob and Valerie Fish. Valerie has been a student of Brown’s for several years, and during the 2012 London Olympics Brown mentioned to her that riding in the Olympics is a goal. “She asked what that would take, and a few month’s later we were in England looking at horses. We went there for one horse and came home with three,” said Brown.
“It was great to find horses like these. It’s like a dream come true for someone who was riding whatever came along. You have to have the right partner to go all the way,” said Brown.
Michelle Mitchell owns Aida, 8, and Brown started her under saddle as a 3-year-old. “She was really difficult at first—at times she was totally unrideable,” said Brown. He said that Aida was spooky and lacked confidence, “but the last two events she’s been almost cocky.”
Brown said he always likes riding di Grazia’s courses. “Derek is always setting you up for success. He’s always preparing you for something coming up, so if you pay attention you can school for the harder question that’s coming later on,” said Brown.
Kristi Nunnink, of Auburn, CA, won the CIC1* on Corner Street, finishing on their dressage score of 40.8. They defeated Brown on Happenstance (50.3) and Kate Lathrop, of El Dorado Hills, CA, on Worth The Wait (52.2).
Professional’s Choice, Equine Insurance of California and Sunsprite Warmbloods are the Woodside presenting sponsors.
Devoucoux Biarritz-France is the Gold Medal Sponsor.
CWD Saddles, Voltaire Design, JRD Saddles and SmartPak Equine are the Silver Medal Sponsors.
American Medical Response, Auburn Laboratories Inc., Geranium Street Floral, Point Two Air Jackets, Professional Riders Organization, Ride On Video and are the Bronze Medal Sponsors.
They’re just some of the equine-product manufacturers and service providers that, in addition to supporting the event with prizes, are on site for riders and spectators to meet in the event trade fair.
Go to www.woodsideeventing.com for full competition information.