Woodside, CA — Cross-country course designer Derek di Grazia has created a series of new challenges for horses and riders in the Woodside International Horse Trials on Oct. 4-6. The 62 horses entered to start in the CIC3*, CIC2* and CIC1* will face a series of new and demanding tests at the Horse Park of Woodside.
“We made big changes to the track last year, so that hasn’t changed much, but the riders will see different things than they saw here in May or August,” said di Grazia, of Monterey, Calif. “The combinations are all different, and I’d say there are probably about 15 changes between the three levels.”
Di Grazia said that he has to balance two goals with his course. On one hand, the main purpose of the Woodside CIC divisions is to enable horses and riders qualify for the Galway Downs International Three-day Event on Oct. 31-Nov. 3. But he also needs to make a course that will have a significant effect on the final results.
“You always have to try make a course that’s up to what the level is supposed to be,” said di Grazia. “But it is the last three-star before Galway Downs, so you want to keep the horses confident and not overdo it at this event. It’s a balance I definitely have to keep in mind.”
Jolie Wentworth, of Crockett, Calif., is hoping that the new jumps will propel her to her first victory in the Woodside CIC3* with Good Knight, on whom she’s finished second in the CIC3* for the last two years. Some 19 horses are entered in the CIC3*, vying for the Fric Frac Berence Heart Award and an additional $1,000 in prize money.
Gina Miles, winner of the individual silver medal at the 2008 Olympics, will be trying to keep the blue ribbon out of Wentworth’s hands yet again. She’ll be riding Chanel, a proven international competitor with a European rider but with whom Miles is still developing a partnership.
Two other winning combinations will also ensure that Wentworth is on her game. Lauren Billys and Ballingowan Ginger won the Galway Downs CCI2* last November, and Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato have had an excellent season to date, most recently winning an event in Washington in early September.
The CIC2* has a field of 16 horses, but it could be a battle between two Bay Area riders on three horses who’ve already won at Woodside this year.
Matt Brown, of Petaluma, Calif., won the Woodside Preliminary Horse Challenge in May, and has three horses entered in the CIC2*: Super Socks BCF won the open intermediate division at the May Woodside event, and another of his mounts CBCF Bellicoso won the open preliminary.
Challenging Brown will be Kimmy Steinbuch of Castro Valley, Calif., on Pikture This, winners of open intermediate division at the August Woodside event earlier in 2013.
Another 27 horses are scheduled to start in the CIC1* division which looks to be a close competition in each of the three phases.
The Woodside International Horse Trials will begin early Friday morning, Oct. 4, with the elegance of dressage. Then, starting at 2:00 p.m., the show jumping course will test the precision of the horses and their riders, set in the scenic and spectator-friendly Grand Prix Arena at the Woodside Horse Park.
The international horses will climax their performances on Saturday afternoon, when they’ll tackle the cross-country course in reverse order of their two-phase placing. In this format, spectators will know right away who the winners are, guaranteeing an exciting finish. The winners will receive their prizes at a special dinner on Saturday night, complete with music, food and more.
The Woodside International Horse Trials will continue on Sunday with both show jumping and cross-country for the roughly 300 horses competing in the national divisions.
Professional’s Choice, Equine Insurance of California and Sunsprite Warmbloods are the Woodside presenting sponsors this year.
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.
Patron's passes are available for the parties on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings: Reserved tables of 10 for all three evening functions are available for $600, or $300 per night for single evenings. Individual seats for all three evenings are $75, or $35 for one evening. Advanced reservations are required.
General admission is $10 per person, including parking and a show program. General admission tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance.
Go to www.woodsideeventing.com for tickets and full competition information.
To learn more about eventing, visit the U.S. Eventing Association’s website (www.useventing.com).