Each year top eventing competitors plan their schedules with one goal in mind — qualifying for a three-day event. In October that means the return of the West Coast’s best horses and riders to the Woodside International Horse Trials on October 4-7. For riders who are aiming for the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event in November, their journey most likely will have to go through The Horse Park in Woodside. After winning last year’s major event, James Alliston and Jumbo’s Jake went on to win at Galway Downs, proving that a good score at Woodside lays the groundwork for a top performance at the later event.
This is the second year that The Woodside International Horse Trials will be offering these all-important qualifying events. Three- day eventing consists of three phases: dressage, show jumping and cross country.
More than 300 riders will contest in the national divisions, with only an elite 60 riders competing in the international divisions. The international horses will start their competition on Thursday afternoon. A welcome reception for spectators and all competitors will follow at 5:30 pm.
Dressage will start at 8:00 am on Friday, with the show jumping for the three international divisions starting at 2:00 pm on Friday afternoon. This will be followed by a cocktail reception overlooking the competition arena which will begin at 5:30 pm.
On Saturday, spectators will get to enjoy the heart of the sport of eventing, the cross country phase, as horses and riders attempt to master a difficult and challenging course. There will be an awards reception and party that evening in a ringside tent.
All events are open to the public. Ticket pricing and and full competition information is available online.
Photo of Hilary Bates of Woodside on the cross-country course in 2011 courtesy of McCool Photos; Bates will be competing again in 2012.