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Alliston Swaps The Lead At Woodside International Horse Trials

Woodside, Calif., Oct. 6, 2012— James Alliston survived a bittersweet day at the Woodside International Horse Trials, presented by Equine Insurance of California and Professional’s Choice. It was a day of both exciting victory and disconcerting defeat for him.

Alliston, of Castro Valley, Calif., did win the CIC3*, but with Tivoli (52.6), not with Jumbo’s Jake, the horse who’d been leading after the first day’s dressage and show jumping. And he also won the CIC2* on Mojo.

Jolie Wentworth finished second in both the CIC3*, aboard GoodKnight (58.9), and in the CIC2*, aboard Man On A Mission II (55.7). McKenna Shea rode Landioso to third place (69.6) in the CIC3*.

Tivoli, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood who was standing in second place, was the first horse to tackle Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course in the CIC3*, and the chestnut gelding galloped around with authority. With no jumping faults and no time faults, Tivoli’s performance guaranteed that Alliston would win the CIC3*.

But then leader Jumbo’s Jake said “no” three times to fence 17B, a narrow brush-filled corner set three strides after a drop fence, eliminating him from the competition.

“It was disappointing, that’s for sure. He was flying before that. I was having a great ride,” said Allison, 27. “He was certainly a bit naughty, and he’s not where I want him to be right now, so it’s back to the drawing board.” Alliston thought he might try a different bit to keep Jumbo’s Jake focused on the jumps.

“But this was a big effort for Tivoli. This show is the first time he’s been at the head of the class after dressage, the first time I could really go for it,” said Alliston. “Being the first out of the box, you don’t really know how hard the time is to make, and I wanted to leave nothing to chance, but it wasn’t a round that felt like it was on the edge.”

Tivoli also won the Fric Frac Berence Heart Award and $1,000 prize money after a panel of judges decided that he’d had the best cross-country performance in the CIC3*.

Second place with GoodKnight represented a comeback for Wentworth, of Crockett, Calif. She and the 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding had a rough spring, which ended with retiring on the cross-country course at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Wentworth suffered through a staff infection in her leg during the spring, which severely reduced her ability to ride and caused her to miss two preparatory events with GoodKnight.

“But everything’s back on track now, and I certainly can’t complain about finishing second twice!” said Wentworth. GoodKnight finished the cross-country course just 1 second slow, a swift pace that moved them from third to second.

“He’s a fabulous jumper and a fabulous cross-country horse, but you have to be willing to let him do his job. You have to be careful that you don’t over-manage him,” said Wentworth.

CIC2* winner Mojo is a 10-year-old, Thoroughbred gelding, whom Alliston purchased at a Florida racetrack. “He can be a little bit frustrating, because he can be a bit of a freak at home. But at the shows, he’s all business, and he seems to save his best for the FEI classes,” said Alliston. Mojo won the CCI1* at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event in November 2011.

Wentworth doesn’t normally compete Man On A Mission II. He’s owned by young rider Maddy Mazzola, a student at Kismet Farm, where Wentworth and Tracy Bowman run their training business. But Mazzola had to take her SAT test this weekend. “So it was a good opportunity for me to have a really good go on him,” said Wentworth.

Wentworth and Bowman imported Man On A Mission II from Great Britain two years ago. “He’s a really, really good horse, so we sort of expected him to go well this weekend. It was a bit of pressure on me!” she said.

The cross-country course proved decisive in the CIC1*, as four of the 10 starters didn’t complete the course and three horses were penalized by one or more refusals. No horse completed the course within the optimum time, but Julie Flettner and Ping Pong came the closest, finishing 2 seconds slow. Those 0.8 time penalties propelled them from third to first.

Last May, Flettner, 36, and Ping Pong, 12, won the rider division of the Preliminary Challenge at the Woodside Horse Trials. Flettner, of Petaluma, Calif., is an optometrist who works in a veterans’ hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif., and this was the third time she’s won a saddle for winning an event.

In November 2011 she and Ping Pong won a Voltaire dressage saddle for topping the training three-day event at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event. For winning the Preliminary Challenge, they won a Devoucoux cross-country saddle, and for winning the Woodside CIC1*, they won a CWD jumping saddle.

“The last time I’d bought a saddle was when I got a dressage saddle for my 16th birthday. Now Ping Pong has a saddle for all three phases,” she said.

A fast cross-country round kept Hilary Bates and Cassiopeia second in the CIC1*. Bates is a member of the Horse Park at Woodside Board of Directors, and her farm overlooks the north end of the cross-country course.

“I know this course like the back of my hand, and I thought this was a very fair course, but, for some reason, it was very hard to make the time. I was a little surprised at how much cross-country shook things up,” said Bates. “Having the CIC here, for the second year in a row, is fantastic for us riders, for the sport and for the Horse Park.”

The Woodside International Horse Trials is a member event of the Professional Riders Organization Tour, which oversees the SSG “Go Low For The Dough” contest. Prize money of $4,000 was up for grabs in the CIC3* dressage, for the rider wearing SSG gloves who earned the lowest score. James Alliston won the award after scoring 45.9 penalties on Jumbo’s Jake.

In the CIC2*, prize money of $500 was available to any junior or amateur rider who finished the cross-country course with no jumping or time faults. The only eligible riders were Zach Brandt, who finished with 6.8 time faults, and Helen Bouscaren, who finished with just 0.8 time faults.

Thanks to the generous support of more than a dozen sponsors, the total prize money for this year’s Woodside International Horse Trials was $20,000, with Devoucoux and Equine Comfort Products contributing as Gold Medal Sponsors. Saddlery Solutions, Voltaire Design and CWD are the event’s Silver Medal Sponsors and will contribute a plethora of exciting prizes.

Auburn Laboratories Inc., California Horse Trader, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Geranium Street Floral, Point Two Air Jackets, Professional Riders Organization, Ride On Video, SmartPak Equine and Sunsprite Warmbloods 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, who were on site for riders and spectators to meet in the event trade fair.

Go to for more competition information.

To learn more about the Horse Park at Woodside or the Woodside Horse Trials, go to To learn more about eventing, visit the U.S. Eventing Association’s website ( For Press Credentials, please contact the press officers.